Improving Garden Soil: Milk and Molasses Magic

| 2/28/2014 4:08:00 PM

Tags: soil improvement, soil health, organic fertilizer, Arizona, Terroir Seeds,

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.

9/15/2017 10:37:19 PM

I have had great success against powdery mildew with a only a 10% solution of milk. skim milk is fine, and it does not create a rotten milk smell if you use it, since it is the fat portion of milk that causes the bad odor.

9/15/2017 10:37:17 PM

I have had great success against powdery mildew with a only a 10% solution of milk. skim milk is fine, and it does not create a rotten milk smell if you use it, since it is the fat portion of milk that causes the bad odor.

11/27/2015 11:40:58 PM

I read an article a few years ago in my local paper about a guy who grows those mega huge pumpkins, 300lb or more. He said he fed the pumpkin with milk. Up to this time I didn't know if he was really using milk or just saying he was to keep his growing method a secret. Now I know he was not lying and milk is a natural fertilizer. Mixing it with molasses is a great idea, the combination has to be a super nutritious natural fertilizer. I'll definitely be using it in the garden and in the house plants.

4/30/2014 12:23:10 PM

If you already have prolific weeds, and there are just too many to hand pull (tried it almost full-time one summer)and the vinegar doesn't touch them, will the molasses and milk mixture work on existing weeds??? And if you have a really large yard, do you use end hose sprayer with the mixture? It would be too much to try to hand spray my entire yard with pump spray!

4/15/2014 9:16:07 AM

How would this possibly affect the honeybees (and other pollinators)and pollination of plants? I love natural methods of treating my garden but am cautious because 'natural' does not discriminate and may harm my beneficial insects and their processes.

3/24/2014 9:46:05 AM

My garden plot has a chronic powdery mildew problem. I'll be sure to try this out this year. Thank you.

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