There are many gardeners with years of experience in the field that swear molasses are an excellent fodder for your soil and have significant benefits to your plants. Most think that they are cheaper than off the shelf nutrient products and work as a pest reduction method to top it off.
What is Molasses?
Most people don’t realise, but molasses have many uses, however it is important to understand what they are. Molasses are actually the primary by-product of any form of sugar production, usually from sugarcane and grapes (and in some countries sugar beets), although sugarcane is the number one source for most molasses. As a substance, it has a very dark, distinct color, it’s a rich liquid that is relatively sweet.
The most common uses of molasses are being used as a sweetener in baking, in a mix for distilling alcohol such as Rum and Guinness, and as s nutrient additive to animal food.
Although molasses tend to be produced as a thick liquid initially, they can be dried off and used an ingredient in fertilizer.
The Best Molasses to Use
Usually, when sugar is made, there are three stages of boiling – the third boiling creates what is known as “Blackstrap” molasses. This is the best type of molasses to use. It is usually full of:
Molasses for Gardening
The most common gardeners that use molasses in their plant growing techniques are those that are focussed on trying organic methods. This doesn’t mean you cant combine molasses with other non-organic compounds and routines, but you have to ensure that you are testing your soil to prevent harm.
The main thing to remember is that you should use Unsulphured Molasses. Some people like to add sulphur to their molasses which negates the benefits of molasses as they can kill off microbes in your plant soil or compost. Sulphur is usually added to molasses that haven’t really matured, and as such aren’t ideal anyway for your garden.
You can usually find horticultural molasses in two forms:
- A Liquid, which is added to other liquid fertilizers or as an additive to water
- Dry powder which can be spread on your soil as a normal fertilizer.
We usually advise using dry molasses as its easier to use, both, while measuring and handling.
Benefits of Molasses
Molasses has several benefits when used in gardening. Here are a few:
Improves soil structure: Molasses contains organic matter, which can help improve the structure of soil. This can make it easier for plants to grow, as the soil will be more porous and hold water and nutrients better.
Increases microbial activity: Molasses is a source of carbon and other nutrients that can stimulate the growth of beneficial microbes in the soil. These microbes can help to break down organic matter, making nutrients more available to plants.
Acts as a natural pesticide: Molasses can be used as a natural pesticide for controlling pests in the garden. When mixed with water, it can create a sticky solution that can trap and kill insects such as aphids and mites.
Attracts pollinators: The sweet smell of molasses can attract pollinators such as bees and butterflies to your garden, which can help to improve plant pollination and fruit production.
Reduces transplant shock: When transplanting seedlings or plants, molasses can be used to help reduce transplant shock. It can help to stimulate root growth and improve the overall health of the plant.
Overall, molasses can be a helpful addition to your gardening routine, providing a range of benefits to both the soil and the plants growing in it.
What are Dry Molasses?
Dry molasses is a form of molasses that has been spray-dried into a fine, powdery form. It is made by taking liquid molasses and removing most of the water content through evaporation, then spraying the remaining molasses onto a heated surface to create small droplets that dry into a powder.
Dry molasses can be used in a similar way to liquid molasses, but it is easier to store and handle, as it is a dry, shelf-stable product. It can be used in animal feed, as a soil amendment, or as a natural sweetener in food and beverage products. Dry molasses is typically less sweet than liquid molasses, but it still retains many of the same nutrients and benefits.
Molasses As Fertilizer
Molasses contains a variety of nutrients that can be beneficial to plants, including nitrogen, potassium, and calcium. It can be applied to the soil directly or mixed with water and applied as a liquid fertilizer. Molasses can also be used to make a natural pesticide by mixing it with water and spraying it on plants to control pests. In addition to its fertilizing properties, molasses can also help to improve the structure of soil, increase microbial activity, and reduce transplant shock when transplanting seedlings or plants.
When using molasses as a fertilizer, it is important to use it in moderation, as too much molasses can lead to excess nitrogen in the soil, which can cause problems for plants. It is also a good idea to test the pH of your soil before using molasses, as it can be acidic, which may not be suitable for all plants.