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.
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.
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.
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 inexpensive, I say go for it.
How To Use It
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.
- Blackstrap molasses is a great companion to microbial inoculants and organic fertilizers.
- It helps plants more effectively uptake organic fertilizers, and helps microbial inoculants more effectively do everything they do
Just choose from the drop-down menu and click ‘Add To Cart’ up above!
Note: I used to sell dextrose as an alternative to molasses, and it’s a good one, but people weren’t buying it much, so I’ve discontinued it.
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