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July 03, 2012

Homemade potash for a tropical organic garden (molasses)

Many of the ordinarily lush green leaves of my pommecythere plant were turning yellow with burnt-looking tips at an alarming rate. Without much online information on pommecythere and knowing that I had not yet replenished the compost, I decided the discolorations were symptomatic of a potassium deficiency.

potassium deficiency.
Potassium deficiency on my dwarf pommecythere plant
Potassium Deficiency
Potassium deficiency is identifiable by yellowing of the leaves (called chlorosis) and brown scorching and curling of leaf tips. To remedy this organically, I used blackstrap molasses (unsulphered) in water. (Molasses is also a greate ingredient in compost teas).

Ingredients for making organic potash:
  • 1 to 3 tbsp  blackstrap molasses (unsulphered) from sugar canes
The molasses must be unsulphered. Outside of being a rich source of potash (a term for fertiliser forms of potassium), molasses encourages beneficial microbial activity in the soil. However, sulphur is added to some forms of molasses as a preservative. As a preservative, sulphur kills microorganisms that are useful in a tropical organic garden.
  • 1 gallon water

Instructions for using organic molasses fertilizer:
  1. Mix the ingredients and drench the soil.
  2. If molasses is used in a compost tea, the compost tea may be either sprayed directly onto the leaves or into the soil.
  3. If you have banana peels, you can combine the molasses with blended banana peels.

Other benefits of molasses as an organic fertilizer:
Apart from being a rich source of potassium for a tropical organic garden, molasses also offers the following benefits.
  • iron
  • micronutrients that include many trace minerals from the original sugar cane
  • increases beneficial microbial activity
  • increases resistence to pest attack and disease

Other natural forms of potash for my tropical organic garden:
  • Banana peels


1 comment:

  1. I was under the impression yellowing leaves was due to over watering...wasn't even thinking it could be a nutrient deficiency. Any tips on how to tell the difference?