The universe found a way to get me my answer
Saturday August 26th 2023, 9:39 pm
Filed under: Garden

I’m subscribed to a fruit growers list that every now and then throws a link to a conversation my way. Not often. Sometimes I even click on it.

Today someone had a question: he had a new fruit tree that simply wasn’t growing beyond the barest hint of green and the vendor told him to mix 4 tbl dark molasses with 4 gallons water once a week. He did, and the tree finally started leafing out months after he’d planted it.

Was that the effects of the mixture? Or just, summer?

The answers he got: blackstrap molasses has a lot of magnesium which is a key part of producing chlorophyll. Calcium, iron, potassium, B vitamins in there, they’re good for the tree and good for establishing the soil biome to support the new roots.

Also: coconut coir strips calcium and magnesium right out.

Also: that most of the people answering learned all this in the process of their or their neighbors growing a certain product that’s now legal in a few states and wanting abundant growth fast. If you’re doing it hydroponically you have to provide those nutrients.

There was bit about ‘bro science’ and ‘no but really’ back and forth.

Um, okay, then.

But that comment about coconut coir that someone just happened to throw out in an aside–that was a huge aha! moment.

My most favorite childhood Christmas present (after the bicycle with the saved-cereal-box-tops Tony the Tiger orange and black rubber handlebars that I raced down the hill and into a car with. Remember my green bike, Mom? It was the most perfect shade of shiny green any bicycle was ever made of, I loved it, sorry Dad had to spend so much of Christmas Eve night assembling it. Not that I’m digressing or anything) was a long grow lamp so I could have flowers growing in the basement. Peat starter pots were a given.

Peat, however, is a finite resource that has been disappearing rapidly and takes hundreds of years to regenerate and substitutes now abound. Park Seed sold me some made of treated cow patties. That was the first time I ever had to rip a pot apart to let the roots go free; one seedling’s never made it out despite an entire summer of being watered inside a larger pot. So after that, at the local gardening store, I bought…

…some coconut coir ones. And every Anya apricot seedling I tried in them died except for one that I rescued by peeling the pot away from it early on, since the pattern had by then established itself and nothing else had been changed.

And yet they had sold it at the gardening center so it should be okay, right?

It appears I was right. I knew it but didn’t know how to make sense of it. If that guy was right I’ve finally found my answer, but then I had already decided I would never buy them again.

3 Comments so far
Leave a comment

The things you learn from people growing stuff you never would! LOL

Comment by Chris+S+in+Canada 08.27.23 @ 5:24 am

Isn’t that interesting! Better late than never to learn the ‘why’ of that (or, rather, the ‘why not’).

Comment by ccr in MA 08.27.23 @ 6:31 am

The recycled fiber pots I tried for my Anya seedlings (thank you!) started mildewing by day 10. Not sure if that contributed to some dying off. My last one (replanted in a red clay pot) is about 7″ tall with 7 delicate leaves and hasn’t grown a bit (and lost a few leaves) in 4 months. I reduced the recipe to 1/2 teaspoon of molasses to 10 ounces of water and tried 1/4 cup on the Anya, and 1/2 cup each on 2 avocado seedlings that have been in a similar dormant-like state. Fingers crossed!

Comment by DebbieR 08.27.23 @ 12:40 pm

Leave a comment
Line and paragraph breaks automatic, e-mail address never displayed, HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>