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    Harvesting and processing Neem

    Even though I'm no where near India, I happen to live in an area where Neem grows everywhere around me. With a 15 minute walk I can count 30+ large Azadirachta indica trees. They grow wild along the beach, but as far as I can tell nobody makes use of them. So I have started collecting neem leaf and fruits (to process the seed). I wanted to share with you a little bit about what I've learned in making use of fresh material.

    About a year ago I first learned neem trees grow in my area. I read up a little on the identification characteristics were... i.e. what the bark, leaves, flowers, and fruits looked like. The very next day I found my first wild neem, then about 20 more around it. Surprisingly, there doesn't seem to be much domestic use of the product. I can't find large quantities of neem oil or cake, or info about many people processing it in the area. Luckily there are a few, which is how I first learned about it being here "naturally".



    The leaves are very distinct. Dark green and glossy, the leaves are the first thing I look for now. Out of curiosity, my wife and I have both tasted them and agree that they are very bitter and not something we want to try again. I have used them by shredding the leaf and soaking it in a bucket of water for 24-36 hours. It will take on a garlic like smell, but not as strong as garlic. Any longer than 36 hours in the tropics and it definitely starts fermenting. We used the 24-36 hour stuff as a flea dip on a kitten we rescued. Although it wasn't 100% effective for this, the applications (3) did significantly reduce the population from an infestation to where we only see an occasional flea. It also made the kittens hair noticeably soft. I used the water and leaf as mulch on a few mint, basil, and green pepper plants with no ill effect, but it also did not eliminate fungus gnats in those containers.



    Today I spent 10 minutes in the shade of a large neem, right along the beach, and collected this many fruits off the ground.



    This picture shows the stages of ripeness in the fruit. Bright green is immature fruit (top) and should be discarded. The seed is not fully developed and difficult to remove from the fruit. Greenish-yellow fruit (second) is beginning to mature. The seed is typically usable, as long as it easily slips out of the skin. Yellow fruit (middle) is fully mature, and what you're looking for. The 4th one shows what the seed with pulp on it looks like, it kind of reminds me of a wild grape. The last one shows the clean seed, that's what your after!



    So after collecting the fruits, you want to separate the seed from the skin. This is super easy to do, you just pinch the bottom of the fruit and the seed squirts out the top. This whole process probably took 3 minutes tops.


    Next you need to remove the fruit pulp from the seed. If you don't do this, they will mold and ferment instead of dry properly. The pulp is very slippery and sticks to the seed fairly well. In the beginning I tried scraping it off with just a fingernail under water, but that was a lengthy and annoying. I quickly learned to use an abrasive pad such as the one pictured. Underwater, place a few seeds in between and rub your hands back and forth for 20 seconds or so. It probably took me 7-8 minutes to do this batch.
    Last edited by Hookahhead; 11-21-2018, 17:58. Reason: changed the title a little bit
    A collection of Chunky’s Bagseeds

    Hookahhead's Worm Farm!

    Harvesting and Processing Neem

    Monkey Shit (Jamaican bagseed)

    Winogradsky Columns

    #2

    Here are the neem seeds ready to dry on some cardboard. You can see a few still look slimy. That's okay, we've removed enough fruit pulp that mold should not be an issue.


    Here are the dry neem seeds from a different batch. When I want to use them, I grind them in a coffee grinder and soak them in water for 24-36 hours. This is how the seed meal is traditionally processed according to YT haha. I don't have the means to press raw oil from the seed, but this seems effective enough. The water takes on a milky color and has the mistakable odor of neem. It does seem effective for minimizing leaf damage on outdoor cannabis plants.
    A collection of Chunky’s Bagseeds

    Hookahhead's Worm Farm!

    Harvesting and Processing Neem

    Monkey Shit (Jamaican bagseed)

    Winogradsky Columns

    Comment


      #3
      That’s awesome! Thanks for posting the tutorial!
      DTOM = Dont Tread On Me

      Comment


        #4
        Part 2

        Sorry it took me so long to update, but here is the rest of the process.



        That batch was almost an oz of seeds.



        I ran 25g of the neem seeds through my coffee grinder twice on the longest duration and finest setting (espresso). There is a good bit of oil in the seeds, it forms a paste that kind of sticks to the sides of the grinder. I should have taken a picture of it still in the grinder. The odor is fairly pleasant, nutty with a hint of green onion or chives. I tasted a tiny bit of the powder, very bitter and terrible as expected.



        Then I added the 25g of neem powder to 1L of dechlorinated water.



        I added the smallest amount of Dr. Bronner's soap as possible, probably about equal to 2-3 drops. This is to help emulsify the oil. You could use Yucca extract or leave it out. Every so often you will see that a lot has settled out and formed a layer of sediment on the bottom. Give the bottle a good shake and let it rest for a while again. I'll let it extract for 24-48 hours at room temperature (~80F).
        A collection of Chunky’s Bagseeds

        Hookahhead's Worm Farm!

        Harvesting and Processing Neem

        Monkey Shit (Jamaican bagseed)

        Winogradsky Columns

        Comment


          #5
          Part 3

          Ok the extract has all been processed.


          I mixed the solution throughout the day. It settled overnight.


          It was filtered through a bamboo cloth. The liquid was yellow and opaque. It smelled strongly of onions. I transfered this to a 1 L spray bottle, and added 1/4 tsp of epsom salt. I used this as a foliar spray on my outdoor plants.


          I scraped the seed meal off the bamboo filter and returned it to the jar. I filled it with 1 L of dechlorinated water. Like before, I added approx 2-3 drops of Dr Bronner's soap. I allowed this batch to extract for an additional 48 hours. The photo is after it settled overnight.


          This was also run through the bamboo cloth (clean). It doesn't show up very well, but the liquid was lighter color, more white and still opaque. There was pressure released when I opened the bottle, so fermentation had started. It smelled strongly of onions mixed with farts (sulfur). My wife actually thought our kitten pooped somewhere in our house before she realized what I was up to. The liquid was diluted with and additional 1 L of dechlorinated water resulting in 50% strength solution. This was used in place of a normal watering. The seed meal was discarded outdoors after the second extract.
          A collection of Chunky’s Bagseeds

          Hookahhead's Worm Farm!

          Harvesting and Processing Neem

          Monkey Shit (Jamaican bagseed)

          Winogradsky Columns

          Comment


            #6
            Can you post pictures of the trees and maybe one of their bark. Those leaves look familiar and I know neem grows where I'm at.

            Comment


              #7
              Identifying neem

              Originally posted by P-NUT View Post
              Can you post pictures of the trees and maybe one of their bark. Those leaves look familiar and I know neem grows where I'm at.
              Hey great idea, thanks for the suggestion! I actually ended up collecting a huge amount of seed while out taking your pictures. I left you some rep. I apologize for the photo quality, there are also pictures on google that can help you identify the tree.



              Here is a neem sapling. I have seen ones this size produce fruit/seed. As you can see they grow literally right along the beach; they must be very salt tolerant.


              The bark of the neem sapling


              Here is a mature neem tree. It's kinda hard to gauge the size in the picture, but the leaves on the right hand side are from a large coconut palm. Again, they are able to grow as close as anything can to the ocean.


              Mature bark. Neem bark has a reddish orange hue to it, which is typically more pronounced in the juveniles. Unfortunately my pictures don't show this as well as I'd like.


              Here is a better look at the branches, the trees produce a huge amount of leaves.
              A collection of Chunky’s Bagseeds

              Hookahhead's Worm Farm!

              Harvesting and Processing Neem

              Monkey Shit (Jamaican bagseed)

              Winogradsky Columns

              Comment


                #8
                Identifying neem


                Neem flowers on a tree. They always grow in a cluster and each flower has 5 round lobed petals.



                Unripe neem fruit on the tree. They typically grow in clusters like the flowers, but most of these must have already dropped. They remind me of olives.



                We are about to enter our dry season (no rain for at least 4 months), so it appears the trees are dropping their fruit. I'm not sure what creature ate the fruit and pulp, but look at all of those pre-cleaned neem seeds just waiting to be collected!



                Here's my score from today. The ones that look black still have the pulp on them, so a lot of the black sand has stuck to them. You can see most of what I collected only needs rinsed and dried for use!
                A collection of Chunky’s Bagseeds

                Hookahhead's Worm Farm!

                Harvesting and Processing Neem

                Monkey Shit (Jamaican bagseed)

                Winogradsky Columns

                Comment


                  #9
                  Clean neem seed


                  These are all of the seeds that simply needed rinsed off. I spent maybe 30 minutes at the beach picking all of these up today.



                  These are the seeds that needed depulped and cleaned up a little more before use.

                  I combined all of the seeds together for drying. Since there are so many, I have a fan blowing on them for a few hours before allowing them to air dry. The whole process of collecting and cleaning was completed in less than an hour. I will post an update in a week or so with the dry weight of this most recent collection.

                  Just in case anyone is curious, I used these videos as a reference. https://youtu.be/Tlo0eFKrJo8?t=126 and https://youtu.be/tNwexU0DmMQ?t=28
                  Last edited by Hookahhead; 11-21-2018, 18:16. Reason: Included the Yt links
                  A collection of Chunky’s Bagseeds

                  Hookahhead's Worm Farm!

                  Harvesting and Processing Neem

                  Monkey Shit (Jamaican bagseed)

                  Winogradsky Columns

                  Comment


                    #10
                    I added the word "milk" to the title to distinguish it from a neem oil extraction. The process I posted makes a Neem Milk, the same as any other nut milk such as coconut milk, almond milk, hazlenut milk, hemp milk, etc. Take my word for it, it's no where near as delicious as those are haha.

                    I admit I have no idea how the benefits of Neem milk compare to pure neem oil mixed with water. Neem milk will have proteins and carbohydrates not found in the pure oil. Please feel free to discuss the differences here in this thread.
                    A collection of Chunky’s Bagseeds

                    Hookahhead's Worm Farm!

                    Harvesting and Processing Neem

                    Monkey Shit (Jamaican bagseed)

                    Winogradsky Columns

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Very nice info here, congrats Hookahhead!

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Azadirachtin A content in water extracted neem seed


                        I finally got around to weighing the last harvest, 6.5oz! I was able to harvest another large batch of seeds today from under a different tree.

                        There is a lot of information here and elsewhere about using neem oil or neem meal, but not a lot of information on using water extracted neem seed (neem milk). So I dug a little deeper and found some good information I'd like to share. I've included only the information that pertains to water extracted neem seed. From this research, it seems that 25-75g of seed per liter of water should be effective.

                        Are traditional neem extract preparations as efficient as a commercial formulation of azadirachtin A?
                        Neem seeds contain many substances with insecticidal properties, the main insecticidal ingredient being azadirachtin A. In developing countries such as Mali, a neem seed water extract is prepared by soaking ground seeds in water for three or seven days. The aim of this study was to check the effectiveness of this extract in terms of azadirachtin A extraction yield and insecticidal activity. Azadirachtin A is known to be soluble in polar organic solvents and in water (1.29 g/L). The yield of extraction was 0.19g azadirachtin A from 100g seeds per liter of water. Thus the concentration of azadirachtin A in the seed extract was approximately 200 mg/L, eight times higher than the recommended concentration of commercial products (25 mg/L). A comparison of the extractive capacity of different solvents indicated that the best solvents were water and methanol. The azadirachtin A concentration declined in extracts stored for more than 3 days at a temperatures higher than 30 °C. Bioassays were performed on target insects (the leafhopper Macrosteles quadripunctulatus, the moth Spodoptera littoralis and the tobacco whitefly Bemisia tabaci) in order to compare the insecticidal activity of the neem extract with that of the commercial product Neemazal T/S and of a solution of pure azadirachtin A. The bioassays conducted on the leafhopper and the moth demonstrated that the neem extract at the recommended concentration (25 mg/L active ingredient) was as effective as the azadirachtin-based commercial product at the same concentration, while for the control of the whitefly B. tabaci a higher concentration of the water extract was needed.
                        https://www.sciencedirect.com/scienc...61219410003443

                        Evaluation of Neem Seed Water Extract, Biobit and Karate on Insect Abundance and Yield of Local Garden Eggplant (Solanvm Integrifolium L.)
                        Abstract:
                        The neem seed water extract (NSWE) was applied at the rate of 75 g of seed per liter of water and compared with a standard insecticide (Karate), a registered Bacillus thuringiensis Berl. (Biobit) and water only as control. The effect of each treatment on leaf, shoot and fruit damage caused by defoliators, shoot, bud, and fruit borers were determined.Karate and NSWE treatments significantly (P<0.05) reduced percentage fruit damage, number of borers per fruit and defoliation. Although NSWE could not effectively control shoot and bud borers as Karate, it performed better (P<0.05) in reducing percentage borer damage than either Biobit or control. The neem seed extract significantly (P<0.05) promoted vegetative growth than the rest of the treatments, but delayed flower initiation. Fruit yield per plant did not differ significantly (P>0.05) among Karate, NSWE and Biobit treatments. All three treatments, however, produced higher yields than the control plots with Karate-treated plots recording numerically higher yield followed by NSWE.

                        2.8.4 Efficacy of neem extracts against pests of vegetables

                        Schmutterer (1995) reported that 25 and 50 g/1 of aqueous neem seed kernel extract (ANSKE) gave 100% protection against the diamondback moth, Plutella spp. Good results against various pests of tomato plant; Helicoverpa spp., Spodoptera sp., Keiferla spp. and Liriomyzae spp. with aqueous neem seed extract concentrations 40, 50, 60 and 90 g/1 have also been achieved (Schmutterer, 1990). Redknap(1991) observed an antifeedant effect of an aqueous neem fruit extract against the flea beetles, Podagrica sjostedi and P.uniformis. Siddig (1981) recorded similar effects of neem seed and leaf water extract on P. puncticollis. According to Dreyer and Hellpap (1991), a satisfactory control of the cotton aphid (A. gossypii) was achieved when 50 g/1 of ANSE and 2% neem oil were sprayed on okra. The effects of the. treatments were equal to synthetic carbamate, butocarboxim.

                        Experiments in India confirmed the repellent effect of a 10-day interval spraying of 10 g/1 ANSE against leafhoppers (Empoasca sp.), aphids (A. gossypii) and Epilachna beetles on brinjal (eggplant)(Asari and Nair, 1972). Weekly applications of aqueous neem kernel extracts, at concentrations of 6 to 50 g/1 and neem oil at dosages of 5 and 10 g/ha, strongly reduced damage caused by the leaf-mining larvae, Scrobipalpa spp., the leafhoppers, Jacobiasca spp. the leaf roller, Phycita spp. and the leaf-eating caterpillar, Selepa docilis in local garden egg plant(Solatium aethiopicum L.) field trials (Schmutterer, 1990).
                        https://ugspace.ug.edu.gh/bitstream/...pdf;sequence=1
                        A collection of Chunky’s Bagseeds

                        Hookahhead's Worm Farm!

                        Harvesting and Processing Neem

                        Monkey Shit (Jamaican bagseed)

                        Winogradsky Columns

                        Comment


                          #13
                          This is great! thanks for sharing!! really enjoyed the pictures of your area and the trees.
                          Thai's Blooper Reel ~ just my plant pics

                          Some days you eat the bear; some days the bear...well...he eats you.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by thailer View Post
                            This is great! thanks for sharing!! really enjoyed the pictures of your area and the trees.
                            I'm glad you liked it, it's very beautiful here! I went out to collect more neem seeds today. I'll have a total on the last 2 batches in a few weeks, I should have around 500g collected I believe. I snapped a few pictures I thought were cool.


                            Neem sprouting


                            Neem seedlings, kinda look like weed


                            Neem seed germinating in a coconut
                            A collection of Chunky’s Bagseeds

                            Hookahhead's Worm Farm!

                            Harvesting and Processing Neem

                            Monkey Shit (Jamaican bagseed)

                            Winogradsky Columns

                            Comment


                              #15
                              have you considered collecting the neem leaves and using them to make compost or even leaf mold?
                              Thai's Blooper Reel ~ just my plant pics

                              Some days you eat the bear; some days the bear...well...he eats you.

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