Molasses In The Garden

Over the weekend we got to visit the lovely Portland Japanese Garden with a group of Master Gardeners and Watershed Stewards from Vancouver. We got a tour with a couple of the volunteer gardeners who have worked at the garden for years, and it was very informative. So many beautiful plants, even in the waning autumn season. This was a great time to visit, because you can really see the beautiful structure of the trees and shrubs that have been meticulously pruned. The garden design does a superb job of framing magnificent views through the use of a hidden reveal provided by hardscape or shrubbery as well as the use of curved paths. Meticulous care is taken to have the garden always at its prime–they remove by hand evergreen needles on trees and shrubs that have turned brown, for example, and the gravel paths early in the morning are raked into beautiful designs, so it pays to get there early to see them. They have many lanterns in the garden, and light them around September 20th or so for certain ceremonies, and the cherry trees blossom along with Japanese iris in the spring, so both times are also superb for visiting this gem of a garden.

One tip that Alan, our tour guide, gave to us follows: Mix 2 tablespoons of blackstrap molasses into one gallon of water. You can use this solution as an organic plant nutrient that is good for the soil. If you use it as a foliar spray, it will kill sucking insects like aphids and thrips, but not harm the beneficial insects. The only down side is that it could perhaps cause some mold on the leaves of the plant, but if the air circulation is good, that would likely be minimized. This solution is one that they use at the Japanese Garden to good effect, so I thought I would pass it along. I have not tried it myself, but plan to next gardening season.

***A note:  I read recently in the April/May 2010 issue of Organic Gardening magazine, page 50, that “Researchers caution that molasses and other microbial foods used in brewing compost tea can boost the levels of pathogenic bacteria, such as salmonella and O157:H7 E. coli.  Because of this significant health concern, aerated compost tea should be used with care, and should not be used on food crops” (Shoup).

What’s new in your garden–do tell in the comments.

Gotta add a photo, so here is one I took in the autumn at the CASEE garden back in 2006–a beautiful, natural garden that works well in providing food for birds naturally.

Please visit Jamie’s Oregon Cottage Blog for her Garden Party.

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5 Comments

  1. November 24, 2010 at 12:48 am

    Thanks for you comments today, it was nice to hear from you. Hope you have a nice Thanksgiving and stay warm….I think it is a little colder up there than it is down here, but it still very cold every where.

    • minervasgardenwriter said,

      November 24, 2010 at 2:45 am

      Thanks!

  2. December 1, 2010 at 2:55 am

    I’ve never heard of using molasses that way- I’m very curious to try, now. 🙂

    • January 6, 2011 at 4:06 am

      Yes, it was news to me as well. They swore it worked great, so I am going to test it out myself. I would love to find something to get rid of aphids on my roses that doesn’t hurt beneficial insects, other than just going around and squishing them by hand.

  3. January 21, 2011 at 5:05 pm

    […] an addendum to my last post about Molasses in the Garden.  I read an article in Organic Gardening Magazine that said that using molasses in compost tea is […]


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