Use of neem cakes as an organic fertilizer is a very well known practice worldwide and especially in India. You can increase soil fertility by adding neem cakes to the soil. We have discussed compost in our earlier article. Now it’s time to put some light on Neem.
Scientific Name of Neem: Azadirachta indicaCommon Name: Nim, Neem, Limba, and Nimba etc.
Neem is a tree with stout and a rather short stem.It can grow up to 12-15 meter. People collects neem seeds from the trees. These are then crushed and from there oil is extracted. The de-oiled residue of these seeds is called neem cakes. These cakes are high in NPK and also can be used to kill harmful nematodes. Please remember that all nematodes are not harmful so use this strategy wisely.
Uses of Neem:
There are several uses of neem. Neem works as a base for preparing various consumer and industrial products. It is also an excellent pest-repellent. Neem also prevents any type of resistance to pests. Generally speaking, chemical pesticides work on the nervous system of the pests, and prolonged uses of these types of pesticides thus result in resistance to pests. Unlike chemical pesticides, neem works on the hormonal system of an insect. And so it does not lead to any type of resistance.
In India, the neem plant is considered to be an air purifier and so planted in the backyard or beside the house. But in this article, I will focus on the effect it has as a fertilizer.
Neem Cake As Organic Fertilizer:
Since very early in India neem are being used as a natural fertilizer. It had become very popular due to its dual impact of soil enhancer as well as pest-repellent. Neem cakes, as well as neem leaves, are used to fertilize the soil. The followings are the nutrient content of neem seed cake:
|(N)||Nitrogen||(2.0% to 5.0%)|
|(P)||Phosphorus||(0.5% to 1.0%)|
|(K)||Potassium||(1.0% to 2.0%)|
|(Ca)||Calcium||(0.5% to 3.0%)|
|(Zn)||Zinc||(15 ppm to 60 ppm)|
|(Cu)||Copper||(4 ppm to 20 ppm)|
|(S)||Sulphur||(0.2% to 3.0%)|
|(Mg)||Magnesium||(0.3% to 1.0%)|
|(Fe)||Iron||(500 ppm to 1200 ppm)|
|(Mn)||Manganese||(20 ppm to 60 ppm)|
Neem and Soil pH:
Neem can be a great product if you are considering decreasing your soil pH. It can reduce the alkalinity of the soil as it gets mixed with the soil and produces organic acids. In India, it is extensively used in cash crops like turmeric, sugarcane, banana etc.In growing flowers and vegetables, neem Cakes are a good alternative to chemical fertilizers.
Neem cakes improve the appearances of fruits and vegetables. It also strengthens roots, and grow the foliage. It works very well when mixed with compost or other organic fertilizers. Applying neem with nitrogenous fertilizers can slow down the conversion process. This increases the efficiency of the soil.Neem produce organic acids when mixed with soil, hence can be a great choice for reducing soil pH Click To Tweet
Neem cakes and nematodes:
Neem cakes are very useful in controlling nematode population. It also effective against many pathogens present in the soil. Neem seeds and cakes contain nortriterpenoids and isoprenoids, which are nematicidal in nature.
Neem cakes and Urea:
Neem cakes are enriched with different nutrients (NPK and micronutrients) and produced a better yield than urea. The cakes also block soil bacteria from releasing nitrogen gas. Thus it prolongs the availability of nitrates in the soil. Another practice is to mix neem cakes with urea or any other fertilizers (which have nitrogen). It will increase their efficiency by reducing their nitrogen releasing rate. So the fertilizers remain in the soil for much longer.
Different types of neem cakes:
Neem cakes can be found in many forms. Here are some of the most common types.
- Neem cake fertilizer.
- Neem cake powder.
- Neem cake granules.
- Neem cake manures
Pros and cons of using neem cakes:
First the benefits of using neem cakes:
- It is an excellent Organic Soil Amendment.
- Neem cakes are organic and natural substances. they are bio-degradable.
- Totally chemical free.
- You can mix neem cakes with other fertilizers.
- Neem cakes improve the texture of your soil. Their organic nature and water holding capacity also help to keep the soil aerated. This is a must for better root development.
- Using neem cakes is cost efficient because of its sustainability.
- Neem cakes can also work as a pest repellant. these dual effects of fertilizing and pest protection can result in amazing yields.
Now the cons:
- Use caution while applying neem cakes in potting mixes. Using more than 1% could cause a lack of seed germination or stunt young plants.
- Botanical insecticides, such as neem are allowed in organic production. But as with all insecticides, you should use them only as a last resort. Although this is natural, it sometimes might harm some beneficial insects.
Hope this article gave you some insights about this great Indian plant and its uses as a soil enhancer. More on neem and its uses in future articles. Post your feedback.