Neem Cake and Neem Oil: Information on the Neem Tree

October 19, 2013

Neem Tree

From the University of Waikato, New Zealand is this helpful article on the how & why Neem products function.

Neem protects itself from the multitude of pests with a multitude of pesticidal ingredients. Its main chemical broadside is a mixture of 3 or 4 related compounds, and it backs these up with 20 or so others that are minor but nonetheless active in one way or another. In the main, these compounds belong to a general class of natural products called "triterpenes"; more specifically, "limonoids."


So far, at least nine neem limonoids have demonstrated an ability to block insect growth, affecting a range of species that includes some of the most deadly pests of agriculture and human health. New limonoids are still being discovered in neem, but Azadirachtin, Salannin, Meliantriol and Nimbin are the best known and, for now at least, seem to be the most significant.

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Indoor Composting with garden waste

October 13, 2013 1 Comment

As much as I hate the end of the season because I no longer have a garden full of fresh tomatoes and veggies, I do get excited about turning all the waste into fresh compost for next season. I figured I might as well show off a small indoor compost project that I'm working on. Typically the smallest size pile for traditional thermal composting is 1 yard, but I'm going to use about half of that amount once it's all chopped up and pressed down. 

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An article on Rizosphere and Symbiosis

October 13, 2013

Rizosphere and Symbiosis
its come to my attention that many "organic" soil gardeners are gaining interest in what soil really is and how plants naturally i thought sharing some detailed information on the rhizosphere & interactions within; would help others possibly gain a better understanding on how to really work with the microbes were aiming to culture, instead of buying into the blindly applying "all in one" inoculate trend.. 
Read the Full article and Comments here.

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Follow up to Fixing Soil

August 30, 2013


Now, Fast forward another month and the pepper plant in our mix has produced dozens of 6-10" long solid thick walled and juicy peppers. But the plant on the right is finally starting to produce!!! We added some gypsum and chicken manure with worm castings... not a lot, but enough to make a difference. The plant on the right started to actually green up and grow after we added out stuff. 

Here are the photos when I decided to Fix the soil on the right because it was not doing well at all (Competitors Soil Mix)

To Read the rest of the article click here.

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Some Really Cool and Effective Insect Control Techniques Using Earthworm Castings

August 25, 2013 1 Comment

So I was reading about soil and all the weird stuff related to it when I came across a scholarly article on Earthworm castings and Pest Control. Thing is, this wasn't a normal article, this was a patent on a process. I just can't imagine patenting a process as simple as top dressing with Earthworm Castings or spraying the leaves with it. But that's what this Article is.... it's on Google, Check it out: If you don't like reading all the technical stuff, then check out the cliff notes below:

Background on worm casting use from the abstract:

1. Worm castings have been known as being very beneficial
to promote plant growth for more than 100 years but they
have not been known to be effective for insect pest repellency
applications. Research by Ohio State University testing for
the recommended application rate of Worm castings for
highest growth improvement recommended a 10%—20%
mix. The rule given by Ohio State University to achieve
these percentages was that a 1/2 inch layer Worked into the
soil Will provide a 10% ratio and a 1-inch layer Worked into
the soil Will provide a 20% ratio.

To Read the rest of the article click here.

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Organic Integrated Pest Management Systems for Indoor use from Some Old Coot

August 21, 2013

Maybe sharing different approaches will be helpful for everyone, i.e. taking a different look at making the best use of the materials you have to work with.
Neem (or Karanja) products are at the center of my IPM program. Neem meal (aka cake) is used in the soil mix and I also use it to make a tea in conjunction with kelp meal. As a bio-nutrient accumulator, neem meal is on par with the heavies like alfalfa, kelp, comfrey, borage, stinging nettles, etc. and what distinguishes one from another are the unique compounds that they create. Only brown kelp species create Alginic acid &Mannitol. Alfalfa creates Triacontanol but Comfrey does not and so on and so on.

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Gil Carandang Lactobacillus Serum Recipe

August 15, 2013 10 Comments

Thanks to Patrick over at Gil Carandang's Website for this awesome recipe. To get the full article visit 

How to Make:

  1. Get container, fill halfway with rice-wash. Rice wash is the water leftover when you rinse fresh rice. For example, go buy rice, whatever kind, bring it home, put it in a pot with warm water, swirl it a bit and then drain the [now milky colored] water. The water is now a rich source of carbohydrates. In this step, you can substitute rice with another carbohydrate source if you don’t have rice, as long as it is complex (don’t use simple carbohydrates like sugar, honey, syrup, molasses, etc). You can use wheat, barley, kinoa, other carbohydrates as the base to make your carbohydrate wash. This wash will attract microbes from the air, among them lacto bacilli.
  2. Cover loosely and let stand for a couple days to a week
    • When is it done? When you see a light film on top (molds) and it smells a little sour and forms 3 layers. This is indicating the rice wash is infected with various microbes. This happens more quickly in warm temperatures because microbes are more active. Thus it is all relative since we don’t do this in controlled laboratory conditions.

To Read the rest of the article click here.

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Why Gypsum in your Organic Soil?

August 06, 2013

Agricultural Gypsum Uses

Agricultural Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate - CaSO4) is one of those rare materials that performs in all three categories of soil treatment: an amendment, conditioner, and fertilizer.

Soil conditioners, such as gypsum, are seriously undervalued compared to fertilizer usage. Dr. Arthur Wallace (Ph.D. Soil Science and Plant Nutrition) and Dr. Garn Wallace (Ph.D. Bio-Chemistry) of Wallace Laboratories in El Segundo, CA, U.S.A., believe that if soil structure ain't right, then nothing is right.


Lets look at it from the plants point of view. The bottom-line question here is AVAILABILITY. How much calcium sulfate (nutrition) is available to the plant to meet its gypsum requirement when it needs it? The same is true with the soil. If it does not get gypsum when it needs it, the soil may compact, prevent water and air penetration, lose its leaching ability and become saturated with salt or other excessive elements harmful to plant growth and health. Then the plant suffers from bad soil conditions.


Poor soil structure is a major limiting factor in crop yield. The bottom line to the many benefits of gypsum is higher yield at a minimum cost.


To Read the rest of the article click here.

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Where are the Minerals? Nutrition Free Food isn't Good.

August 04, 2013 1 Comment

Ever wondered what everyone is thinking about? 

Here are 6 examples of growing styles that all claim to have the solution to better food, but do they?

Excerpt from "The Ideal Soil"

#1 The worldwide Organic agriculture movement and its various offshoots have so far only offered simplistic solutions, mostly one simplistic solution: add more organic matter to the soil. This is the school from which this book’s authors come, and most growers with whom we work are organic growers. ―More organic matter is a step in the right direction if the soil is low in humus, but does little to address nutritional deficiencies, especially mineral deficiencies. Yet it is fiercely defended and proclaimed to be ―the answer for everyone everywhere. Is it? No. While essential, soil biology and organic matter are only a part of what makes a healthy soil and nutrient dense crops. Nature is not simple, and simplistic one-size-fits-all answers are not going to solve the nutritional and environmental crises we face.

To Read the rest of the article click here.

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The Neem Tree is a Global Problem Solver

August 03, 2013

The products created from the Neem Tree are so much more important than I had ever thought when I first started using them. 

I first started using Neem oil because it was recommended to me by a friend as a natural method. Then when I went to the gardening store I was told that I might want to purchase some other type of bug spray because the employee had heard that Neem was systemic. I was new to gardening and asked the girl working there what she meant. She indicated to me that I would ultimately be eating the Neem oil because bug poisons would go into the plant and become part of it. I was worried, but also trusted my other friend so I went ahead and bought the bottle. I laugh now, but I was really concerned, standing there at the gardening store thinking about how Neem might get into my body somehow and hurt me. Fast forward 5 years and I am using Neem Toothpaste, Neem Mouthwash, Neem oil with coconut oil for cuts and rashes after hiking and a million other uses. It smells, but I've grown to love the stuff and have found much cleaner and more potent sources since I first started using neem from the gardening shop. Now, I also like to use Neem cake/meal in my home garden and in my house plants.


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What is Cation Exchange?

July 29, 2013 1 Comment

The Exchange Capacity of your soil is a measure of its ability to hold and release various elements and compounds. We are mostly concerned with the soil's ability to hold and release plant nutrients, obviously. Specifically here today, we are concerned with the soil's ability to hold and release positively charged nutrients. Something that has a positive (+) charge is called a cation, pronounced cat-eye-on. If it has a negative charge (-) it is called an anion, pronounced ann-eye-on. (Both words are accented on the first syllable.) The word "ion" simply means a charged particle; a positive charge is attracted to a negative charge and vice-versa.

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9 day update on Organic Soil Fix

July 25, 2013

This is a follow up to our previous Blog Article on July 16th titled, "Light green and no growth, a trial at soil correction."

Here are the photo's as of July 16th


To Read the rest of the article click here.

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