Neem seeds are coming
First the good news: I’ll be flying back from Mexico on July 17 with 25 KG of neem seeds. It will take another 24 hours to get through USDA with neem seeds but we’ll start shipping them on July 18. For best results, order early (we’ll hold your entire order if it includes neem seeds though) so that we can get them out the door the day they’re here.
Then the bad news: we hadn’t realized that the first weekend of July is a holiday weekend. With the Fourth on Tuesday, we’ve been told that there will be more people out of town than hanging around. We’ll postpone the open garden and plant swap until August 4 – so start your cuttings now! We had a great turn-out in June with all kinds of really cool plants to swap (or take what other generous people bring and pay it back as soon as you can start your own!) It was hot, so come prepared, but we’ll have plenty of water and fans running in shady spots for you to cool down.
July 1 is my birthday though, so I’m sure I’ll be working in the front yard – my happy spot — until it gets too hot to keep going. Drop by if you’d like to pick up neem trees or cuttings from our pollinator garden if you’re out before about 11 a.m.
The neem trees are totally spectacular this year. Neem trees love the hot winter and tolerated the dry spring, so now they’re totally covered in new growth and looking better than ever. (In fact, they’re so gorgeous this year that we’re offering a buy two, get one free special deal during July.)
We planted another 100 trees in the front yard (with more planned now that it’s finally raining again) because the demand for neem chew sticks has been growing so fast. Some of the neem trees we planted last spring already are over my head even before summer raining season really arrived.
The betel leaf has never looked better either. It stood in water for most of the winter so it got the best of both of its worlds – hot and wet. We did sell more of our other plants than expected this spring — who would have thought we’d fly through 300 Krishna tulsis? We’ve got lots more growing now and they should be ready by the end of the month. Ashwagandha and gotu kola are coming back too, but neither of them liked the extreme high temperatures combined with no humidity very much so they look pretty unhappy.
In the front yard, the pollinator plants are being cut back so I can see out of my windows again. Nearly all of them are super-easy to root – we had nearly 100% success on the gorgeous coral Porterweed that attracted dozens of hummingbirds this winter. All but one of the Everglade tomatoes has cooked – they’d been bearing tons of fruit since last October – but one gets some afternoon shade and is still trucking along if you’d like fruit or fresh seeds.
We’re having sex in the garden almost every afternoon lately because the Seminole pumpkins are bearing lots more male flowers than females. We have a couple of fruit ripening already but nothing like the harvest we had last year. Other than fruiting, they’re doing exactly what they’re supposed to do in our new permaculture section – choke out weeds growing under neem trees so we don’t spend the summer mowing and trimming.
One other interesting observation: a friend who had come by for an event came back because she was on this side of town and wanted to see what a baby Daikon radish looks like. We’d tossed the seeds in an open area assuming they’d come up on their own this fall, but when we started looking, we could see that they had already sprouted. They’re much less drought-tolerant than the literature would lead you to believe but they’re super tasty and the greens are probably my favorite – particularly when the choice is greens that grow in Florida in the summertime!
Interested gardeners should keep an eye open for next week’s article on Neem in the News – it’s a review of neem’s key pesticidal components and their active functional ingredients. The abstract is scary enough: “90% of the applied pesticides enter the various environmental resources as a result of run-off, exposing the farmers as well as consumers of the agricultural produce to severe health issues.”
And as you’re outside enjoying a warm summer, don’t forget that our entire Anti-Itch line of products is BOGO through the month of June. Buy an Anti-Itch Formula, Anti-Itch Stick, Anti-Itch Spray or Anti-Itch soap and we’ll send you one for free (hopefully to share with someone you love!)
Have a fabulous weekend and please feel free to post photos of your garden on our Facebook site: https://www.facebook.com/neemtreefarms/.