Improving Garden Soil: Milk and Molasses Magic


Milk as Soil Food

Milk as Soil FoodUsing milk on your compost and in your garden will probably come as a surprise to most. Upon closer inspection, however, it starts to make sense. The amino acids, proteins, enzymes and natural sugars that make milk a food for humans and animals are the same ingredients in nurturing healthy communities of microbes, fungi and beneficial bacteria in your compost and garden soil. Raw milk is the best, as it hasn’t been exposed to heat that alters the components in milk that provide a perfect food for the soil and plants, but any milk will provide nutrition and benefits. Using milk on crops and soils is another ancient technique that has been lost to large scale modern industrial agriculture.

Milk is a research-proven fungicide and soft bodied insecticide - insects have no pancreas to digest the milk sugars. Dr. Wagner Bettiol, a Brazilian research scientist, found that milk was effective in the treatment of powdery mildew on zucchini. His research was subsequently replicated by New Zealand melon growers who tested it against the leading commercially available chemical fungicide and found that milk out-performed everything else. To their surprise, they also found that the milk worked as a foliar fertilizer, producing larger and tastier melons than the control group.

Recently David Wetzel, a Nebraska farmer completed a 10 year study on applying milk at different rates to his pastures, and recorded the results with the help of the local Agricultural Extension agent Terry Gompert , a university soil specialist, a weed specialist and an insect researcher.

What they found was amazing- the grass production was drastically increased; the soil porosity or ability to absorb air and water doubled; microbe activity and populations increased; cows were healthier and produced more milk on treated pastures; the brix or sugar level in the pasture tripled, indicating more nutrients were stored in the grass than before. Grasshoppers abandoned the treated pastures- the sugars are a poison to soft bodied insects as they do not have a pancreas to process the sugars. This also explains why insects will leave healthy, high brix level plants alone, as they contain more sugars than the stressed and sickly ones. Milk Works As Fertilizer.

For the home gardener, the ratio can range from 100% milk to a 20% mixture with water, with no loss of benefits. Use as a spray on the compost and garden soil prior to planting, and as needed when insects appear. Spray directly on the insects and around the areas they inhabit. When combined with molasses, it becomes a highly beneficial soil drench. A proven solution is 20% milk – 1 cup of milk to 4 cups of water, or 2 cups milk to 8 cups water for larger gardens.

5/30/2021 5:37:58 AM

I have heard that adding a small amount of fish emulsion to a diluted milk mixture could be helpful, is this true?

Bizy Bee
3/17/2021 5:47:54 PM

In Santa Clara County California - there is a huge powdery mildew problem. For the past 4 years I have used Milk at 20%-25% to spray the entire yard. The grass the bushes (esp Heavely Bamboo), the garden veggies. Basically everything below 2 meters and it has worked wonderfully. No more tears over squashes and peas destroyed by powdery mildew. I do this 3 times a year. Also when I do see powdery mildew I remove it like it is a biohazard (it is - to veggies and makes my eye and skin itch). I have a paper bag cut it off using gloves and take the bag closed bag to the trash. Get it out of your yard and you will be happy. Thank you to those who keep old wives tales and tall farmers stories alive!! =-)

9/11/2020 2:59:45 PM

Hello friend, I have a plant that I planted 14 weeks ago, and it's in the flowering stage of about 4 weeks. What can I do now? My other query is is this process correct and the duration is normal, from germination to flowering.

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