Are you going to think I'm crazy for suggesting that you absolutely 100% should consider using molasses as fertilizer in your organic garden?
If the health of your garden is suffering, if some of your plants are riddled with pests, or if you just want to grow the best plants possible, molasses fertilizer may be what you need.
Actually, it's not so much a fertilizer as food for the beneficial microorganisms on your leaves. Molasses definitely has some nutrients, too, but it's mostly about the carbohydrates - the sugar.
And it's not some silly home remedy. It's promoted by organic farming consultants and is actually one of the most important things I bring in to my garden.
In this video, I want to pass onto you how I use it.
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This transcription will have some mistakes because it is partially automated.
Hey Guys! It’s Phil from SmilingGardener.com and I’m back at my place in Ottawa, so I don’t actually have a garden to show you anything today but I do have something to show you about molasses as fertilizer.
And for the thing, I have always to say you at the beginning in the video is for those who haven’t picked up the 15 Vital Organic Gardening Lessons for becoming a Better Organic gardener, you can do that at SmilingGardener.com
The reason I always have to say that at the beginning of the video is because a lot of people watch this on YouTube or other places and they haven’t picked up those free lessons yet, I know a lot of you have picked them up because I’m getting a lot of emails about them.
Before I start talking about molasses as fertilizer which I want to talk about today, I also show you where Ottawa is for people who don’t know. So there’s the US and Canada, it’s the capital of Canada and its right there a few hours east of Toronto, and I think we’re - I’ve never driven to New York City from here, but I have from west of Toronto so I think it’s probably 10 hour drive to New York City. So that’s where Ottawa is.
So what I’m gonna do is sit down here, and talk about what I want to talk about today which is using molasses as a fertilizer and I have a bottle of blackstrap molasses right here, and you know it’s not, it’s not some kind of silly home remedy to use molasses as a fertilizer, it’s actually one of the most important things in my fertilizer tool kit that I bring into my garden quite a lot from here. It’s not really; maybe I shouldn’t call it a fertilizer. What really it is, its sugar mainly there’s nutrients is in there, too.
But it’s mainly a carbohydrate source for the microorganisms on the plant leaves and on the mulch of a new soil. You know really, sometimes it’s just the simplest thing that your garden needs. So if your garden is just not as healthy as it should be; if you have some pest problems or even if you just wanna, you know, make it as healthy as it can be try using molasses as fertilizer.
Sometimes it’s molasses, its sugar is what’s needed in your garden because the microbes need a sugar source. You know, the main time, I really wanna make sure I used it if I am also applying a microbial inoculants like effect of microorganism compost tea.
Here I’m gonna rest this down here.
Then I can make sure that when they hit those leaves, they have something to consumed to start eating right away so that can get-get to work. The other time, I’m really want to make sure I used it is that I’m using a nitrogen fertilizers, so like a liquid fish or if you’re using some kind of other nitrogen products.
You wanna balance it with the carbon, kind of like what we have a composed pile we wanna balance the carbon to nitrogen ratio same thing with the molasses here. And over all, you know, if you have just a garden that isn’t quite up to its health potential. I think if you don’t have the nutrient cycling going on, if you don’t have humus being formed, you know, you don’t have enough carbon in there and you can bring it in very quickly with molasses.
So what you can do is just mix it with 100 parts water so 10 milliliters of molasses in a liter of water and what I’m usually gonna do is mix it with things like liquid kelp, I talked about with microbial inoculants and the fish liquid nitrogen. So I usually am gonna mix them all together in a back pack sprayer or a hose and sprayer or even a watering can, that’s all you have that will work too.
So that’s how to use it, basically I’ll do that once a month or even once a week you know just, it’s just a little bit of molasses you end up putting out there, but a-- and with all the other things, but just do it regularly is the way we wanna do it.
What else do I wanna talk about with regards to molasses, when to use it? Yeah, I think that’s mostly what I want to talk about. Oh! I guess I should tackle what kind to use. You know, I wanted to use unsulphured that’s the main thing that matters to me, because the form of sulfur that they used in molasses is use as a preservative to kill microorganism and obviously we’re trying to the opposite, we’re trying to feed microorganisms.
So we want something it says unsulphured like this one does. I don’t know if it’s gonna focus on that. Yeah! Unsulphured. I like to use organic molasses, you know, in this case you don’t really have to use an organic product I just like to support the organic movement and all that.
Generally, I like a blackstrap molasses it should say somewhere on here. Is it say it on here? Yeah! Blackstrap. Alright, you can see on the bottle. So blackstrap molasses, that’s what I used when I’m activating my EM, my effective microorganisms that’s what I have around.
And that’s what I want to used the blackstrap for that. If you don’t have blackstrap, you can just spray this into your garden you know any kind of Barbados, any- it doesn’t matter which pressing of the- which boiling of the sugarcane, any kind of molasses works just fine.
This - a bottle, a liter bottle of this stuff would cost about $10, this little bottle is more like $6-7 or $7 for half a liter or half a quart, so it’s better to get the liter. Or if you buy it in bulk it would be even cheaper.
And so that’s all there is, if you wanna go use this right away in your house too, a really good experiment to do is to if you have, if you get some new house plans, or if you start some new little starters with some seed or something just like that.
Half of them just water with water and the other half water with just a mixture of this with 1 to 100 parts molasses to water. So 10 milliliters of molasses to 1 liter of water and water half of plants with that and do that whenever you water. And you’ll see over time, you’ll probably see a pretty big difference just by getting that carbon in there and feed the microorganisms and your soil.
So hopefully that’s helpful there. I think everyone should be using molasses as fertilizer, it’s like I said it’s not a- it’s not kinda like corky little home remedy, it’s one of the most important thing that I use so hopefully that’s helpful to you.
Again, if you wanna pick up the 15 Vital Lessons for Becoming a Better Organic Gardener you can do that at SmilingGardener.com and that’s just a bunch of lesson that when I was first learning about organic gardening I got really excited about, so I put them together in to these series, that’s pretty cool. So that’s SmilingGardener.com and I hope you’ll enjoy this, and I’ll see you next week.
Sometimes it’s just the simple things that our garden needs.
You can use molasses as fertilizer because microbes need sugar.
Our plants may very well be lacking in this sugar, especially if we don’t have a functioning ecosystem with nutrient cycling and humus formation occurring, and especially if we’re removing the grass clippings or neglecting to keep a quality mulch layer in the garden.
Molasses is a relatively inexpensive tool to use as we transition to an ecosystem that is more alive.
It’s a very good idea to apply it with most microbial inoculants such as compost tea because it gives the microbes instant food to begin working with.
It’s essential to apply a sugar source like molasses with nitrogen fertilizers to give the microbes a carbon source they can use in order to effectively work with that nitrogen, kind of like how we try to balance carbon and nitrogen in a compost pile.
Molasses can be mixed with water and sprayed directly onto plants. This can be done regularly, such as monthly or even weekly.
Usually, I'll combine this molasses fertilizer with other liquid organic fertilizers like seaweed while I'm doing it, and I always combine it with microbial inoculants and nitrogen fertilizers like fish. Molasses is also sticky and helps everything stick to the plant leaves.
I mix it with water in a backpack sprayer or hose end sprayer.
The unsulfured variety is preferred when using molasses as fertilizer because the form of sulfur used in most molasses is there to kill microbes, while we're trying to feed microbes.
Blackstrap molasses is what I use, because it's also used in the fermentation process to activate effective microorganisms, but any kind of molasses will work for spraying onto plants.
Update: About 2 years after writing this article I began selling a few organic fertilizers, including molasses, so you can read my new feelings on it here.
Next time you’re starting seeds or you get some new, young houseplants, water half of them with just water and the other half with 2 teaspoons of molasses per liter of water. See which plant gets bigger when you do this over time.
Any questions about using molasses as fertilizer? Let me know below, and be sure to tell me your experiences with molasses.