We all get a little sweet tooth now and then. Sometimes you just need that little bit of sweet to satiate your palate and nothing else will quite do. You may reach for a cupcake or a brownie in order to placate yourself, but the fact of the matter is you’re not the only one who likes a sweet little pick me up. The plants in your garden enjoy it as well.

If you ever attend a farmer’s market in south Mississippi, you will see a line for cookies. Devotedly patrons wait for their piece of the prize, that being a cookie made with molasses. You may have never tasted such a thing in the past, but once you do, you may well find yourself coming back. In this case, it is the molasses that makes all the difference, giving each cookie an infusion of just enough sweet instead of the over the top sweetness you might find in other baked goods.

Molasses is used places other than baked goods, such as livestock feed, at it is actually a by-product that comes about after sugarcane is turned into sugar. It actually goes through several processes, with the end result being blackstrap molasses, which is dark in color and viscous in texture. Don’t let the word by-product fool you, however, as there is plenty more that molasses has to give. After sugarcane is processed, the molasses left behind is loaded with minerals and vitamins that actually make it a great, sweet treat as fertilizer for the plants in your veggie garden.

Calcium, iron, potassium, and magnesium are just some of the nutrients contained in molasses capable of giving plants a quick energy boost. By adding molasses to soil, you encourage growth of beneficial microbes by essentially allowing them to feed on molasses. The better your microbes are able to perform thanks to this tasty snack, the more your garden will thrive, creating a useful cycle all thanks to a little molasses.

There are several ways to use molasses in the garden. The first option is to simply pour a small amount directly into soil. Another possibility is to mix it with liquid fertilizer at a ratio of 3 tablespoons per gallon. Lastly, you can dilute and spray it onto plants directly for the quickest absorption of nutrients. Molasses applications should be repeated on a bi-weekly basis for best results.

There is one thing of which you must be aware when using molasses, however. In order to preserve molasses and give it a longer shelf life, sulphur is sometimes added. Though this may or may not be extremely noticeable to people, it can negatively impact your garden. The beneficial microbes you are trying to feed with molasses in the first place can actually be killed instead if sulphur is present in the molasses you are using. Therefore it is mandatory that when buying molasses, you only use unsulphured versions.

Though molasses will help your plants grow, it is very possible that you may find yourself with some leftover after veggie garden applications. In that case, there is always room for use in baked goods. After all, if your garden is getting a delicious snack, perhaps you should as well.