If you’d like to use plant-based insecticides for your vegetable garden, you might be interested in pure neem oil. This natural material is considered a viable and safer option to spraying potentially hazardous chemicals on your fruits and vegetables.
Neem comes from the neem tree, which grows in India, where it’s been safely used for thousands of years, for a wide range of purposes.
For instance, neem leaf is a popular remedy in Ayurvedic medicine. This herbal remedy is often used as a general health tonic, since it’s considered to have wide-ranging action on various parts of the body. It also appears to have a strong affinity for the skin. You’ll find this herbal extract in various all natural soaps, skin creams and anti-acne formulas. (However, if you’re pregnant, check with your healthcare provider before using neem anywhere, even in your garden.)
Uses for Neem Seed Oil
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Neem oil is derived from the seeds of the neem tree. In India, pure neem seed oil is also used medicinally, as well as for farming. It’s considered a good natural pesticide. Apparently, it also contains compounds that can fight fungal infections, which can potentially decimate crops.
Neem Oil For Gardens
This site is devoted to non-toxic living. This includes avoiding potentially dangerous chemicals in food, in cosmetics and in household products. So I like to tell my readers about natural plant-based solutions, such as neem seed oil. I also want them to know about the benefits of eating organic foods and avoiding GMOs, which have been linked to cancer in laboratory animals.
I realize that buying organic fruits and vegetables is more expensive than putting conventionally farmed produce in your shopping cart. That’s why home gardening, using natural pesticides, is an excellent option.
In recent years, neem has traveled far outside of India. Various neem personal care and household products can now be ordered online.
Where to Buy Neem Oil Insecticide
However, for gardening, it’s important to buy the right kind of neem. That’s because some popular products may contain chemical pesticides, in addition to the herb. So you’ll want to find neem oil that’s 100 percent pure, with no potentially dangerous additives. This oil will not harm birds and other mammals, and it does not pose a threat to bees.
Buying pure neem oil means it will be safe to use inside and out, on fruits and vegetables as well as ornamental plants, trees and shrubs. This neem oil is cold pressed, as opposed to being extracted with solvents.
Neem Oil For Organic Gardening
Neem oil needs to be diluted before being sprayed on plants. The manufacturer’s recommended dilution ratio is one teaspoon of neem oil to every quart of water. Because neem oil and water don’t mix well, it’s suggested that you put a non-toxic dish washing soap in a a little bit of the water that you plan to use and then add the neem. Stir these ingredients until everything is well mixed. Then add the rest of the water and stir it again. Use this mixture right away. This recipe can be doubled or tripled depending upon your need.
Many gardeners like to use pure Castile soap with their DIY neem oil insecticide. In my house, here’s the brand of non-toxic liquid Castile soap that we use. It contains peppermint oil, which also repels insects. (During the spring and summer, I regularly put a few drops of peppermint essential on a wet sponge which I use to wipe down my counters.)
Here are some tips on using neem oil for gardening:
- Neem oil should be applied to your plants at dusk, and not used in the full sun.
- This natural insecticide an be applied once a week.
- Use it for about five weeks.
- Completely cover the leaves with your neem oil mixture, on both the top and the bottom of the leaves.
- You can also spray it on the soil, as it’s biodegradable.
Benefits of Organic Pest Control
One of the most common types of home pesticides is made from a class of compounds known as pyrethroids. Although these are considered safer than some of the earlier chemical pesticides, there’s growing concern they may also pose health risks to humans. These compounds are linked to neurological and reproductive problems in animals. There’s also concern that pyrethroids acts as hormone disruptors, mimicking the female hormone estrogen. Potentially, this could fuel a hormone-dependent breast cancer.
Using natural pest control effectively will eliminate the need for pyrethroids. If you’d like to read more about these chemicals, here is an excellent article.
Also, organic gardening involves the use of compost and other natural fertilizers. This means you’re feeding your soil with materials that contain the trace minerals many of us don’t get enough of, in our diets. These minerals are absorbed by the plants. One Hungarian researcher named Dr. Jozsef Beres, PhD, believed modern farming practices, which employed chemical fertilizers, contribute to nutritional deficiencies. He documented the rise of cancer in his native country in the years following World War II, when farmers began to abandon traditional crop-growing techniques.
These statements have not been approved by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Women who are pregnant or nursing should not use neem.