TX Organic Research Center



Cornmeal, corn gluten meal have their place
January 16, 2009
By Howard Garrett

QUESTION: How often should I use cornmeal, corn gluten meal and molasses on my yard?  D.T., Lancaster

ANSWER: It depends on what you are trying to do. Cornmeal is a natural disease control and should be applied as needed at a rate of 20 pounds per 1,000 square feet.

Corn gluten meal is a strong organic fertilizer and a natural pre-emergent weed control. It can be used as an organic fertilizer at any time of year. It functions as a herbicide only when applied at a rate of 15 to 20 pounds per 1,000 square feet before weed seeds germinate. For winter weeds, the timing usually is Sept. 15 through Oct. 15. To control summer weeds such as crab grass and grass burs, the time to apply usually is Feb. 15 through March 15.

Molasses can be applied in liquid form at a rate of 1 to 2 ounces per gallon of water when foliar feeding is done. Liquid molasses also can be added to organic pest-control sprays to improve their efficacy. Dry molasses can be used during bed preparation or spread on the surface of planting areas to stimulate beneficial microbes and function as a fertilizer. In most cases, molasses also will deter fire ants.

QUESTION: I have been deployed to Iraq with the military, but I hope to return home on leave in February. My wife would like to plant blueberries. Which variety would be best in our area?  C.C., Cedar Hill

ANSWER: Blueberries will be hard to grow in Cedar Hill. Most of the soil there is alkaline, and blueberries don’t like alkaline soil. They need sandy, acidic soil to be productive. Creating raised beds that have acidic soil is easy, but water quality is another issue.

Prepare raised beds or potting soil for large containers by mixing the following ingredients. First, forget the peat moss that many people recommend. Instead, start with a base of at least 60 percent high-quality compost. An additional 30 percent of the soil mix should be a blend of rock minerals that contains equal amounts of lava sand, greensand, expanded shale, decomposed granite and zeolite. The final 10 percent of the mixture should contain coffee grounds, alfalfa meal and a gentle organic fertilizer.  Adding a mycorrhizal fungi product also will help.  The potting mixture or bed should be about 14 inches deep.

To improve your water, filter it and add apple cider vinegar at a rate of 1 to 2 tablespoons per gallon of water. Catching rainwater and using it is even better. Add 1 tablespoon of Garrett Juice per gallon of water every other time you water.

For additional acidity, 1 ounce of apple cider vinegar can be added to each gallon of water as needed.

Black highbush blueberry (Vaccinium fuscatum ‘Aiton’) and highbush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum) are native to Texas. The USDA’s Plants Profile shows that blueberries grow naturally in a few counties in East Texas where the soil is sandy and acidic. Other varieties worth trying are rabbiteye blueberries such as ‘Climax’, ‘Brightwell’ and ‘Triblue’.

If blueberries sound like too much trouble, try blackberries, pomegranates, figs or jujubes instead. They do well with normal organic bed preparation and tap water.


   A burning question on lawns
   A Monster's Growing Under Our Deck!
   About oak sprouts
   After exposing tree’s root flare, leave it alone
   Ailing from harsh summer, crabapple needs treatment
   All we are saying is give trees a chance
   Amount of tilling, not method, is what matters.
   An organic option to control the fleas
   An unwelcome bug is eating ornamental plants
   Antique, container roses are sweeter
   Ants have invaded pots of peppers
   Any way to help heal injured tree?
   Apple and pear trees need little pruning
   Are gnats hanging out on your houseplants? There's hope
   Are mushrooms bad for my yard?
   Are tree galls troublesome?
   Asps won't hurt plants 9-01-2006
   Attracting Birds To The Garden, Composting, Sprayers
   Azalea beds may be incorrectly done
   Baby talc marches against ants
   Bag the worm problem to save tree
   Bald cypress going brown
   Bald cypress roots expose themselves.
Printable Version | Back to Top

Dr Ohirras
Headache Relief

H A N N A H ' S    M A R K E T P L A C E

Send this website to a friend Make this website your home page