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Milk and Molasses, Miracles for Your Garden

Soil Food

Part 1 of 2

Do you know about the magic of milk and molasses in improving your garden? Yes, plain old milk of any kind – whole, 2%, raw, dried, skim or nonfat – is a miracle in the garden for plants, soil and compost. Molasses only boosts the benefits! Let’s see how and why they work.

Milk as Soil Food
Using 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 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.

ARTICLE Milk and Molasses Magic for Your Garden Part a Edit

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.

David Wetzel, a Nebraska farmer, completed a 10-year study on applying milk at different ratios to his pastures and recorded the results with the help of a team made up 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 poison to destructive soft-bodied insects as they do not have a pancreas to process the sugars. This also explains why damaging insects leave healthy, high brix level plants alone, as they contain more sugars than the stressed and sickly ones.

Home Gardener Recipe
For the home gardener, the ratio can range from 100% milk to a mixture of 20% milk to 80% 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 of milk to 8 cups water for larger gardens. Whatever amount you need, the 20% ratio has been proven to give the most effective results with the least amount of milk used.

David Wetzel’s experiments found that 3 gallons of milk per acre gave the most benefits for pasture grasses, so the costs are minuscule compared to the benefits!

An excerpt from “Milk and Molasses Miracles for Your Garden“, Terroir Seeds.

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