[NAFEX] Sugar that's not so sweet

Mark Lee markl at nytec.com
Thu Jun 2 16:32:26 EDT 2005

The garden symphylan, Scutigerella immaculate, is a pest that thrives in
organic vegetable gardens in the Northwest.  They are closely related to
centipedes and millipedes.  Other than insecticides, the only way to
deal with these is to have two plots.  One plot is for vegetables and
the other is for grass.  The plots are rotated every 3 years.  I wonder
if symphylans could be controlled with sugar?
-Mark Lee, Seattle

-----Original Message-----
From: nafex-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org
[mailto:nafex-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of Stephen Sadler
Sent: Thursday, June 02, 2005 11:57 AM
To: 'North American Fruit Explorers'
Subject: RE: [NAFEX] RE: Sugar that's not so sweet

The sugar trick still works.  One reason you don't hear about it is that
can make money from it: the sugar industry doesn't want to market it's
product as a poison, and chemical companies can't patent sugar or sell
it at
inflated prices.  Another reason is that not everyone wants the increase
ant population that comes with sugar.

A problem with the method is that it kills some beneficial as well as
harmful soil organisms.  It's also a difficult application over large
with standard farm equipment, and there are questions about cost benefit
crop rotation.  

Organic solutions do include sugar solution, crop rotation, soil
solarization, and chitin-containing soil amendments.  Those amendments
improve the soil, but aren't real cheap.  

Sugar solutions are being tested to attract predatory ants to corn to
control fall armyworm.  

Sugar solutions have been shown to improve root vigor and decrease
transplant shock when planting out containerized plants.  

Stephen Sadler, Ph.D.
USDA 9, AHS heat zone 8, 
Sacramento CA - Mediterranean climate

-----Original Message-----
From: nafex-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org
[mailto:nafex-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of bruce
Sent: Thursday, June 02, 2005 9:03 AM
To: nafex at lists.ibiblio.org
Subject: [NAFEX] RE: Sugar that's not so sweet

You might be interested in a newspaper clipping on sugar killing 
nematodes I found in my Dad's copy of the 1959 edition of Encyclopedia 
of Organic Gardening: The clipping is a column called Flowers and 
Gardens in the Omaha World Herald, date unfortunately torn off. The 
article reads:

Sugar in Soil
Destroys Pest . . .
Nematode 'Exploded'
in Plant Tests

By Dr. R. M. Carleton

A discovery just announced by the Department of Agriculture may be the 
key to the defeat of the worst agricultural pest of much of the 
nation--the nematode.
It is the discovery that if two parts of sugar are mixed with one 
hundred parts of soil, nematodes in the soil literally explode. The day 
after treatment, not a living nematode can be found.
The principle is extremely simple. It builds up in the soil a 
concentration of a solution which is higher than the concentration of 
fluid inside the nematode.
This causes fluids inside the nematode to flow out through its skin, 
killing it.
The scientist who made this discovery was not trying to kill nematodes 
but to find out whether he could feed plants with sugar solutions. Sugar

is used by plants for growth and a quick method of feeding this 
substance might mean improved growth.
His test plants showed better growth, but not because they used the 
extra sugar. It was due to the death of nematodes.
The method for treating soils for pot plants is simple: measure and mix 
two parts of granulated sugar and one hundred parts of soil. This ought 
to be done a week or two before the soil is used.


I wonder what ever became of this supposedly important 1950's


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