Updated: Sep 7, 2022
The neem tree is indigenous to India and has been used for thousands of years. Neem has many uses, in this blog we are specifically going to discuss the gardening/farming applications of neem meal. Neem meal is made from neem seed that has been pressed for its oil. We use neem meal in multiple ways including top dressing soil, in soil mixes, adding to worm farms, adding to compost and creating drenches/ferments. Neem is known for its anti pest properties, in this blog we are going to go into greater detail on the benefits of using neem meal in your garden.
Neem contains multiple active compounds that demonstrate the ability to block the growth of a number of agricultural pests. Neem contains a compound called Azadirachtin that disrupts pests growth and reproduction. In an experiment that put neem meal head to head with conventional pesticides, comparing mite and thrip populations, leaf damage and yields the neem grown plants had lower populations of mites and thrips, less leaf damage and roughly the same yield. It has been observed that plants grown in neem meal amended soil have higher concentrations of salicylic acid and polyphenols. These are known plant resistance markers that suggest the use of neem meal induces systemic acquired resistance. Another experiment shows the application of neem meal drastically reduced the numbers of parasitic nematodes and the population of free living nematodes actually increased. This is important for organic gardeners because free living nematodes are key players in nutrient cycling, which is a biological process that delivers plant available nutrients to plant roots for uptake.
Neem meal has shown to be able to exhibit all of these properties when applied to soil in crude formulations, basically allowing the neem meal to soak in water for twenty four hours and then applying the liquid directly to the soil. Neem meal is a powerful tool for any gardener, we hope this blog has helped to widen your understanding and open your eyes to the potential uses and benefits of neem meal.
As is always the case with dry amendments, it is possible to apply too much so be sensible with application rates. If you would like further guidance on how to use neem meal in your garden then feel free to contact us, we are always happy to help.
Thank you for reading
Whole Plant Collective.