- Sweet & Super
was one sweet treat we were never without when I was growing up. We
put it on bread with butter for a snack. It was great on hot cornbread
and really flavored up beans if stirred in the pot when they were
very hot. My grandpa would eat molasses over cottage cheese every
morning for breakfast, and he stayed healthy to his death at a very
then I would never have guessed that molasses would have any value
in growing plants or use in insect control. My friend who grows organic
cotton up in the high plains uses molasses and a nitrogen-fixing
microbe as his only fertilizer. (Nitrogen fixing means the nitrogen
is made available to plants as nutrients.) I asked him what the molasses
did, and he said it made the microbes work better.
had to find out for myself, so I did a test. I used two containers
of equal size with equal amounts of potting soil and the same number
of rye grass seeds. One container was given only tap water; the other
was given equal water with two tablespoons of molasses per gallon
stirred in. After 8 weeks, the molasses watered plants were almost
twice the size of the plants in the other container.
was amazed, but I didn't understand how molasses could make that much
difference. We had the compost in the potting soil tested and found
that it contained some of the same free-nitrogen-fixing
microbes that the cotton grower used. (He used an Agri-Gro product
containing the microbes.) One of these nitrogen-fixing microbes
is Azotobacter, a microbe that can fix nitrogen straight
from the air without living on the root of a legume as long as it
has a source of energy such as sugar or molasses. Both are rich in
carbohydrates, a good source of energy. In lab tests, Dr. Louis M.
Thompson discovered that if given sugar weekly, the Azotobacter
could fix from the air the equivalent of a thousand pounds of
nitrogen per acre in ten weeks.
recommend that molasses, 1 to 3 tablespoons, be added to each gallon
of liquid fertilizer mix. It definitely makes a difference. It is
also used as a binder in all of our dry fertilizer formulas.
gardener has his or her own favorite fertilizer recipe. Both Howard
Garrett and John Dromgoole have popular recipes that contain molasses
and other organic materials. You can experiment with your favorites
and come up with your own best recipe.
always foliar feed my fruit trees early each spring with fish emulsion
and seaweed. Now I add molasses to the mix. The strangest thing I
noticed when using molasses with the mix was that the fire ants would
move out from under the trees. I also got reports from Houston that
fire ants would move away from the lawns after an application of dry
fertilizer that contained molasses.
got an opportunity to see if molasses really moved fire ants. In my
vineyard, I had a 500 foot row of root stock vines cut back to a stump
that needed grafting. The fire ants had made themselves at home along
that row because of the drip pipe that kept the soil soft and gave
them a good supply of water. The mounds averaged three feet apart.
There was no way a person could work there without being eaten alive!
dissolved 4 tablespoons of molasses in each gallon of water and sprayed
along the drip pipe. By the next day, the fire ants had moved out
four feet in each direction. We were able to graft the vines without
a single ant bothering us. With this success at moving the ants, I
decided to spray the whole orchard and get rid of those pests. I learned,
however, if the ants have no convenient place to move, they just stay
where they are. I began wondering if the energy-rich molasses
stimulate a soil microbe that the ants don't like. This was the beginning
of development of Garden-Ville Fire Ant Control.
friend of mine up in dairy country uses a hydro cyclone to separate
the liquids from the solids in cow manure. He noticed when spraying
the liquids on hay fields that the fire ants tended to disappear.
Tests of our compost have shown it to contain insect pathogens. The
manure liquids and the compost tea both had some results as ant killers.
The two together worked a little better. We knew that dormant oil
sprays killed some insects, and that citrus peel extracts were used
to kill insects, so we decided to mix orange oil with molasses and
liquid cow manure. After months of research, we finally found the
correct blend that not only killed ants, but any insects. It even
smelled okay and would not burn the leaves of plants. It quickly degraded
into a good energy-rich soil conditioner.
to say, we offered our product to the market as Garden-Ville
Fire Ant Control. We have many happy customers. You can even make
your own if you don't want to buy ours. More information is included
in the article on fire ant control.
Garden-Ville Method - Lessons in Nature