Molasses, outdated?

So, @RAP shared this with me.

Without researching the research this article and the associated comments used for arguments, it sounds like a solid debate.

@Budbrother @Skydiver @Mrcrabs @zparkie2 @garrigan62 Who else?


awesome bud, ive wondered this… thankyou… :grinning:


Kettle, if you read the article and all of the counter points… I can’t say it’s clear. But the science makes sense, the only question is was that science derived from a “vacuum” setting, as in not taking into account the entire picture.


well to me the main thing that didn’t entirely make sense was that the microbes that thrive on sugar are not really going to thrive on dead carrots for example… there is sugar in carrots but its different and there are so many microbes there are probably some that are just good at breaking down and eating carrots… :smirk:

now im not saying for anyone to stop doing what they are doing, as it says it will flourish and die off, other microbes come in and it can help build a robust ecosystem… but I don’t think its the magic black cure its made out to be… :grinning:

not starting a fight, my wife got a massive talking to from a dealer about how to be successful u need to water with mentholated spirits…, and molasses… and that’s where my problems were… when I was in hydro with root rot… :smirk:


Yeah, things can get heated!

After reading an article @budbrother shared on watering with coconut water, you can get sugars and other beneficial items like cytokinins and gibberellic acid from coconut water.

Now the remaining for me is, do I keep using molasses in brewing compost teas?


I use Persephone’s Palate as my microbe food, calcium booster, and sulphur booster (SOLE ingredient is: calcium lignosulfonate). It has zero molasses. It offers a more complex carb load to the microbes.

I also use Catalyst. It has molasses and such, but I definitely don’t use it specifically for the molasses.


coconut water im only new to learning this… isn’t that amazing, it can be injected directly into the body too… honey for healing plants too…

its so complicated… i don’t know… i would do some tests? :grin:


I just read about it. Sounds interesting especially the part about sulphates and the increase in terps.


The article I read, which I can’t link, says that a coconut is just a big seed and the water in there is made for growing plants, we just happen to use it for cannabis.

96% water, but the other 4% is loaded.


up until recently ‘i’ was using it for drinking… delicious… :grinning:


Still do! It’s too expensive in liquid form for me to use but I use a powder concentrate.


Funny they say it’s boost the microbes in the soil but don’t actually list what microbes do for your plants when they are there, or why those boost in numbers could make it mutually beneficial for our plants.

Bacteria- help break down those salts and nutrients we give the plant to help the roots take them up

Protozoa- when your nutrients are eaten by bacteria they eat the bacteria and excrete those nutrients back out

Actinomycetes- are similar to bacteria, tho there could be good and bad, they also work as antibiotics for the plant and fend off disease

Fungi- that helps keep everything in line… these are like little nazis that tell the nutrients and water when it’s time to march up those roots.

A boost in these actual microbes found in soil, even for a short term, sounds like a win win situation to me. But hey thats just my 0.02$


@AAA and @kettle

Gheck this out and I have alot more on this also…

Here are the basic instructions a gardener would find on the side of a bottle of this sugar beet by-product - Mix Garden Safe Liquid All Purpose Plant Food in water. Water plants thoroughly with solution once every 7-14 days in spring and summer, every 14-30 days in fall and winter. Indoors, use 1/2 teaspoon per quart (1 teaspoon per gallon); outdoors, 1 teaspoon per quart (4 teaspoons per gallon). 32 fluid ounces (946ml). Contains 3.0% Water Soluble Nitrogen, 1.0% Available Phosphate, 5.0% Soluble Potash derived from molasses.

In our own experience with Garden Safe Liquid fertilizers, we’ve used a pretty close equivalent to the outdoor rate on indoor herbs with some good success. Our best application rate for Garden Safe 3-1-5 ended up being around 1 Tablespoon per gallon ( 1 Tablespoon = 3 teaspoons). Used alone it’s really not a favorite for continuos use, since we don’t see Garden Safe 3-1-5 as a balanced fertilizer. It doesn’t have enough phosphorous to sustain good root growth and flower formation in the long term. It’s best use would probably be in an outdoor soil grow where there are potential pest issues. Animal by-products like blood meal and bone meal are notorious for attracting varmints, so Garden Safe sugar beet molasses fertilizers could provide an excellent “plant based” source of Nitrogen and Potassium for a soil that’s already been heavily amended with a good slow release source of phosphorous, our choice would be soft rock phosphate.

Blackstrap molasses could also be used in a similar fashion, as a stand alone liquid fertilizer for the biological farmer who needs to avoid potential varmint problems caused by animal based products. But, we really believe there is a better overall use for molasses in the organic farmer’s arsenal of fertilizers. Our suggestion for the best available use, would be to make use of the various molasses products as a part making organic teas for watering and foliar feeding.

Since many of the folks reading this are familiar with our Guano Guide, it will come as no surprise to our audience that molasses is a product we find very useful as an ingredient in Guano and Manure teas. Most bat and seabird guanos are fairly close to being complete fertilizers, with the main exception being that they are usually short in Potassium. Molasses is turns out is a great source of that necessary Potassium. As we learned earlier, molasses also acts as a chelating agent and will help to make micronutrients in the Guano more easily available for our favorite herbs.

A good example of a guano tea recipe at the Bird’s Nest is really as simple as the following:
1 Gallon of water
1 TBSP of guano (for a flowering mix we’d use Jamaican or Indonesian Bat Guano - for a more general use fertilizer we would choose Peruvian Seabird Guano.)
1 tsp blackstrap or sugar beet molasses
We mix the ingredients directly into the water and allow the tea mix to brew for 24 hours. It’s best to use an aquarium pump to aerate the tea, but an occasional shaking can suffice if necessary and still produce a quality tea. We will give you one hint from hard personal experience, make sure if you use the shake method that you hold the lid on securely, nobody appreciate having a crap milkshake spread over the room.

Some folks prefer to use a lady’s nylon or stocking to hold the guano and keep it from making things messy, but we figure the organic matter the manure can contribute to the soil is a good thing. Using this method we feel like we are getting the benefits of a manure tea and a guano top-dressing all together in the same application. If you prefer to use the stocking method, feel free to feed the"tea bag"leftovers to your worm or compost bin, even after a good brewing there’s lots of organic goodness left in that crap!

We also use molasses to sweeten and enrich Alfalfa meal teas. Our standard recipe for this use is:
4 gallons of water
1 cup of fine ground alfalfa meal
1 TBSP blackstrap or sugar beet molasses
After a 24 hour brew, this 100% plant-based fertilizer is ready for application. Alfalfa is a great organic plant food, with many benefits above and beyond just the N—P-K it can contribute to a soil mix or tea. We do plan to cover Alfalfa and it’s many uses in greater detail soon in yet another thread. We prefer to mix our alfalfa meal directly into the tea, but many gardeners use the stocking"tea bag"method with great effectiveness, both work well, it’s really just a matter of personal preference.

The alfalfa tea recipe we described can be used as a soil drench, and also as a foliar feed. And foliar feeding is the final use of molasses we’d like to detail. Foliar feeding, for the unfamiliar, is simply the art of using fine mist sprays as a way to get nutrients directly to the plant through the minute pores a plant"breathes"through. It is by far the quickest and most effective way to correct nutrient deficiencies, and can be an important part of any gardener’s toolbox.

Molasses is a great ingredient in foliar feeding recipes because of it’s ability to chelate nutrients and bring them to the “table” in a form that can be directly absorbed and used by the plant. This really improves the effectiveness of foliar feeds when using them as a plant tonic. In fact it improves them enough that we usually can dilute our teas or mix them more “lean” - with less fertilizer - than we might use without the added molasses.

Of course it is possible to use molasses as a foliar feed alone, without any added guano or alfalfa. It’s primary use would be to treat plants who are deficient in Potassium, although molasses also provides significant boosts in other essential minerals such as Sulfur, Iron and Magnesium. Organic farming guides suggest application rates of between one pint and one quart per acre depending on the target plant. For growing a fast growing annual plant like cannabis, we’d suggest a recipe of 1 teaspoon molasses per gallon of water.

In all honesty, we’d probably suggest a foliar feeding with kelp concentrate as a better solution for an apparent Potassium shortage. Kelp is one of our favorite foliar feeds because it is a complete source of micronutrients in addition to being a great source of Potassium. Kelp has a variety of other characteristics that we love, and we plan that it will be the topic of it’s own detailed thread at a future date. But, for growers that cannot find kelp, or who might have problems with the potential odors a kelp foliar feeding can create, molasses can provide an excellent alternative treatment for Potassium deficient plants at an affordable price.

That looks at most of the beneficial uses of Molasses for the modern organic or biological farmer. Just when you think that’s all there could be from our beaks on the topic of molasses, that molasses and it’s sweet sticky goodness surely have been covered in their entirety, the birds chirp in to say, there is one more specialized use for molasses in the garden. Magical molasses can also help in the control of Fire Ants, and perhaps some other garden pests.

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Mar 11, 2010

Thread starter #4



On Vacation


Molasses For Organic Pest Control

One final benefit of molasses is it’s ability to be used in the control of a couple of common pests encountered in gardening. The most commonly known use of molasses is it’s ability to help control Fire Ants, but we’ve also found an internet reference to the ability of molasses to control white cabbage moths in the UK, so molasses could be an effective pest deterrent in more ways that we are aware.
As we said before, there are several references we’ve run across refering to the ability of molasses to control Fire Ants. Since we’re not intimately familiar with this particular use of molasses, and rather than simply re-write and re-word another’s work, we thought we’d defer to the experts. So for this section of the current version of the Molasses Manual, we will simply post a reference article we found that covers topic in better detail than we currently can ourselves.


@AAA and @kettle

Soil microorganisms exist in large numbers in the soil as long as there is a carbon source for energy. A large number of bacteria in the soil exists, but because of their small size, they have a smaller biomass. Actinomycetes are a factor of 10 times smaller in number but are larger in size so they are similar in biomass to bacteria. Fungus population numbers are smaller but they dominate the soil biomass when the soil is not disturbed. Bacteria, actinomycetes, and protozoa are hardy and can tolerate more soil disturbance than fungal populations so they dominate in tilled soils while fungal and nematode populations tend to dominate in untilled or no-till soils.

There are more microbes in a teaspoon of soil than there are people on the earth. Soils contain about 8 to 15 tons of bacteria, fungi, protozoa, nematodes, earthworms, and arthropods. See fact sheets on Roles of Soil Bacteria, Fungus, Protozoa, and Nematodes.


I’m with you, but the author does bring up a good point regarding the swings in population and the possible detriment to the soil Biology.

There is also a seemingly educated cat who talks about more “mystical” basis for use and can’t help but agree that science actually knows so little about the magic that happens on the micro level that we can’t trust it at face value.


@garrigan62 those numbers are incredible, it’s an amazing system. Thank you for sharing. I have used molasses in teas and watering straight and “felt” there was a benefit, but definitely not “scientific”:

I really need to get a stable clone crop system going to test out all these concepts.


Soil microorganisms are responsible for:

  • Transforming raw elements from one chemical form to another. Important nutrients in the soil are released by microbial activity are Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Sulfur, Iron and others.
  • Breaking down soil organic matter into a form useful to plants. This increases soil fertility by making nutrients available and raising CEC levels.
  • Degradation of pesticides and other chemicals found in the soil.
  • Suppression of pathogenic microorganisms that cause diseases. The pathogens themselves are part of this group, but are highly outnumbered by beneficial microbes.

I have seen great results with using molasses crystals and it really does bring up my brix reading i take a fan leaf off break the stem over and squeeze it in a pair of pliers over the refractometor and read it in the light ever since using molasses crystals i have seen deeper colors and sticky like left out jolly ranchers my brix is at 7 to 10 on my plants now.


I hear you. I just wish there were studies with a clone crop as control and the only variable on half the crop was molasses!

I’m not doubting it works per se, but would be interested to prove it works with the proper testing.


Here are other ways to actually improve your brix, rather than just adding straight-up sugar to your plants. (molasses is a by-product of processing sugar)