Molasses As Fertilizer – What Your Garden Is Missing?

Molasses As Fertilizer

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.

Click for video transcription

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.

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.

When To Use Molasses

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.

How To Apply Molasses

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 fertilizer 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.

What Kind Of Molasses To Use

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.

Here’s An Experiment

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.

28 Comments

  1. Oemissions on July 9, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    i think it was Adele Davies, the pioneer nutritionist of natural food cookbooks who recommended blackstrap molasses for we humans… a tablesppon in the am

  2. tesfaye on October 3, 2011 at 8:55 am

    I am very glad to see your video. Its very interesting. I would like to write my PhD thesis on the performance of crops by using molasus as fertilizer. Can I please apply molasus as it is or is there any pretreatment?Thank u in advance 

    • Phil on October 3, 2011 at 2:34 pm

      Interesting. I would mix it with 100 parts water. You’ll want to test a variety of environments, because molasses is sometimes very helpful and sometimes not as important. There’s no magic bullet for all crops.

  3. Julie on February 19, 2012 at 11:49 pm

    Is beet molasses OK to use?

    • Phil on February 20, 2012 at 1:52 pm

      You bet. Any unsulphured molasses is great.

      • Sophie on October 20, 2013 at 10:58 pm

        I would be wary of beets because so many are genetically modified

        • Phil on October 27, 2013 at 10:08 pm

          True – that’s why it’s a good idea to stick with organic molasses, whether from beets or otherwise.

  4. Andy on April 6, 2012 at 8:29 pm

    Molasses is essentially raw sugars from plant matter, I don’t think the source really matters much, the microbes just need the raw unprocessed sugars to ferment the fertilizers in the soil and increase the bio-availability for the plants.Other nice things to add are soluble silica like Potassium Silicate, it gets absorbed by the plants and helps the plant absorb fertilizers and minerals. Some people also swear by a good B-vitamin supplement like Superthrive or similar. Superthrive acts to make root development more pronounced allowing the plant to absorb water, nutrients etc…  It also has one other rooting compound in it, while that portion is not fully organic it is still most beneficial in the starting stages of plant growth. You can reduce use of Superthrive as it gets closer to the flowering or fruit stages of plant growth.  You can also use Superthrive/molasses/Silica combo to start clones of plant clippings, use a razor blade and cut off a clipping at a 45deg angle or so usually around a plant nodule or split, then take that clipping and spray it with the compound mixture and wrap the cut end with a paper towel, spray the clipping/paper towel every few hours to keep it moist, place clipping and paper towel under a grow light, allow the roots to form then place clipping into a soil or other growing medium, sometimes depending on the size of the clipping you may need to support the clipping until the plant fully roots and starts growing again. Some people say that if you clip the ends of the leaves it forces the plant to work on root and new growth, whether or not this is true is speculation. Don’t forget to use a suitable fertilizer for the type of plant you are growing, don’t over fertilize a clipping as you may cause burnout and kill your plant. different stages of growth require different amounts of fertilizer. Good luck.

  5. Andy on April 6, 2012 at 8:36 pm

    Sorry accidently flagged my own post LOL please ignore flag 😀 Thank you.

  6. Shirl on September 21, 2012 at 1:28 pm

    Does molasses and water kill weeds or bugs

    • Phil on September 22, 2012 at 6:12 pm

      No, but it can help improve plant health so that plant-feeding insects decrease.

    • Lyndon meaux on January 18, 2017 at 12:46 pm

      Molasses does get rid of insects such as red ants but it doesn’t kill them. Use orange oil with the molasses 2 ounces per gallon and that will kill them and it won’t hurt your lawn or garden.

      • Phil on January 19, 2017 at 4:25 pm

        Thanks Lyndon! Presumably, you want to be careful not to spray it on beneficial insects.

  7. Shirl on September 21, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    Is this molasses and water sufficient to be used in a large housing developmentyards and lots of trees, bushes and plants

    • Phil on September 22, 2012 at 6:31 pm

      It can definitely help. I tend to recommend a concentrated ocean water product as being even more beneficial, but monthly applications of the molasses could help, too.

  8. Shirl on September 21, 2012 at 2:33 pm

    Is this molasses mixture  more beneficial for organic gardening or regular lawns?

    • Phil on September 22, 2012 at 6:33 pm

      Well, molasses isn’t a magic bullet. It’s just a way to get some sugar to the microbes along with some minerals. So it could be beneficial to both lawns and gardens. It really depends on what’s going on with the soil and soil food web already.

  9. Shirl on September 21, 2012 at 8:24 pm

    Cars are parked in areas to be sprayed with the molasses mixture.  Will it harmpaint on cars??

  10. John Hughes on December 15, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    I use molasses at the rate of a cup of molasses to a litre of water, then use that mixture at 1ml to a litre of water to water thousands of orchids and have dopne so for over ten years. Plants love it. Helps to keep ants away to. I do mix it with other fertilizers, organic and inorganic, depens on the time of year and which genera I’m going to use it on.John Hughes

    • Phil on December 19, 2012 at 1:07 pm

      It’s amazing how just little doses of these kinds of things can still help. You seem to be using it at 1:4000 parts water and it’s still beneficial. Very cool.

  11. Curt Novak on April 16, 2013 at 6:58 pm

    Does honey work also?

    • Phil on April 17, 2013 at 11:35 am

      For some reason I’ve never heard anyone mention honey in any research or books. Maybe cause it’s antimicrobial – I don’t know.

  12. Lynda on March 17, 2014 at 7:57 am

    You mentioned a recipe using molasses for fire ants but I can not locate it. Thanks

    • Phil on March 17, 2014 at 1:08 pm

      It’s worth a try. Use 1/4 cup molasses per gallon of water (1:60 ratio) and spray away.

  13. Donna Mullins-Hodapp on June 3, 2015 at 9:00 pm

    What about in orchid soil?

    • Phil on June 4, 2015 at 7:56 pm

      These days, I tend to use sugar instead of molasses when I’m watering the soil, and I save the molasses for when I’m watering plants. Sugar is a little more appropriate for the soil.

      • miryana curcic on April 10, 2017 at 4:02 am

        Hi phil you mention using sugar, which sugar do you use and how much to dilute with water when feeding yr lawn.
        Miryana

        • Phil on April 13, 2017 at 10:43 am

          Any sugar is fine. Dilution doesn’t much matter – just enough to get it spread evenly. A 1:50 ratio is common (1/3 cup of sugar per gallon of water). I’d do approximately 1/3 cup per 500 square feet every month or so.

Leave a Comment