Molasses For Plants - How To Use It (Or Dextrose) In Your Garden

Molasses For Plants
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It sounds crazy, but a can of Coke is actually really beneficial for the garden.

In fact, various forms of sugar are very useful to use in your foliar sprays.

If you’re applying any kind of microbial inoculant such as effective microorganisms or compost tea, the right sugar will give the microbes some food to eat right when they get out there, to wake them up and get them working away on all the amazing things they do for us.

Along the same lines, if you’re applying any kind of organic fertilizer, sugar will give your existing microbes the food they need to get them all excited so that they’ll start breaking down that new fertilizer, making it available for plants.

That’s especially helpful when applying a source of nitrogen such as liquid fish, because the carbon in the sugar balances out the nitrogen, much like we try to do when building a compost pile.

So yes, I apply some form of sugar every time I spray anything. It’s not expensive either.

I'd use Coca-Cola in a pinch, but really, there are 2 types that are ideal...

Molasses For Plants

The first is unsulfured blackstrap molasses.

The ‘unsulfured’ part is important because sulfur is used in some products as a preservative, to kill microbes, and we obviously don’t want to do that, as we’re trying to encourage microbes.

The ‘blackstrap’ is important because it’s the most nutritious of all types of molasses.

The only other term I prefer to throw on top of that is 'organic,' but it doesn't much matter for this application, so I have both organic and conventional molasses available for you.

I use blackstrap molasses for plants whenever I’m 'activating' effective microorganisms and sometimes again when I’m spraying it, about equal amounts of EM to molasses for each process.

So if you're buying the ProBio Balance mother culture, pick up 1 or maybe 2 times as much molasses. If you're buying the Bio Ag 'activated' culture, just pick up the same amount of molasses to apply along with it, or use dextrose (below) instead.

The benefits of molasses as fertilizer, in addition to the sugar, are that it actually contains a nice array of minerals for the garden, and it’s also very sticky, so it helps your microbes and fertilizers stick to plant leaves during application.

Dextrose For Plants

But one thing I’ve learned is that sometimes what our garden needs is a simpler sugar. A number of organic consultants seem to prefer it.

That’s why I’ve also started using another kind of sweetener: dextrose (glucose).

Molasses is sucrose, which is fructose and glucose, but the glucose is really the part we want, and that’s where dextrose comes in.

I started using it for a few reasons:

  1. The manufacturer of my N-P-K Fertilizer with Calcium strongly suggests using at least 1.5lbs of dextrose per quart of that fertilizer, in order to help the fertilizer penetrate the plant leaf.
  2. I've seen a couple of organic soil consultants suggest it as being more appropriate than molasses in some cases, especially when we want to promote bacteria, such as in a vegetable garden.
  3. I spoke with Michael Martin Melendrez, who manufacturers one of the best mycorrhizal inoculants in the world (I don't carry it because it's very expensive), and he isn't a fan of using too much molasses when spraying the soil, because it can promote yeasts that aren't helpful to our plants.

Which To Use?

It’s hard to say for sure, but what I do is use:

  • Molasses when I’m activating EM/ProBio Balance, and
  • Either molasses or dextrose when I’m applying it, and
  • Dextrose when I’m applying anything else such as N-P-K fertilizer, compost tea, kelp, sea minerals, etc.

So what I suggest is if you’re going to be activating a EM/ProBio Balance mother culture, go with the molasses.

Otherwise, go with the dextrose.

Or pick up one of each, as they're very inexpensive.

Who Needs This The Most?

If you're just picking up 1 organic fertilizer, I definitely recommend liquid seaweed or sea minerals or even liquid fish before getting a sugar source.

But the professionals really do use a sugar in every application, and I do too, and since it's so expensive, I say go for it.

How To Use It

Molasses. If applying it with EM, I use it at the same rate as my EM - 1/2 cup per 1000 square feet or whatever I'm using.

So for me 1 quart will do about 1000 square feet for a whole year (8 applications * 1/2 cup), and 1 gallon will do 4000 square feet.

Additionally, if you’re getting some EM/ProBio Balance mother culture and planning to activate it, you need almost as much molasses as mother culture for that process, too.

If you mix it in a bit of warm water first, it will dissolve more easily.

Dextrose. Use just 3 Tbsp per 1000 square feet along with every spray you do.

So for me 2 pounds will do 1000 square feet for a few years.

It will dissolve easily in water.

Important Info

I go into more detail about ordering on the main page, but here are a few quick things I’d like to mention:

  • If you have a question about this product, leave it in the comment section at the bottom of of this page and I'll try to respond within a few hours.
  • Shipping is $15 if your order is less than $50, $20 if your order is $50-$100, and $25 if your order is more than $100 (AK and HI add $20)
  • Dry fertilizers and compost tea brewers ship for free, separately with USPS instead of UPS, so they will arrive on their own maybe a day or 2 apart from my other products.
  • I ship in the U.S. only. Products ordered by 2pm will ship same day. After that they ship next day. Weekend orders ship Monday.
  • All of my products have a 1 year 100% money-back guarantee.

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In summary:

  • Blackstrap molasses is a great companion to Effective Microorganisms
  • Dextrose is a great companion to everything else
  • They both help plants more effectively uptake organic fertilizers and microbial inoculants more effectively do everything they do

Just choose your container size and click 'Add To Cart' up above!