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Thread: Molasses is Sweet Organic Goodness

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    Exclamation Molasses is Sweet Organic Goodness

    This is a little info I found while researching organic teas
    I hope you enjoy the read as much as I have.

    Sweet Organic Goodness - Magical Molasses

    There are a number of different nutrient and fertilizer companies selling a variety of additives billed as carbohydrate booster products for plants. Usually retailing for tens of dollars per gallon if not tens of dollars per liter, these products usually claim to work as a carbohydrate source for plants. A variety of benefits are supposed to be unlocked by the use of these products, including the relief of plant stresses and increases in the rate of nutrient uptake. On the surface it sounds real good, and while these kinds of products almost always base their claims in enough science to sound good, reality doesn’t always live up to the hype.

    The 3LB are pretty well known for our distrust of nutrient companies like Advanced Nutrients who produce large lines of products (usually with large accompanying price tags) claiming to be a series of “magic bullets” - unlocking the keys to growing success for new and experienced growers alike. One member of the three_little_birds grower’s and breeder’s collective decided to sample one of these products a while back, intending to give the product a fair trial and then report on the results to the community at Cannabis World.

    Imagine, if you will, Tweetie bird flying off to the local hydroponics store, purchasing a bottle of the wonder product - “Super Plant Carb!” (not it’s real name) - and then dragging it back to the bird’s nest. With a sense of expectation our lil’ bird opens the lid, hoping to take a peek and a whiff of this new (and expensive) goodie for our wonderful plants. She is greeted with a familiar sweet smell that it takes a moment to place. Then the realization hits her. . .

    Molasses! The “Super Plant Carb!” smells just like Blackstrap Molasses. At the thought that she’s just paid something like $15 for a liter of molasses, our Tweetie bird scowls. Surely she tells herself there must be more to this product than just molasses. So she dips a wing into the sweet juice ever so slightly, and brings it up to have a taste.

    Much the same way a sneaky Sylvester cat is exposed by a little yellow bird saying - “I thought I saw a puddy tat . . . I did I did see a puddy tat . . . and he’s standing right there!” - our Tweetie bird had discovered the essence of this product. It was indeed nothing more than Blackstrap Molasses, a quick taste had conformed for our Tweetie bird that she had wasted her time and effort lugging home a very expensive bottle of plant food additive. Molasses is something we already use for gardening at the Bird’s Nest. In fact sweeteners like molasses have long been a part of the arsenal of common products used by organic gardeners to bring greater health to their soils and plants.

    So please listen to the little yellow bird when she chirps, because our Tweetie bird knows her stuff. The fertilizer companies are like the bumbling Sylvester in many ways, but rather than picturing themselves stuffed with a little bird, they see themselves growing fat with huge profits from the wallets of unsuspecting consumers. Let us assure you it’s not the vision of yellow feathers floating in front of their stuffed mouths that led these executives in their attempt to “pounce” on the plant growing public.

    And the repackaging of molasses as plant food or plant additive is not just limited to the companies selling their products in hydroponic stores. Folks shopping at places like Wal-Mart are just as likely to be taken in by this tactic. In this particular case the offending party is Schultz® Garden Safe All Purpose Liquid Plant Food 3-1-5. This is a relatively inexpensive product that seems appealing to a variety of organic gardeners. Here’s Shultz own description of their product.

    “Garden Safe Liquid Plant Foods are made from plants in a patented technology that provides plants with essential nutrients for beautiful flowers and foliage and no offensive smell. Plus they improve soils by enhancing natural microbial activity. Great for all vegetables, herbs, flowers, trees, shrubs and houseplants including roses, tomatoes, fruits, and lawns. Derived from completely natural ingredients, Garden Safe All Purpose Liquid Plant Food feeds plants and invigorates soil microbial activity. Made from sugar beet roots! No offensive manure or fish odors.”

    That sure sounds good, and the three_little_birds will even go as far as to say we agree 100% with all the claims made in that little blurb of ad copy. But here’s the problem, Shultz isn’t exactly telling the public that the bottle of “fertilizer” they are buying is nothing more than a waste product derived from the production of sugar. In fact, Schultz® Garden Safe 3-1-5 Liquid Plant Food is really and truly nothing more than a form molasses derived from sugar beet processing that is usually used as an animal feed sweetener. If you don’t believe a band of birds, go ahead and look for yourself at the fine print on a Garden Safe bottle where it says - “Contains 3.0% Water Soluble Nitrogen, 1.0% Available Phosphate, 5.0% Soluble Potash - derived from molasses.”

    The only problem we see, is that animal feed additives shouldn’t be retailing for $7.95 a quart, and that’s the price Shultz is charging for it’s Garden Safe product. While we don’t find that quite as offensive as Advanced Nutrients selling their “CarboLoad” product for $14.00 a liter, we still know that it’s terribly overpriced for sugar processing wastes. So, just as our band of birds gave the scoop on poop in our Guano Guide, we’re now about to give folks the sweet truth about molasses.

    Molasses is a syrupy, thick juice created by the processing of either sugar beets or the sugar cane plant. Depending on the definition used, Sweet Sorghum also qualifies as a molasses, although technically it’s a thickened syrup more akin to Maple Syrup than to molasses. The grade and type of molasses depends on the maturity of the sugar cane or beet and the method of extraction. The different molasses’ have names like: first molasses, second molasses, unsulphured molasses, sulphured molasses, and blackstrap molasses. For gardeners the sweet syrup can work as a carbohydrate source to feed and stimulate microorganisms. And, because molasses (average NPK 1-0-5) contains potash, sulfur, and many trace minerals, it can serve as a nutritious soil amendment. Molasses is also an excellent chelating agent.

    Several grades and types of molasses are produced by sugar cane processing. First the plants are harvested and stripped of their leaves, and then the sugar cane is usually crushed or mashed to extract it’s sugary juice. Sugar manufacturing begins by boiling cane juice until it reaches the proper consistency, it is then processed to extract sugar. This first boiling and processing produces what is called first molasses, this has the highest sugar content of the molasses because relatively little sugar has been extracted from the juice. Green (unripe) sugar cane that has been treated with sulphur fumes during sugar extraction produces sulphured molasses. The juice of sun-ripened cane which has been clarified and concentrated produces unsulphured molasses. Another boiling and sugar extraction produces second molasses which has a slight bitter tinge to its taste.

    Further rounds of processing and boiling yield dark colored blackstrap molasses, which is the most nutritionally valuable of the various types of molasses. It is commonly used as a sweetner in the manufacture of cattle and other animal feeds, and is even sold as a human health supplement. Any kind of molasses will work to provide benefit for soil and growing plants, but blackstrap molasses is the best choice because it contains the greatest concentration of sulfur, iron and micronutrients from the original cane material. Dry molasses is something different still. It’s not exactly just dried molasses either, it’s molasses sprayed on grain residue which acts as a “carrier”.

    Molasses production is a bit different when it comes to the sugar beet. You might say “bird’s know beets” because one of our flock grew up near Canada’s “sugar beet capitol” in Alberta. Their family worked side by side with migrant workers tending the beet fields. The work consisted of weeding and thinning by hand, culling the thinner and weaker plants to leave behind the best beets. After the growing season and several hard frosts - which increase the sugar content - the beets are harvested by machines, piled on trucks and delivered to their destination.

    At harvest time, a huge pile of beets will begin to build up outside of the sugar factory that will eventually dwarf the factory itself in size. Gradually throughout the winter the pile will diminish as the whole beets are ground into a mash and then cooked. The cooking serves to reduce and clarify the beet mash, releasing huge columns of stinky (but harmless) beet steam into the air. Sometimes, if the air is cold enough, the steam will fall to the ground around the factory as snow!

    As we’ve already learned, in the of sugar cane the consecutive rounds of sugar manufacturing produce first molasses and second molasses. With the humble sugar beet, the intermediate syrups get names like high green and low green, it’s only the syrup left after the final stage of sugar extraction that is called molasses. After final processing, the leftover sugar beet mash is dried then combined with the thick black colored molasses to serve as fodder for cattle. Sugar beet molasses is also used to sweeten feed for horses, sheep, chickens, etc.

    Sugar beet molasses is only considered useful as an animal feed additive because it has fairly high concentrations of many salts including calcium, potassium, oxalate, and chloride. Despite the fact that it’s not suitable for human consumption and some consider it to be an industrial waste or industrial by-product, molasses produced from sugar beets makes a wonderful plant fertilizer. While humans may reject beet molasses due to the various “extras” the sugar beet brings to the table, to our plant’s it’s a different story. Sugar beet molasses is usually fairly chemical free as well, at least in our experience. Although farmers generally fertilize their fields in the spring using the various arrays of available fertilizers, weed chemicals (herbicides) are not used for this crop due to the beet plant’s relatively delicate nature.

    There is at least one other type of “molasses” we are aware of, and that would be sorghum molasses. It’s made from a plant known as sweet sorghum or sorghum cane in treatments somewhat similar to sugar beets and/or sugar cane processing. If our understanding is correct, sorghum molasses is more correctly called a thickened syrup rather than a by-product of sugar production. So in our eyes sorghum molasses is probably more like Maple Syrup than a true molasses.

    In the distant past sorghum syrup was a common locally produced sweetener in many areas, but today it is fairly rare speciality product that could get fairly pricey compared to Molasses. Because sorghum molasses is the final product of sweet sorghum processing, and blackstrap and sugar beet molasses are simply waste by-products of sugar manufacturing, it’s pretty easy to understand the difference in expense between the products. The word from the birds is - there isn’t any apparent advantage to justify the extra expense of using sorghum molasses as a substitute for blackstrap or sugar beet molasses in the garden. So if you find sorghum molasses, instead of using it in your garden, you’ll probably want to use it as an alternate sweetener on some biscuits.

    That’s a quick bird’s eye look at the differences between the various types and grades of molasses and how they are produced. Now it’s time to get a peek at the why’s and how’s of using molasses in gardening.

    Why Molasses?

    The reason nutrient manufacturer’s have “discovered” molasses is the simple fact that it’s a great source of carbohydrates to stimulate the growth of beneficial microorganisms. “Carbohydrate” is really just a fancy word for sugar, and molasses is the best sugar for horticultural use. Folks who have read some of our prior essays know that we are big fans of promoting and nourishing soil life, and that we attribute a good portion of our growing success to the attention we pay to building a thriving “micro-herd” to work in concert with plant roots to digest and assimilate nutrients. We really do buy into the old organic gardening adage - “Feed the soil not the plant.”

    Molasses is a good, quick source of energy for the various forms of microbes and soil life in a compost pile or good living soil. As we said earlier, molasses is a carbon source that feeds the beneficial microbes that create greater natural soil fertility. But, if giving a sugar boost was the only goal, there would be lot’s of alternatives. We could even go with the old Milly Blunt story of using Coke on plants as a child, after all Coke would be a great source of sugar to feed microbes and it also contains phosphoric acid to provide phosphorus for strengthening roots and encouraging blooming. In our eyes though, the primary thing that makes molasses the best sugar for agricultural use is it’s trace minerals.

    In addition to sugars, molasses contains significant amounts of potash, sulfur, and a variety of micronutrients. Because molasses is derived from plants, and because the manufacturing processes that create it remove mostly sugars, the majority of the mineral nutrients that were contained in the original sugar cane or sugar beet are still present in molasses. This is a critical factor because a balanced supply of mineral nutrients is essential for those “beneficial beasties” to survive and thrive. That’s one of the secrets we’ve discovered to really successful organic gardening, the micronutrients found in organic amendments like molasses, kelp, and alfalfa were all derived from other plant sources and are quickly and easily available to our soil and plants. This is especially important for the soil “micro-herd” of critters who depend on tiny amounts of those trace minerals as catalysts to make the enzymes that create biochemical transformations. That last sentence was our fancy way of saying - it’s actually the critters in “live soil” that break down organic fertilizers and “feed” it to our plants.

    One final benefit molasses can provide to your garden is it’s ability to work as a chelating agent. That’s a scientific way of saying that molasses is one of those “magical” substances that can convert some chemical nutrients into a form that’s easily available for critters and plants. Chelated minerals can be absorbed directly and remain available and stable in the soil. Rather than spend a lot of time and effort explaining the relationships between chelates and micronutrients, we are going to quote one of our favorite sources for explaining soil for scientific laymen.

    “Micronutrients occur, in cells as well as in soil, as part of large, complex organic molecules in chelated form. The word chelate (pronounced “KEE-late”) comes from the Greek word for “claw,” which indicates how a single nutrient ion is held in the center of the larger molecule. The finely balanced interactions between micronutrients are complex and not fully understood. We do know that balance is crucial; any micronutrient, when present in excessive amounts, will become a poison, and certain poisonous elements, such as chlorine are also essential micronutrients.
    For this reason natural, organic sources of micronutrients are the best means of supplying them to the soil; they are present in balanced quantities and not liable to be over applied through error or ignorance. When used in naturally chelated form, excess micronutrients will be locked up and prevented from disrupting soil balance.”
    Excerpted from “The Soul of Soil”
    by Grace Gershuny and Joe Smillie

    That’s not advertising hype either, no product being sold there. That’s just the words of a pair of authors who have spent their lives studying, building, and nurturing soils.

    Molasses’ ability to act as a chelate explains it’s presence in organic stimulant products like Earth Juice Catalyst. Chelates are known for their ability to unlock the potential of fertilizers, and some smart biological farmers we know are using chelating agents (like Humic Acid) to allow them to make dramatic cuts in normal levels of fertilizer application.

    One way to observe this reaction at work would be to mix up a solution of one part molasses to nine parts water and then soak an object which is coated with iron rust (like a simple nail for instance) in that solution for two weeks. The chelating action of the molasses will remove the mineral elements of the rust and hold them in that “claw shaped” molecule that Grace and Joe just described.

    As we’ve commented on elsewhere, it’s not always possible to find good information about the fertilizer benefits of some products that aren’t necessarily produced as plant food. But we’ve also found that by taking a careful look at nutritional information provided for products like molasses that can be consumed by humans, we can get a pretty decent look at the nutrition we can expect a plant to get as well.

    There are many brand’s of molasses available, so please do not look at our use of a particular brand as an endorsement, our choice of Brer Rabbit molasses as an example is simply due to our familiarity with the product, one of our Grandmother’s preferred this brand.

    Brer Rabbit Blackstrap Molasses
    Nutritional Information and Nutrition Facts: Serving Size: 1Tbsp. (21g). Servings per Container: About 24. Amount Per Serving: Calories - 60;
    Percentage Daily Values; Fat - 0g, 0%; Sodium - 65mg. 3%; Potassium - 800 mg. 23%; Total Carbohydrates - 13g, 4%; Sugars - 12g, Protein - 1g, Calcium - 2%; Iron 10%; Magnesium 15%; Not a significant source of calories from fat, sat. fat, cholesterol, fiber, Vitamin A, and Vitamin C.

    The How’s of Molasses

    Undoubtedly some folks are to the point where they are ready for our flock to “cut to the chase.” All the background about molasses making and the various kinds of molasses is good, and knowing how molasses works as a fertilizer is great too, but by now many of you may be thinking - isn’t it about time to learn how to actually use this wonder product?! So this section of the “Molasses Manual” is for our birdie buds who are ready, waiting, and wanting to get going with bringing the sticky goodness of molasses into their garden.

    Molasses is a fairly versatile product, it can serve as a plant food as well as a an additive to improve a fertilizer mix or tea. Dry molasses can be used as an ingredient in a fertilizer mix, and liquid molasses can be used alone or as a component in both sprays and soil drenches. Your personal preferences and growing style will help to decide how to best use this natural sweetener for it’s greatest effect in your garden.

    We will try and address the use of dry molasses first, although we will openly admit this is an area where we have little actual experience with gardening use. We’ve certainly mixed dry molasses into animal feed before, so we’re not totally unfamiliar with it’s use. Folks may remember from our earlier description of the various kinds of molasses that dry molasses is actually a ground grain waste “carrier” which has been coated with molasses. This gives dry molasses a semi-granular texture that can be mixed into a feed mix (for animals) or a soil mix (for our favorite herbs). Dry molasses has a consistency that was described by one bird as similar to mouse droppings or rat turds, (folks had to know we’d fit a manure reference in here somehow).

    The best use we can envision for dry molasses in the herb garden is to include it in some sort of modified “super-soil” recipe, like Vic High originally popularized for the cannabis community. As we admitted, the use of dry molasses in soil mixes isn’t something we have personal experience with, at least not yet. We are planning some experiments to see how a bit of dry molasses will work in a soil mix. We believe that moderate use should help stimulate micro-organisms and also help in chelating micronutrients and holding them available for our herbs. The plan is to begin testing with one cup of dried molasses added per 10 gallons of soil mix and then let our observations guide the efforts from there.

    Another option for molasses use in the garden is it’s use alone as a fertilizer. The Schultz Garden Safe Liquid Plant Food is a perfect example of the direct application of molasses as a plant food. Garden Safe products are available from a variety of sources, including Wal-Mart. Although we consider them overpriced for a sugar beet by-product, Garden Safe products are fairly cost effective, especially compared to fertilizers obtained from a hydroponics or garden store, and they can serve as a good introduction to molasses for the urban herb gardener.

    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.

    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.
    Molasses Makes Fire Ants Move Out
    By Pat Ploegsma, reprinted from Native Plant Society of Texas News
    Summer 1999
    Have you ever started planting in your raised beds and found fire ant highrises? Are you tired of being covered with welts after gardening? Put down that blowtorch and check out these excellent organic and non-toxic solutions.
    Malcolm Beck1, organic farmer extraordinaire and owner of Garden-Ville Inc., did some experiments that showed that molasses is a good addition to organic fertilizer (more on fertilizer in the next issue). When using molasses in the fertilizer spray for his fruit trees he noticed that the fire ants moved out from under the trees. “I 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. The mounds averaged three feet apart. There was no way a person could work there without being eaten alive! I 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 four feet in each direction. We were able to graft the vines without a single ant bothering us.”
    This gave him the idea for developing an organic fire ant killer that is 30% orange oil and 70% liquid compost made from manure and molasses. The orange oil softens and dissolves the ant’s exoskeleton, making them susceptible to attack by the microbes in the compost, while the molasses feeds the microbes and also smothers the ants. After the insects are dead, everything becomes energy-rich soil conditioner and will not harm any plant it touches. It can be used on any insect including mosquitoes and their larvae.
    Break a small hole in the crust in the center of the mound then quickly!!! pour the solution into the hole to flood the mound and then drench the ants on top. Large mounds may need a second application. Available at Garden-Ville Square in Stafford, it has a pleasant lemonade smell.
    According to Mark Bowen2, local landscaper and Houston habitat gardening expert, fire ants thrive on disturbed land and sunny grassy areas. “Organic matter provides a good habitat for fire ant predators such as beneficial nematodes, fungi, etc. Other conditions favoring fire ant predators include shading the ground with plantings, good soil construction practices and use of plants taller than turfgrasses.” He recommends pouring boiling soapy water over shallow mounds or using AscendTM. “Ascend is a fire ant bait which contains a fungal by-product called avermectin and a corn and soybean-based grit bait to attract fire ants. Ascend works slowly enough to get the queen or queens and it controls ants by sterilizing and/or killing them outright.”
    Malcolm Beck also did some experiments with Diatomaceous Earth - DE - (skeletal remains of algae which is ground into an abrasive dust) which confirmed that DE also kills fire ants. He mixes 4 oz. of DE into the top of the mound with lethal results. According to Beck, DE only works during dry weather on dry ant mounds. Pet food kept outdoors will stay ant free if placed on top of a tray with several inches of DE

    1Beck, Malcolm. The Garden-Ville Method: Lessons in Nature. Third Edition. San Antonio, TX: Garden-Ville, Inc., 1998.
    2Bowen, Mark, with Mary Bowen. Habitat Gardening for Houston and Southeast Texas. Houston, TX: River Bend Publishing Company, 1998.

    As we had also mentioned earlier, while researching the uses of molasses in gardening, we also came across a reference to it’s use in the control of white cabbage moths. Here’s what we found on that particular topic.

    “I came across this home remedy from the UK for white cabbage moths.

    Mix a tablespoon of molasses in 1 litre of warm water and let cool..
    spray every week or every 2 weeks as required for white cabbage
    moth..they hate it..and I think
    it would be good soil conditioner as well if any drops on your soil..
    It works for me...but gotta do it before white butterfly lays
    eggs...otherwise you might have to use the 2 finger method and squash
    grubs for your garden birds..
    "nutNhoney" wrote in message
    > To the kind soul who posted the tip for spraying members of the cabbage
    > family with a molasses solution, thank you so much. Today, I noticed a
    > white moth hovering around my brussel sprouts. I quickly made up a
    > solution of molasses and rushed back to the garden to spray. The moth
    > did not land! It seemed to be repelled by the molasses. I sprayed the
    > broccoli too for good measure. I think I will spray again for the next
    > few days. If it keeps the cabbage caterpillars off, I will be so happy.
    > Thanks again!”

    So there you have it, not necessarily straight from our mouths, but simply one more potential use we’ve discovered for molasses, with at least one testimonial for it’s effectiveness. As we said before, the use of molasses as an foliar spray, in addition to it’s potential use as a pest deterrent, would also serve to provide some essential nutrients directly to our plants, and would especially serve as an effective boost of Potassium for plants diagnosed with a deficiency in K. Healthy plants are more resistant to the threat of pests or disease, so molasses really is a multi-purpose organic pest deterrent.

    Last Bird's Eye Look At Molasses

    You’ve heard a lot now about the sweet sticky goodness of Molasses in the garden, but have we mentioned yet that some folks even view Molasses as a health food?

    One of the 3LB’s had a grandmother who would take a swig of molasses twice every day as a part of her health regimen. We don’t add that as a random fact, but mention it because there’s an interesting little story attached . . .

    Grandma was driving down the road one day, oblivious to her surroundings, when she was struck with the remembrance that her morning molasses had been forgotten. Most folks wouldn’t have had a solution for this problem at hand, but we have to tell you that this is a lady who traveled with a small bottle of molasses in her purse!

    So Grandma grabbed the brown bottle of molasses from her purse, and proceeded to uncap it and take a gulp as she drove somewhat uncertainly down the road. Chance would have it, that as she performed this somewhat delicate action, she was observed by an officer of the law weaving down the road. Officer LEO observed Grammy directly as she lifted the small brown bottle to her lips. Of course in that day, beer didn’t come in an aluminum can, but instead was distributed in little brow bottles that looked quite similar to the molasses bottle Grandma had just swigged. We don’t need to tell you where the law enforcement officer’s mind went.

    Putting two and two together to equal an apparent and immediate danger to the community in an act of wanton disregard for the law, Officer LEO flipped his vehicle around in a 180 turn, flipped on his lights, and began to pursue Grandma. This was a lady we never were quite comfortable letting children ride with, but it was also a day and age before there were many laws allowing intervention to remove the license of an elderly person no longer competent to drive.

    So, we will just say it was a little while before Grandma noticed the red flashing lights in her rear view mirror. After all she’d been busy putting her molasses away in her purse and watching the road ahead of her, not looking back behind. It probably didn’t help that Grandmother’s first instinct was also to believe that the flashing lights behind her were really meant for someone else.

    It certainly didn’t occur to Grandma that all of her actions worked to confirm in Officer LEO’s mind that he was dealing with an intoxicated old crone with an apparent total disregard for the not only the law, but also other’s safety. And we probably don’t need to tell you that he wasn’t feeling particularly kind or generous when Grammy finally did pull to the road’s shoulder. As the officer finally approached her car, prepared for trouble from some kind of inebriated old crone, Grandmother came hobbling from her own vehicle a bit unsteadily due to her advanced arthritis.

    Fortunately we can report that the final ending was happy, without too much unnecessary drama. After verbally demanding the officer’s intent, and then producing the offending brown bottle for the officer’s inspection, grammy was supposedly heard to say, “Good lands officer, do you really think a woman of my standing in the community would EVER imbibe an alcoholic beverage while driving? Well I NEVER! . . . And didn’t your mother ever tell you that molasses is good for you?”

    Well folks, there you have it, the “Molasses Manual” by the three_little_birds. If your Mother’s or Grandmother’s didn’t tell you about the sticky goodness of molasses, you’ve heard all about it now from the three_little_birds. Like our Guano Guide was designed to be a fairly comprehensive look at manures, we hope this look at soil sweeteners gives folks a thorough look at the uses of molasses in their garden. Hopefully now everyone knows the how’s and why’s of the uses of this sweetener for the soil.

    It looks like the last thing to add is the where’s. If you are of the theory that your local hydro shop owner isn’t rich enough yet, then please by all means go and purchase an expensive carbo load product, but don’t complain that the three_little_birds didn’t warn you that it’s likely little more than Blackstrap Molasses. Hey, spending it there keeps the money recirculating in the economy and is preferable to burying it in a hole in the backyard. However, if you are a grower who wishes to be a little more frugal, there are certainly cheaper alternatives.

    We’ve been known to recommend the complete group of Earth Juice fertilizers as a convenient and effective line of liquid organic fertilizers for home herb gardeners. We’ve grown using all thier products including: Bloom, Grow, Meta-K, Microblast, and Catalyst (Xatalyst in Canada! ) Many other’s here at CW also report great success and satisfaction with their products. Well, if folks look at the ingredients in Catalyst, one of the first things they will see is molasses. There are some other goodies in there like kelp, oat bran, wheat malt, and yeast, but we’re thinking that molasses is the main magic in EJ Catalyst.

    Another choice for obtaining your garden’s molasses is Grandma’s source. It’s pretty likely you can find molasses on the shelf of your local grocery store. For folks living in an urban area this may very well be the best and most economical choice for molasses procurement. But if the folk reading this live anywhere near a rural area, then the best and cheapest source of all will be an farm supply or old fashioned animal feed shop. Your plants don’t care if your molasses comes out of a bottle designed for the kitchen cupboard, or a big plastic jug designed for the feedlot, but your pocketbook will feel the difference. Blackstrap molasses for farm animals is the best overall value for your garden, and it is the molasses option we most strongly endorse for your garden.

    Although we do our best to post accurate and complete information, we also know that our collective intelligence on a topic far outstrips our individual knowledge and experience, and therefore the collective knowledge and experience of the entire community here at CW is greater still. We also know there are always questions we haven’t anticipated. So we welcome your questions, we encourage comments, and we sincerely hope for useful additions. We even welcome criticism, as long as it’s constructive.

    We’d like to remind folks to be careful out there . . . happy harvests from the 3LB! ...

    ....Great information, Thank you to PFMJ and 3LB from ICMag....
    Lord Indica likes this.
    Organic Rasta

    Foxfarm Ocean Forest Soil, Foxfarm Happy Frog, Coco Coir, Worm Castings, Blood Meal, Bone Meal, Greensand plus, Neptunes Harvest Crab Shell, 100% pure Ascophyllum Nodosum Sea Kelp, Dolomite Lime, perlite, vermiculite, Mexican Bat Guano and Jamaican Bat Guano teas, Earth Juice's Grow, Bloom, Meta K, Microblast with Neptunes Harvest Fish Fertilizer, Bio-Genesis Synergy and a touch of Molasses

  2. #2
    phytokind is offline Registered+
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    That's quite informative, so just get any blackstrap molasses, and it seems like an organic alternative to cal mag supplement.

  3. #3
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    Only read 1/3rd so far and have done some cross reference to other sites and I am convinced. I am going to experiment with the commencing grow using blackstrap molasses or sugar beet molasses on a few plants as well as my regular feeding program. Very Informative Ital Post Here Organic Rasta.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mer_de^Vert View Post
    fermenting with anerobic bacteria

    I need help. Where do i find anerobic bacteria? and does fermenting cause any problems when added to the soil/medium?
    Anaerobic bacteria are everywhere.

    You know what I might try, is using Acidophilus instead, from yoghurt... I wonder if they can process sugars other than lactose? Hmmm.

    On the other hand, if you were to add molasses to your compost heap, where anaerobic bacteria live anyway, it simplifies things.

    And that makes me think that those compost starters that you can buy have the live culture in them.

    Anyway I love molasses... in my soil, in my fert water, and in my coffee [caffe creole, YUM!!!!]

  5. #5
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    Boy, I have basically a bottomless tanker of mollases. I'll have to look into this a little more. Thanks OR


  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by stinkyattic View Post
    Anaerobic bacteria are everywhere.

    You know what I might try, is using Acidophilus instead, from yoghurt... I wonder if they can process sugars other than lactose? Hmmm.

    On the other hand, if you were to add molasses to your compost heap, where anaerobic bacteria live anyway, it simplifies things.

    And that makes me think that those compost starters that you can buy have the live culture in them.

    Anyway I love molasses... in my soil, in my fert water, and in my coffee [caffe creole, YUM!!!!]

    Extremely Informative, thanks for the post Organic Rasta. molasses sugar beets ,and brer rabbits formula are all by products of commercial sugarcane .This means less complex carbs for the plants . As stankyattic said , any supplement ,including yoghurt, are beneficial for plants.Microorganisms such as Tarantula,and actinovate( aid in nutrient uptake. Long story short.. Earthjuice is the way to go... this is an all in one package that aids in root uptake with auxins,vitamins,aminos, enzymes ,all naturally .Microorganisms are natural, but as a closet grower try not to foliar feed with chemicals that processed at all ;Earthjuice is a 100% organic blend.Rasta thanks again for the post, I more than enjoyed the read
    Last edited by Kindbud; Dec-26-2006 at 13:08.
    Breath Freely, and overgrow the world!!!.

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    I get brer rabbit blackstrap molasses from wallyworld for about 2.50 a pint. I dose my ladies every 4th watering with 1 tablespoon for 4 gallons.its much better than cal-mag plus in my hard water seems to make the buds get solid and thick.I've been using it now for about a year now with nothing but positive results

  8. #8
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    Organic Home Teas

    Raspect & Peace
    APPRECIATE INFO Rasta.......EXSPERIMENTAL Grow To Pass Time.......
    How about Honey or Syrup? Would that work same as Molasses?
    one Small plant....4 Weeks.......Seems To Be HEALTHY...LOT of Rasta LOVE ...........oneLove

  9. #9
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    honey and syrup are both incredibly expensive. molasses is a much more efficient source.

  10. #10
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    Raspect & Peace

    APPRECIATE ASSISTANCE.....BUT what If I Have Honey & Syrup Here and My TOMATO might Be READY for NUTRIENTS. Cant Get MoLassee Until weekend?
    Will It Hurt or HELP My FRIEND TAMATO?

    PLANT a SEED.....Watch It GROW
    one PLANT.......SEEMS HEALTHY........LOT of RASTA LOVE .......oneLove

  11. #11
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    I would use plain white sugar then as I know nothing about the others, and honey does have some odd properties...
    Anyway sugars are just a supplement... they can wait a few days

  12. #12
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    HerBaL Teas

    Raspect & Peace
    ProBaBLy....Gonna Go some things on weekend....Only have 13 watt CFL,
    Few SMALL BROWN SPOTS on couple of LEAVES, THINK It was HEAT from another REGULAR 60 Watt House BULB that was Getting Hot on PLANT.
    Seems to have stopped since new BULB...More GROTH of NODS.
    Tamato aBout 9 Inches TALL, SKINNEY, NODS COMING Out on 5th set of Leaves.
    Was reading Syrup Ingredients, It has MoLasses In it along with other things Rasta was saying a TAMATO PLANT NEEDS. Thought the HONEY Might have same & make it nyce SWEET & STICKY, Just my TWISTED THINKING.
    PLUS , Have NOT SMOKED ANY Nyce HERB since LEAVING WEST COAST 8 Months ago. Um READY TO TURN myself In...GOIN CRAZY....

    PLANT a SEED.....WATCH It GROW.....
    one PLANT.....SEEMS HEALTHY......LOT of RASTA LOVE ....oneLove

  13. #13
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    HerBaL Teas

    Raspect & Peace
    My FRIEND Dropped a SEED From some Nyce West Coast HerB
    In Some Good OLD SOIL and Been Watching It GROW. ONLY PURIFIED BOTTLED water, LAST 2 Waters from SINK, WATER every other day, Just enough to DAMP SOIL, NOT DRAINING Out Botton of pot.
    Going Back to Bottle WATER day after tomorrow. Thought SINK water might have something init good for PLANT....???
    Each SET of LEAVES have NODS growing out of them,
    NO SEX, BUT SEX DONT REALLY Matter, If FEMALE Even Better.
    Just APPRECIATE the HERB. What you Reccommend for SmaLL ORGANIC TAMATO? On 18/6 Last 4 days.....although had few days of 24/7....
    aBout 4 weeks...Give or Take a few days....Since BULB change they seem to Be getting STRONGER, They were TALL & LEANING, Had to tie to Popcycle stick to Hold Up. Now Pulling Stick ..might Remove stick soon.

    PLAT a SEED.....WATCH It GROW....
    One PLANT....Seems To Be HEALTHY....LOT of RASTALOVE ....oneLove

  14. #14
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    Stick to the molassis. Just because the other things are like sugary syrup ect they aren't concentrated like molassis so its not going to work as well.

    I start by using 1 TEASPOON per GALLON starting around week 2 flowering and increase to 1 TABLESPOON per GALLON as the weeks go on. By the end I use about 1 and a 1/2 to 2 Tablespoons per gallon , then 2 weeks before Harvest I flush with pure water. I have had excellent results!

  15. #15
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    I put about 1 - 2 ounces of blackstrap molasses in a 5 gallon bucket of water when I make compost tea. In the bucket, put mollases and water and a 1-lb mesh "teabag" of finished compost. Add an aquarium bubbler to keep it oxygenated and let it brew for a day. The idea is that the mollasses provides food to the micro-organisms in the compost, and those micro-organisms extract into the tea. Use the extracted tea as a liquid soil ammendment to feed the soil around plants.

    You can also use this tea to really charge up a compost pile that is failing to heat up. If you build a new pile from leaves or other dry material that won't heat up, adding a nitrogen source such as "green" material, blood meal, or manure will help, but also wetting with mollases compost tea seems to really get things going --- I think it has do do with the innocualtion of well-fed highly active micro-organisms in the tea.

  16. #16
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    Now I understand why my Dad used to water seedlings with a weak molasses based tea. I used to discount it as a folk tradition because he grew up on a sugar cane farm.

  17. #17
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    Sweet, so I'm not insane! I usually put in a good few tablespoons a few weeks before harvest, just when they're really starting to thicken up. I think it helps both taste and bud size!

  18. #18
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    This deserves a sticky somewhere. Maybe after alittle reformating and being put into somebody's own words it could be set up like a Molasses FAQ.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by MedaCynMan72 View Post
    How about Honey or Syrup? Would that work same as Molasses?
    With honey's antibacterial and anti-fungal properties, is it really a good idea to use as a suppliment?
    Would hate to see everyone kill the bioactivity in their soil.
    Canadian Honey Council - Antibacterial properties of honey
    Last edited by Rusty Trichome; Apr-07-2008 at 10:58.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rusty Trichome View Post
    With honey's antibacterial and anti-fungal properties, is it really a good idea to use as a suppliment?
    Would hate to see everyone kill the bioactivity in their soil.
    Canadian Honey Council - Antibacterial properties of honey
    very good observation

  21. #21
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    I've used honey on a couple of occasions, but always found molasses to be a cheaper and more suitable alternative. I never thought of the honeys effect on the micro critters, though. Way to point that out, Rusty!
    Quote Originally Posted by stinkyattic View Post
    Switch to 24/0 light schedule and don't worry... about a thing... every little thing... gonna be all right.
    Quote Originally Posted by Rusty Trichome View Post
    It can be a fine balance between "ok...I need to water later today" and "shit...I should have watered yesterday."
    Plant problems? Fill out the Troubleshooting Form BEFORE asking how you should fix it!

  22. #22
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    The one thing I don't think I saw mentioned is that if there are not enough micro-organisms present, then the plant will end up with root rot. This happened to me while growing in bubble jugs, and I lost 5 large girls in the last weeks of flower.
    I don't think I want to risk that again. I'll stick with raw cane sugar, if I use anything at all.

  23. #23
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    heres updates to the molasses manual

    The Murky World of High Fructose Corn Syrup

    We’ve been working to decide if the 3LB molasses manual is in need of revision or if it needs to be totally rewritten, because in the 4+ years since it was first written, we’ve continued to research soil sweeteners and discuss them with a variety of gardeners. We’ve also compiled a bit more information on other alternative sugar sources, learning that some growers in commercial agriculture use sucrose or table sugar as an alternative to molasses. Some growers have inquired about alternative sugar sources such as honey or maple syrup, so we certainly hope to at least touch on those topics as this guide is reworked or revised.
    And finally there is a growing debate in North America about the use of High-Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) in our foods, and yes even in our gardens. We’ve encountered individuals using High-Fructose Corn Syrup as a molasses alternative, so we’ll try and give HFCS the 3LB treatment as a part of that upcoming molasses manual update/upgrade.
    Until those revisions are complete, we wanted to give our readers a bird’s eye view at one of the articles we archived as we were researching HFCS sweeteners.
    In the Kitchen with Mother Linda
    The Murky World of High Fructose Corn Syrup
    By Linda Joyce Forristal, CCP, MTA
    Think of sugar and you think of sugar cane or beets. Extraction of sugar from sugar cane spurred the colonization of the New World. Extraction of sugar from beets was developed during the time of Napoleon so that the French could have sugar in spite of the English trading blockade.
    Nobody thinks of sugar when they see a field of corn. Most of us would be surprised to learn that the larger percentage of sweeteners used in processed food comes from corn, not sugar cane or beets.
    The process for making the sweetener high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) out of corn was developed in the 1970s. Use of HFCS grew rapidly, from less than three million short tons in 1980 to almost 8 million short tons in 1995. During the late 1990s, use of sugar actually declined as it was eclipsed by HFCS. Today Americans consume more HFCS than sugar.
    High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is produced by processing corn starch to yield glucose, and then processing the glucose to produce a high percentage of fructose. It all sounds rather simple–white cornstarch is turned into crystal clear syrup. However, the process is actually very complicated. Three different enzymes are needed to break down cornstarch, which is composed of chains of glucose molecules of almost infinite length, into the simple sugars glucose and fructose.
    First, cornstarch is treated with alpha-amylase to produce shorter chains of sugars called polysaccharides. Alpha-amylase is industrially produced by a bacterium, usually Bacillus sp. It is purified and then shipped to HFCS manufacturers.
    Next, an enzyme called glucoamylase breaks the sugar chains down even further to yield the simple sugar glucose. Unlike alpha-amylase, glucoamylase is produced by Aspergillus, a fungus, in a fermentation vat where one would likely see little balls of Aspergillus floating on the top.
    The third enzyme, glucose-isomerase, is very expensive. It converts glucose to a mixture of about 42 percent fructose and 50-52 percent glucose with some other sugars mixed in. While alpha-amylase and glucoamylase are added directly to the slurry, pricey glucose-isomerase is packed into columns and the sugar mixture is then passed over it. Inexpensive alpha-amylase and glucoamylase are used only once, glucose-isomerase is reused until it loses most of its activity.
    There are two more steps involved. First is a liquid chromatography step that takes the mixture to 90 percent fructose. Finally, this is back-blended with the original mixture to yield a final concentration of about 55 percent fructose–what the industry calls high fructose corn syrup.
    HFCS has the exact same sweetness and taste as an equal amount of sucrose from cane or beet sugar but it is obviously much more complicated to make, involving vats of murky fermenting liquid, fungus and chemical tweaking, all of which take place in one of 16 chemical plants located in the Corn Belt. Yet in spite of all the special enzymes required, HFCS is actually cheaper than sugar. It is also very easy to transport–it’s just piped into tanker trucks. This translates into lower costs and higher profits for food producers.
    The development of the HFCS process came at an opportune time for corn growers. Refinements of the partial hydrogenation process had made it possible to get better shortenings and margarines out of soybeans than corn. HFCS took up the slack as demand for corn oil margarine declined. Lysine, an amino acid, can be produced from the corn residue after the glucose is removed. This is the modus operandi of the food conglomerates–break down commodities into their basic components and then put them back together again as processed food.
    Today HFCS is used to sweeten jams, condiments like ketchup, and soft drinks. It is also a favorite ingredient in many so-called health foods. Four companies control 85 percent of the $2.6 billion business–Archer Daniels Midland, Cargill, Staley Manufacturing Co. and CPC International. In the mid-1990s, ADM was the object of an FBI probe into price fixing of three products–HFCS, citric acid and lysine–and consumers got a glimpse of the murky world of corporate manipulation.
    There’s a couple of other murky things that consumers should know about HFCS. According to a food technology expert, two of the enzymes used, alpha-amylase and glucose-isomerase, are genetically modified to make them more stable. Enzymes are actually very large proteins and through genetic modification specific amino acids in the enzymes are changed or replaced so the enzyme’s “backbone” won’t break down or unfold. This allows the industry to get the enzymes to higher temperatures before they become unstable.
    Consumers trying to avoid genetically modified foods should avoid HFCS. It is almost certainly made from genetically modified corn and then it is processed with genetically modified enzymes. I’ve seen some estimates claiming that virtually everything–almost 80 percent–of what we eat today has been genetically modified at some point. Since the use of HFCS is so prevalent in processed foods, those figures may be right.
    But there’s another reason to avoid HFCS. Consumers may think that because it contains fructose–which they associate with fruit, which is a natural food–that it is healthier than sugar. A team of investigators at the USDA, led by Dr. Meira Field, has discovered that this just ain’t so.
    Sucrose is composed of glucose and fructose. When sugar is given to rats in high amounts, the rats develop multiple health problems, especially when the rats were deficient in certain nutrients, such as copper. The researchers wanted to know whether it was the fructose or the glucose moiety that was causing the problems. So they repeated their studies with two groups of rats, one given high amounts of glucose and one given high amounts of fructose. The glucose group was unaffected but the fructose group had disastrous results. The male rats did not reach adulthood. They had anemia, high cholesterol and heart hypertrophy–that means that their hearts enlarged until they exploded. They also had delayed testicular development. Dr. Field explains that fructose in combination with copper deficiency in the growing animal interferes with collagen production. (Copper deficiency, by the way, is widespread in America.) In a nutshell, the little bodies of the rats just fell apart. The females were not so affected, but they were unable to produce live young.
    “The medical profession thinks fructose is better for diabetics than sugar,” says Dr. Field, “but every cell in the body can metabolize glucose. However, all fructose must be metabolized in the liver. The livers of the rats on the high fructose diet looked like the livers of alcoholics, plugged with fat and cirrhotic.”
    HFCS contains more fructose than sugar and this fructose is more immediately available because it is not bound up in sucrose. Since the effects of fructose are most severe in the growing organism, we need to think carefully about what kind of sweeteners we give to our children. Fruit juices should be strictly avoided–they are very high in fructose–but so should anything with HFCS.
    Interestingly, although HFCS is used in many products aimed at children, it is not used in baby formula, even though it would probably save the manufactueres a few pennies for each can. Do the formula makers know something they aren’t telling us? Pretty murky!
    About the author
    Linda Forristal, CCP, MTA is the author of Ode to Sucanat (1993) and Bulgarian Rhapsody (1998). Visit her website at Mother Linda's.
    There are almost always two sides to an argument, and certainly some individuals paint HFCS’s as a wonderful thing, cheaper than other sugars, superior to table sugar in giving baked goods a beautiful browned appearance, with a lower freezing point, and better texture in finished products like cookies and ice cream. Our plants probably don’t crave cookies and ice cream, but some will be tempted to use HFCS in their garden because it can be found easily and inexpensively in North America. That’s an issue we’ll try and revist as we continue to revise the 3LB’s Molasses Manual.
    more sweet and sticky
    Here’s another testimonial on the use of molasses in gardening, an excerpt from the book The Garden-Ville Method by Malcolm Beck.
    Molasses - Sweet & Super

    Molasses 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 old age.
    Back 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.
    I 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.
    I 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.
    We 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.
    Every 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.
    I 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.
    I 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!
    I 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.
    A 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.
    Needless 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.
    The Garden-Ville Method - Lessons in Nature
    Sweet Wars Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back
    In a blow against fertilizer empire giants hell bent on world domination that might have been better titled, Sweet Wars - Episode IV: A New Hope, the 3LB’s first posted our Molasses Manual at Overgrow and Cannabis World close to five years ago. Since then it’s been reposted and regurgitated at dozens of websites across the world wide web. In our eyes, this was a significant victory for our small rebel alliance of educated organic growers in the battle against corporate domination in the world of Horticulture.
    We’ve all known the ag giant empire would attempt to discredit our efforts to teach growers. Just because a fertilizer or additive is advertised as some kind of special “magic bullet” for growers, it doesn’t mean there aren’t effective alternatives available at the supermarket or feed store, but please don’t remind the executives at Advanced Nutrients we are teaching that as gospel, it upsets two things. Their ulcers and their bottom line.
    The have let the 3lb’s know in no uncertain terms that they don’t like us telling growers that most, if not all, “carboload” products marketed to growers are really just an overpriced and overhyped repackaging of molasses. And now, in the AN forum at PlanetGanja, they’ve resorted to obvious attempts to mislead growers as a part of their effort to reap ever greater profits and market share for their “magic bullet” carboload product.
    Here’s the question that was asked of “Advanced” - the European distributor of AN’s product line:
    is carboload black trap molases? whats it consist of? i had a bottle way back and found it very sugar beet like. great stuff,but i found regular molasses to work similar.
    thanx in advanced.
    Despite the spelling and grammar errors, it would seem to be a legitimate question.
    Here’s the reply from “Advanced”:
    Carboload contains 5 simple and complex carbohydrates in the ratios that our favourite plants utilize. The ingredients are:
    Black strap molasses or black treacle is made from a blend of cane sugars.
    Almost any form of sugar would be a good additive but according to the R&D scientists at Advanced, the Carboload ingredients and ratios worked better.
    At the time “Advanced” originally posted that denial, we honestly didn’t notice. That post was made at PlanetGanja in Feburary, 2007, more than a year ago without much of anyone noticing. Then, last week, a friend of the flock brought it to the 3LB’s attention, and our rooster and hen research team of Foggy and Tweedy began to take a critical look at the purported ingredients of AN’s Carboload.
    At first glance we noticed one glaring problem, the listing of the ingredients Glucose and Dextrose. The R&D scientists from AN must be trying to pull the wool over somebody’s eyes, listing those as two separate ingredients in order like that, because glucose and dextrose are two different names for the same thing! At least they were smart enough to avoid wording it that way on their current product label, but they certainly aren’t above using synonyms in their ingredient list on marijuana message boards.
    Here’s a little blurb documenting glucose and dextrose as synonyms, just so you don’t have to take the 3LB’s word for any of the facts presented here:
    Definition of Dextrose
    Dextrose: Better known today as glucose, this sugar is the chief source of energy in the body. Glucose is chemically considered a simple sugar. It is the main sugar that the body manufactures. The body makes glucose from all three elements of food, protein, fat and carbohydrates, but in largest part from carbohydrates. Glucose serves as the major source of energy for living cells.
    It’s hard to believe that anybody worth their salt who has earned the title “scientist”, wouldn’t actually know that dextrose and glucose are synonymous. To confirm our suspicion, it took us a grand total of a minute and a single google search to find dozens of sources that document this simple truth about dextrose/glucose. With that in mind, we had no other real option than to conclude that this was an deliberate attempt to make AN’s Carboload ingredient list look longer and more impressive to the uninformed.
    It really doesn’t get any better the further we move down the list either. Every sugar on the list provided by “Advanced” is a plant derived sugar, all but Maltose are simple sugars, and there’s no reason they needed to try and hide that other than to try and mislead the public about the cost and effort that goes into manufacturing this product.
    Again, for the record, we’ll document those facts for our Cannabis Chronicles readers:
    Definition of Arabinose
    Arabinose: (Science: biochemistry, chemical) a pentose monosaccharide that occurs in both D and L configurations.
    D arabinose is the 2 epimer of D ribose, i.e. Differs from D ribose by having the opposite configuration at carbon 2. D arabinose occurs inter alia in the polysaccharide arabinogalactan, a neutral pectin of the cell wall of plants and in the metabolites cytosine arabinoside and adenine arabinoside.
    That’s the most “obscure” sugar on the “Advanced” list, and all that scientific speak might not be easy to decipher, so we’ll try to hit the high points here quickly. Arabinose is sugar that’s present in the cell walls of all plants. Arabinose is a pectin.
    That name might ring a bell, rather than being something exotic or uncommon, pectin is what grandma (and Welch’s) uses to thicken jams and preserves. Since pectins are something all plants seem to manufacture quite well on their own, we began to wonder if it’s use in Carboload might be to thicken a watered down product to seem to give it more substance?
    Definition of Maltose
    Maltose is made from two glucose units: Maltose or malt sugar is the least common disaccharide in nature. It is present in germinating grain, in a small proportion in corn syrup, and forms on the partial hydrolysis of starch. It is a reducing sugar. The two glucose units are joined by an acetal oxygen bridge in the alpha orientation. To recognize glucose look for the down or horizontal projection of the -OH on carbon # 4. See details on the galactose page towards the bottom.
    Maltose is the only sugar on the “Advanced” list that’s not a simple sugar, however it’s not anything terribly exotic, or even unique to AN’s Carboload product. Malted barley is one of the primary ingredients in the beer brewing process, and Earth Juice uses wheat malt as one of the ingredients in their “Catalyst” product.
    As was pointed out in the definition, it’s even present in Corn Syrup, which might very well explain it showing up in a plant Carboload product. Corn Syrups are often less expensive to procure than Molasses, adding one important ingredient for fertilizer manufacturers, an increase in their bottom line.
    Definition of Xylose
    xylose Pentose (five-carbon) sugar found in plant tissues as complex polysaccharide; 40% as sweet as sucrose. Also known as wood sugar.
    Definition of D-Xylose
    D-xylose, commonly called wood sugar, is a natural 5-carbon sugar (pentose) obtained from the xylan rich portion of hemicellulose from plants cell walls and fibre.
    In some circles, xylose is being touted as a “healthier” sugar than sucrose (common table sugar) and it is true that humans absorb xylose through a different mechanism than we do glucose or fructose (the two simple sugars that make up sucrose). However, that doesn’t mean it’s an exotic or costly ingredient in a carboload product, as one of the common dietary sources for xylose includes corn.
    That’s a little more of the story behind the attempts by the Ag empire to strike back at the growing number of individuals who prefer molasses as a sugar source for use as a plant fertilizer. When it’s all said and done, it would appear that the claims by Advanced Nutrients for their carboload product, that it isn’t solely molasses based, is likely true. By all accounts, including their own labeling, the majority of the sugars involved appear to be potentially directly related to, or derived from, corn syrup.
    A little common sense detective work by our rooster and hen research team leads us to believe that AN is very likely using some sort of corn syrup as a base for their carboload product, since the sugars present in carboload also are inherent in corn. We don’t believe that corn syrup derived sources of carbohydrates have any advantages over molasses based sweeteners, in fact quite the opposite.
    Corn sweeteners do not offer the rich mix of trace minerals offered by molasses. We can’t find any documented evidence that corn syrup will serve as a chelating agent like molasses. And, we’ve never heard about corn syrup deterring fire ants either. For more details about all those benefits of molasses, please read the other articles in the 3LB Molasses Manual.
    Farm smart everybody, live and love well, and remember, if you are learning as you grow, then you are growing too!
    Sweet Wars VI - HFCS Strikes Back
    High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) advocates will tell you that the high fructose corn syrup story is one of the most “revolutionary” in food science in the last few decades.1 Yet HFCS has been blamed for increases, outbreaks, and even epidemics, in human obesity. Some well respected scientists would like to link the ubiquitous nature of HFCS in our diet to increases in juvenile diabetes and other metabolic disorders.

    high fructose corn syrup
    Others, also well respected, will argue that not only is high fructose corn syrup cheaper than other sources of sugar, it’s actually superior to sucrose. It’s been said that HFCS produces better and more eye appealing breads and breakfast cereals, as well as superior cookies and cakes. So, why is there a problem, or controversy, and what might it all mean?
    Our primary interest here at the bird’s nest in researching and writing this article is to examine the potential of high fructose corn syrup as an alternative to molasses as a soil sweetener and fuel for the soil microherd. But, with a number of various controversies swirling around this sweet man made invention, we’ll need to examine the whole HFCS story in little greater detail.

    If you’ve had a sip of Coca-Cola or 7-Up, sampled the potato salad at a Blimpies or KFC, or eaten a sandwich with Ketchup or tartar sauce at almost any Canadian or U.S. fast food restaurant,
    you can be almost 100% positive that you’ve just consumed some High Fructose Corn Syrup. It’s everywhere it seems. High Fructose Corn Syrup shows up as an ingredient in a variety of salad dressings and sauces, brownies and pies.
    HFCS is an important ingredient in Mott’s Apple Sauce, McDonaldland Cookies, Taco Bell’s Carmel Apple Empanada, Subway’s Teriyaki Glazed Chicken Strips, and the Log Cabin Syrup served at Jack in the Box.2
    Believe it or not, the term High Fructose Corn Syrup is a sort of an oxymoron. Contrary to it’s name, HFCS itself isn’t necessarily especially high in fructose. Unaltered or natural corn syrup itself is almost entirely glucose, so at the time this enzymatically altered sweetener was developed, the addition of any fructose to the corn syrup equation resulted in a product labeled- High Fructose. Hyperbole and marketing aside, the final ratio of glucose to fructose found in manufactured HFCS is pretty similar to table sugar.

    fructose molecule
    Sucrose is the more scientific term for what you and I know as table sugar, and it is approximately 50% glucose and 50% fructose. The final ratios of fructose and glucose in commonly used High Fructose Corn Syrups can vary, for instance there is a HCFS42 that is 42% fructose, and a HCFS55 that is, you guessed it, 55% fructose.3
    As a matter of marketing, and for simplicity in use, high fructose corn syrup was developed and formulated to provide sweetness similar to table sugar. Beverage makers and food confectioners needed to be able to depend on HFCS to provide a similar level of sweetness as sucrose. This was considered to be an absolute necessity in order to guarantee that consumers would be unable to notice any differences in flavor or perceived sweetness.

    fructose molecule
    HFCS55 has sweetness equivalent to sucrose (table sugar). It’s used in many carbonated soft drinks in the United States and Canada. HFCS42 is somewhat less sweet, and is used in wide variety of products including fruit-flavored non-carbonated beverages and baked goods. HFCS is commonly used in products where its special characteristics such as ferment-ability, lower freezing point, surface browning, or flavor enhancement, could add perceived value to the finished product.4
    None of those facts sound very nefarious, do they? So why is it then that HFCS is demonized and blamed for so many maladies? It’s the production of HFCS that gets some folks upset, and it’s not just a single facet of production that’s problematic. The first problem literally begins with a kernel of corn.
    HFCS is generally made from transgenic (genetically modified / also known as a GMO - for genetically modified organism) corn, and that’s an issue in some circles. Some individuals worry about the long term health effects of the consumption of a vegetable that’s had foreign DNA inserted into it’s genetic code. Other’s worry about the almost inevitable escape of genetically modified genes from cultivation, and are concerned about the impact these artificially created genetics might have on wild plant populations. And finally, some ethicists take issue with the tight patent privileges associated with transgenic crops. It is illegal to save seed or otherwise breed or reuse GMO seed in any manner shape or form, effectively ending all traditional seed saving practices.
    The actual growing part of production doesn’t have to involve transgenic organisms though. While GMO corn is normally used to produce HFCS, it can be produced from corn that hasn’t been genetically altered. But, that’s where the issue of the enzymatic process used to create High Fructose Corn Syrup rears it’s ugly head. At least one genetically modified enzyme is necessary as a part of the actual manufacturing process of High Fructose Corn Syrup, making it’s use in any product termed natural or organic quite questionable.
    I believe the makers of 7-up were even sued over that product’s “All Natural” labeling in the USA, simply because it is sweetened by HFCS. It appears that beverage’s labeling has changed to - “100% Natural Flavors”. In my eyes this is a sign that despite the US government’s lack of standards concerning the word “natural” on foods, that labeling HFCS products as “natural” is too big a stretch for the admittedly plastic regulators under the current Bush administration.
    With all of that in mind, here’s one more quick look at a few of the dueling sugars that are part of Sweet Wars, the following primarily derived from Wikipedia’s article on HFCS.
    Cane and beet sugar
    Cane sugar and Beet sugar are both relatively pure sucrose. While the glucose and fructose which are the two components of HFCS are monosaccharides, sucrose is a disaccharide composed of glucose and fructose linked together with a relatively weak glycosidic bond. A molecule of sucrose (with a chemical formula of C12H22O11) can be broken down into a molecule of glucose (C6H12O6) plus a molecule of fructose (also C6H12O6 — an isomer of glucose) in a weakly acidic environment. Sucrose is broken down during digestion into fructose and glucose through hydrolysis by the enzyme sucrase, by which the body regulates the rate of sucrose breakdown. Without this regulation mechanism, the body has less control over the rate of sugar absorption into the bloodstream.

    sugar beet feild

    suger beet
    The fact that sucrose is composed of glucose and fructose units chemically bound complicates the comparison between cane sugar and HFCS. The accuracy of saying that sucrose is “composed of 50% glucose and 50% fructose” depends on the context and point of view. Sucrose, glucose and fructose are unique, distinct molecules. Sucrose is broken down into its constituent monosaccharides - namely fructose and glucose - in weakly acidic environments by a process called inversion. This same process occurs in the stomach and in the small intestine during the digestion of sucrose into fructose and glucose. People with sucrase deficiency cannot digest (break down) sucrose, and thus exhibit sucrose intolerance.
    Both HFCS and sucrose have approximately 4 kcal per gram of solid if the HFCS is dried; HFCS has approximately 3 kcal per gram in its liquid form [8].
    Honey is a mixture of different types of sugars, water, and small amounts of other compounds. Honey typically has a fructose/glucose ratio similar to HFCS 55, as well as containing some sucrose and other sugars. Honey, HFCS and sucrose have the same number of calories, having approximately 4 kcal per gram of solid; honey and HFCS both have about 3 kcal per gram in liquid form.

    Maple syrup
    Maple syrup is a sweetener made from the sap of maple trees. In Canada and the U.S. it is most often eaten with pancakes, waffles, french toast, cornbread or ice cream. It is sometimes used as an ingredient in baking, the making of candy (confection), preparing desserts, or as a sugar source and flavoring agent in making beer. Sucrose is the most prevalent sugar in maple syrup.

    Maple harvest
    Sweet sorghum
    Sweet sorghum is any of the many varieties of sorghum, a cane-like plant with a high sugar content. Sweet sorghum will thrive under drier and warmer conditions than many other crops and is grown primarily for forage, silage, and sugar production. Sweet sorghum syrup is called “molasses” or “sorghum molasses” in some regions of the U.S., but the term molasses more properly refers to a different sweet syrup, made as a byproduct of sugarcane or sugar beet production.
    just tryin to live the good life with my friend and wife now its time to and stay and be a
    complete guide to mothers clones and trimming roots
    these last 2 links have most grow books to read

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    sticky this!

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by zlessley View Post
    Sweet, so I'm not insane! I usually put in a good few tablespoons a few weeks before harvest, just when they're really starting to thicken up. I think it helps both taste and bud size!
    do you flush after doing so?

    or do you give the the molasuss straight up until harvest?

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