Neem is a tree native to India and is known for its great pest control properties. Neem oil is extracted from the seeds of the neem tree. The byproduct of neem oil production is neem cakes. The neem cakes are the residue left after extracting the oil.
Neem cake is an excellent slow release organic fertilizer. It will slowly break down and release nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium into the soil, making it available for plants to use. Typical N•P•K for Neem is about 4•1•2 but ours sourced from India has an N•P•K of 6•1•2. Neem cakes are also excellent for providing other nutrients to plants. They contain 13–18% of crude protein, 24–50% of carbohydrates, 8–26% of crude, 2–13% of fat, 5–18% of ash, and 1–17% acid insoluble ash along with calcium and magnesium.
The urea in neem cakes is what makes it such a great fertilizer. Other organic components of neem cakes make it a great soil amendment. Because neem cakes are a natural neem coated urea, the benefits of neem cake are not just limited to use as an organic fertilizer.
Even after being processed, there is still 8-10% of the neem oil left in the cakes. Neem oil acts as a natural pest repellent and is extremely effective. It not only repels pests but will also affect the hormones of certain bugs making causing them not to eat or breed. The good thing about it though, is that it is non-toxic to beneficial critters such as spiders and birds.
Why use organic fertilizers?
Organic fertilizers are better for you and for the environment. Many chemical fertilizers leech into the soil and can poison our waterways and cause unwanted algae blooms. Chemical fertilizers are also known to have cancer-causing agents. Organic fertilizers are just all around safer for people, kids, pets, wildlife, and the environment. It is especially important to be using only organic fertilizers for plants that are used for food.