No. The reason is that the amount you would have to apply to make a
difference would attract ants, vermin, etc and drastically alter the balance
of microorganisms and make the place smelly and sticky. The content of
molasses varies according to its source but it seems to be around about 2%
potassium. This may be significant as a dietary supplement but it does not
fit the bill as a soil macro nutrient amendment. From a practical point of
view there is no way to get a substantial amount of potassium into deficient
soil using strictly organic methods. This is why many 'organic' standards
have a get out clause for the use of potassium sulphate. I prefer organics
where feasible but use potassium sulphate.
no, i use worm composted veggie scraps.
almost any plant material should have enough
one reason i would not want to use molasses is
that it is the concentrate from making sugar left
over i.e. the impurities, perhaps including stuff
i'd rather not put in the gardens.
with the amount of compost you use i don't think
potassium would be a problem? is it because of the
My take is that a lot of things like this come from localized advice
that gets spread too far. Someone in a sorghum area find that waste
molasses, which he can get free, will help his soil. Word travels
and people start talking about buying molasses for the garden.
For example, I grew up reading Ruth Stout, who was a great fan of
spoiled hay for mulch. Lots of people will go way out of their way
to get spoiled hay, thinking there is something special about it.
She used it because she got it free.
I love hay, but can't get it free. I *can* get chipped/shredded
brush free (not counting sweat). It makes a pretty good mulch.
Drew Lawson | Radioactive cats have
| 18 half-lives
I think you are right.
Then a commercial enterprise will pick it up and make a ton of money
marketing to those that think they are doing something better for the
environment even though it costs much more.
Not unless it was packaged up in semi-soluble coatings, by itself it is very
soluble. Also sulphur is a better way to lower pH that doesn't risk adding
excess salts, I wouldn't recommend this as a method.
which excess salts? potassium sulfate doesn't have any
other thing in it.
mix it with wax, eventually the wax will break down,
making it close enough to a slow release version. or
you could go combination with adding more sulfur to
the mix for more acidification.
I wasn't trying to say potassium sulphate contains more than one salt. I
was including potassium sulphate along with other salts that you ought not
collectively apply in excess amounts and using the plural to indicate the
general rather than the specific - which is usually applied to sodium
chloride. However just by itself K2SO4 will cause damage if applied in
The classic case was a friend who applied a soluble "citrus food" ( a mix of
salts) to their lemon tree. On the principle that if some is good more is
better they overdosed. All the leaves fell off and they were lucky to save
the tree. It doesn't really matter what the salts were it is the total
amount that counts, you can do just as much harm with excess salts that are
useful in correct quatities as those that are not useful at all.
yes, well sure, that is why i always recommend green
stuff as amendments, at least then it is coming from
plants and is unlikely to be a problem even when
applied by those who don't really read directions...
in this specific case i'm not worried that Derald
doesn't have some idea of what to do with what he's
ending up with.
yeah, that's why i do most of my composting in place
or keep it in buckets to save it from leaching away too
pelletized alfalfa would have a few percent K
like about any other green.
granite chips or dust mix seems a good amendment in
your case. i'd also do more composting by digging it
right into the gardens instead of using a separate
pile (making sure the compost isn't from a seed ridden
source, of course, of course...) <-- heehee, bad joke
but i couldn't resist... :)
my other suggestion in the other post would be to
mix the potassium sulfate and sulfur in wax and use
chunks of that in the garden as a time-release effect.
the known analysis of nutrients of alfalfa is a
little more definite than anecdotal or mythical.
it would not be short lived if applied more
however, my other note about mixing sulfur
with wax to make it a longer lasting acidifier
would give more of an extended effect.
how is that?
some crops like peas can be considered both a cover
crop and a green manure besides the harvest of peas and
pea pods. just a matter of viewpoint and use of the
if dug in below there is no need to take surface space.
indeed, with your climate/moisture it would probably not
be a good thing anyways to surface compost much greenery
also limited by soil formation, sunlight, rain, wind,
dust, insects, animals, fungi, bacteria, ... the number
of factors in combination is a wonderful complexity.
if he's a seller of rocks, he might have a pile of
suitable rocks with dust under them, offer to scavenge
that dust as people who buy decorative rocks don't
usually want it. or perhaps he doesn't have a
segregated pile of that type of rock, but worth a shot.
if anything you get to go look at piles of pretty
rocks. around here that's worth a field trip any day.
i think the truckloads of horse apples and
prevailing winds would cover about any blemish on
a reputation. :)
What do you mean? I add it every time I prep a bed for planting,
which is two or three times annually; not as a top dressing but tilled
into at least the top eight-to-ten inches or so, along with whatever
other amendments might be in the mix. Please note "tilled" and
"tilling" are generic terms for working the soil with my hands or with
hand tools and definitely _not_ "rototilling".
...and I would want to add wax to the soil, why? Sulfur is fine,
thanks, and last long time. The well water is the culprit
Because during the time that the greenery is decaying the garden
experiences a temporary loss of nutrients, notably nitrogen. Nitrogen
"fixing" is for the plants' benefit, not the dirt's ;-) If I'm going to
have to supplement the nitrogen (for example), anyway, in order to
re-plant immediately (and sometimes sooner than that), there is little
point to the extra work. Instead, garden "waste" gets chopped fairly
uniformly with a mulching blade on a power lawnmower so that it composts
very quickly and then either is mixed into the beds prior to planting
or, less frequently, applied as a top dressing. Although, I "till" more
deeply than some folks do and double-dig every second or third year
(tree roots), nothing is gained by burying un-composted "greens" below
the root penetration of most of the stuff that I grow, I don't want to
contend with the side effects of burying it more shallowly and there's
no way I'm going to let a bed just sit there unproductive, still
requiring water, while waiting for 125 pea vines to rot. Having said
all of that, though, I quite often _do_ cut off the pea vines and leave
the roots, especially it the successive crop already is planted among
In this part of FL, the gardening year starts in Sept-Oct. and from
then until late July-August, none of my beds is empty for more than a
few days. By then the peas are long gone (they don't last past May, as
a rule) and any remaining beans are struggling.
If you recall, the molasses query that started this thread was with
an eye toward using it as a readily available fast acting source of
potassium to correct occasional deficiences in the short term. Mildly
alkaline water, stink bugs and grasshoppers (Damn, I just noticed today
that grasshoppers have cut off some of the garlic) are far more
Well, it's sort of a big-ass front loader and bins of rocks kind of
place. I have no idea why people want them or what they do with them.
Petoskey rocks. Had a few of them around here someplace for a few
Nobody's close enough to care. Besides, they wouldn't notice it
over the smell of their own stinky equines. For very many years, I
composted right next to the house. Open windows made sure that I
monitored the compost closely: Stinky compost is sick. Once (and once
only), I gathered mounds of grass clippings (had a lawn service at the
time) and tried my hand an anaerobic composting in black plastic bags.
Man, _that_ was some righteous stuff but astoundingly fragrant on hot
summer nights; never again.
i mean add it more than just before planting as
it seems indicated that another application is
wax mixed with sulfur would give you a longer
release form of sulfur and acidification. if
using plant waxes (instead of beeswax) then it
will not harm a thing. you're speaking of
adding some elements to offset temporary pH
spikes and i'm trying to think of things which
will give you more buffering capacity. that's
what you need to add to the soil if you are not
going to condition the water.
i think chunks of bark (1/2-1 inch across) would
help too if mixed into your gardens when you do
your digging out of roots. peat moss (certain kinds
are more acidic than others, i'm not on-line at the
moment, but sphagnum based peats are the ones i'm
thinking of), but generally, there's gotta be some
things you can amend with that will increase your
buffering capacity. setting up a tank of bark and
peat moss to condition the water before using it
might be the easiest approach as then you are
dealing with the problem at the source (one place)
instead of having to deal with it in each place
you are watering...
i don't think so, greens when breaking down may
be a short-term source of fermentation byproducts
(alcohols, CO2, etc) but it is not the same thing
as what happens when adding too much carbon (brown
stuff) to the soil. i've never had a problem with
burying green stuff down three to six inches below
immediately planted seeds. by the time the
seedlings get roots down to the green stuff they're
green stuff is a nitrogen source, depending upon
what type of green stuff (legumes can have quite a
bit, notably alfalfa and trefoil).
if you are hitting a deficit situation and having
to respond to that i don't see that as being any
less work than taking a few moments to bury green
stuff in between plants.
by then it has been transformed from green and soft
stage (source of nitrogen) into woody (carbon) stage.
i.e. the bacteria/fungi in the compost pile or in the
soil have gotten the benefit of the nitrogen and
fermenting juices instead of the garden soil under
sure, no need to disturb the soil if other things are
growing and doing well. i do that type of notill harvesting
in the tulip gardens. i don't want to mix or move tulip
i was reading about monarch butterflies yesterday and
in there someone mentioned that they'd not seen any
grasshoppers this past year. we've had a very respectable
population of grasshoppers for several years now. they
may chew on some things, but i'm not about to add any
thing to get rid of them. the birds seem to like them.
as i also recently saw a movie of two children that
roasted grasshoppers to sell them i may want them sometime
as a back up food source. they're big and healthy. :)
decorative areas, rock mulches, xerascaping, erosion control,
rock walls, fire places, flooring, counter tops, ... i could
use quite a few tons of various colors here to add some
variety to the crushed limestone (but eventually i'll hope to
get rid of the limestone in most places anyways if i stick it
out here for the long term).
which reminds me, my teen years in the family
flooring business, some times we'd be hauling
100lb+ bags of chips of rocks of various colors
to use in terazzo floors. not sure where to
source such stuff these days as we used to move
it by traincar loads at a time for the bigger
jobs. but that may be one approach to try for
a specific mineral in an easy to use uniform
size chip. i really missed out when i went
away to college. they cleaned out the warehouse
and dumped a lot of different bags of left over
chips into the parking lot to fill in holes.
greens, reds, yellows, black, ... *sigh* could
have had a blast with those. i guess the general
term would be the word aggregate, but you might
also find something under marble chips or
terazzo floor suppliers. i know it isn't a
common flooring as it was before, but i do know
it still does get done from time to time so
the supply channel is likely still out there
if a bit rusty/dusty... :)
over the years we've collected rocks from various
parts of the country as we've been on trips. a
geologist would walk onto this place and have a
riot. there's a little bit of everything except
lava rocks from Hawaii (i suspect if i ever travel
there i may not return).
oh, i didn't know you had horses that close to your
place. the smell of horses doesn't bother me nearly as
much as the horse flies.
yeah, fermenting grass will get ammonia notes going
if it is too thick. that's tough on the nose.
ok, well time to go, take care, be good, etc., etc. :)
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