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Old April 10, 2019   #1
GoDawgs
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Default A Molasses/Nematode Experiment

There are articles I've read suggesting that the application of unsulphured molasses as a drench around plants not only boosts microbial activity in the soil and stimulates nutrient uptake but also has a nematicidal affect. I will be experimenting with this.

Yesterday I got a bed prepped for planting summer squash. It's one of the beds on the nematode affected side of the garden.. There will be four plants, two of which (Squash A) will be grown as they always have been. The planting soil of the two others (Squash B) will receive a pre-planting molasses drench. Both A & B will be fertilized with Miracle Grow as usual except that there will be molasses added to B's fertilizer dose. Something to play with.

It will be interesting to see if the molasses-treated squash plants fare any better than the untreated, if at all. To be on the safe side I will be planting summer squash on the no-nematode side of the garden in a week or so. A few articles suggested the molasses could negatively affect earthworms but others pooh-poohed that as nonsense.


https://www.hawaiiag.org/harc/VEG3.pdf
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Old April 10, 2019   #2
b54red
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I tried it for a few years and wasn't sure whether it worked or not; but it didn't seem to affect my worm population. I found adding a lot of organic matter and mulching heavily helped more than anything. I even mulch my okra because it is very susceptible to nematode damage. Since I have been mulching heavily with cypress mulch I have noticed a big reduction in nematode damage to my squash and cucumbers but eventually they do usually have them late in the summer.

Bill
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Old April 11, 2019   #3
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Do you till in your mulch at the end of the season? I've been mulching with leaves for the past two or three years and since fall '17 have not been tilling them in, just broadforking the beds for minimal layer disruption.

The squash will be mulched no differently than they always have been.
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Old April 12, 2019   #4
b54red
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Originally Posted by GoDawgs View Post
Do you till in your mulch at the end of the season? I've been mulching with leaves for the past two or three years and since fall '17 have not been tilling them in, just broadforking the beds for minimal layer disruption.

The squash will be mulched no differently than they always have been.
I am using cypress mulch and when I clear a bed to get it ready for the next thing to go in I rake up the mulch and pile it outside the bed until I use it again. Of course each time some of the mulch has rotted near the bottom and some of the smaller stuff just gets worked back into the beds. This has kept my beds rather level since I started using the cypress mulch and I haven't had to add way too much organic matter each year like I used to. I remade all but one of my beds over the past year and have made them 10 inches high so now I am having to add more to raise the levels a bit. Basically I am just adding compost, peat and pine bark fines to raise the level. Each time I work up a bed for new crops I add a very small amount of low phosphate fertilizer, a generous amount of cottonseed meal, some well rotted compost, some alfalfa pellets and a small amount of chicken manure if I can find any. I have to turn my beds with a shovel each time before tilling each time to remove the encroaching tree roots before they get too large. Once I do that add whatever I am going to add and only till the top 3 to 5 inches. At first I thought this would affect my earth worms but I have been using this method for years now and the earth worm population continues to grow. Sometimes due to health reasons I can't get this done and it always results in poorer production and a much harder time getting the tree roots out the next time.

Back before I used the cypress mulch I would use grass clippings, straw and leaves which I would till in after a season in order to add to the organic matter in the beds.

Bill
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Old April 12, 2019   #5
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I have to turn my beds with a shovel each time before tilling each time to remove the encroaching tree roots before they get too large... Sometimes due to health reasons I can't get this done and it always results in poorer production and a much harder time getting the tree roots out the next time.

Bill
I hear ya about the tree roots. The two beds on the west of the garden get invaded by masses of fine roots invading from the grapes on the fence on that side and from the crape myrtles on those fence corners. Then there's a pecan and another crape on the north side and a red cedar outside the southeast corner.

God bless the broadfork with 16" tines! It's a pretty worky method but it really yanks out any roots that have sneaked in since the last forking in addition to loosening the soil. It's best for me to fork them before both spring and fall plantings as just once a year makes the job hard. I don't even want to think about skipping a year! Been there done that one time and never again.
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Old April 13, 2019   #6
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I have to use a shovel as a fork doesn't work too well breaking some of the larger roots and age and arthritis make it easier to just cut them with the shovel. Sometimes down nearest the pecan tree I have to use a pickax and an ax and that can happen in just 5 or 6 months. The trees that give me the worst problems with roots are pecans and live oaks. Speaking of turning beds with a shovel I am just taking a break from doing that this morning and won't have to do it again until my onions and Brussels sprouts have to come out. Thank goodness my old back needs a long break. I've still got to add some fertilizer, bark, peat, cottonseed meal, compost, and a touch of chicken that will be worked in the top few inches with my Mantil tiller.

The weather stations say we could be in for some severe weather starting tonight so I am glad to get that out of the way.

Bill
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Old April 13, 2019   #7
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I like molasses, won't keep me away.
Nematode
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