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The algae growing on a pond or lake can make a backyard garden grow. Sometimes considered a nuisance, when properly prepared, algae makes for a nutrient-rich fertilizer. According to agricultural microbiologist Walter Mulbry, cucumbers and corn seedlings grow just as well in algae infused soil as other industrial fertilizers. Always consider the source of the algae. Contaminated water sources should be avoided. Get permission to skim algae from private or public lakes.
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Wait for algae to grow into clumps on a lake or pond. As algae grows, it thickens and begins to form clumps. When it reaches this stage, skim a good amount off and place in a bucket.
Rinse the algae clumps with clean water. Algae is salt rich. Rinsing will remove the extra salt.
Spread the algae clumps onto a tarp in a sunny, open area. Break up any extra large clumps with the hands to speed up the drying process. The drying time will depend on the weather conditions.
Break up the dried clumps. Once the algae is dry and crumbling, break up the pieces into a soil-like consistency using a shove edge.
Add the dried algae to ready compost. Stir into compost that is already decomposed and ready to be used as fertilizer. Stir the compost well, mixing the algae completely into the compost.
If compost is not available, the algae may be mixed with commercial potting soil.
Avoid gathering algae during the blooming stage. The thin layer is not nutrient rich at this stage.