Molasses is one reason gingerbread cookies are so good. Another reason is ginger, and another reason is because they’re often shaped like people.
Of course molasses does have sugar, but it has nutrients, too, including vitamins, minerals, and trace elements. Some people have some every day as a health tonic.
It turns out both the carbs and nutrients in molasses are also food for the microbes on your plants and in your soil.
That’s why it’s a very good idea to apply molasses with most microbial inoculants like EM, because it gives the microbes instant food to begin working with. Molasses is also sticky and helps everything stick to the plant leaves.
Blackstrap molasses is what I use. The dark colour comes from all the minerals it contains. It’s commonly used in the fermentation process to make EM, and in brewing compost tea, and since I use it for that anyway, I also use it as part of a foliar fertilizer.
The unsulfured variety is preferred because the form of sulfur used in most molasses is there to kill microbes. It does not necessarily have to be organic and fair trade, though that’s definitely an extra bonus for the planet and its people. But it is important to use a product without preservatives.
Although it may seem strange to put molasses onto our soil and plants, the microbes need carbs just as much as we do. And while I like molasses for the nutrition, other sources of sugar will do:
- Corn syrup is good if you can find an organic source that isn’t genetically modified.
- White sugar is good, too. No, not for people (I never touch the stuff), but yes for microbes. So is brown or even an unrefined sugar like Sucanat.
- Even a can of coke or any other soda mixed with water and sprayed over 1000 square feet is good. I mean soda with real sugar in it (not diet soda). It provides sugar and phosphoric acid – again, not good for us, but great for the soil.
But I just stick with molasses (more info here). I often use 1/3 cup per 1000 square feet, mixed with an equal amount of effective microorganisms. If you use warm water, the molasses dissolves more easily, and the EM like it too.