Monday, July 15, 2013

How to (hopefully) kill nematodes naturally

Nematodes are little worms that chew up roots, reducing plant vigor and generally messing up your plans for a healthy garden.

We hates them, precious. We do!

I pulled up a row of bush beans a couple of weeks ago and found that the roots were amazingly knotted - and not with nitrogen-fixing nodules. Nope, that was nematode damage.

I've read that lots of compost will keep their populations down - yet this bed was filled with compost. Loaded with it. And still, my beans were getting chewed to bits. Don't believe me? Look at this!

Creepy. It's obvious that we have a problem here.

I've read in another place that nematodes don't like cabbage or mustard leaves tilled into the soil. I also know that wormwood kills a variety of parasitic worms.

So... I decided to make a concoction.

Look at that! What IS that?

Well, the white leaves are wormwood from my front garden. And I also shredded some collards to mix in, since I didn't have mustard or cabbage lying around.

Then I got crazy.

I added coffee, tobacco, pokeweed, pencil tree leaves, cassava leaves, habenero peppers, moringa, comfrey, dog fennel, rosemary, mint, senna alata and oregano.

That means I have caffeine, nicotine, phytolaccatoxin, toxic latex, cycanide, capsaicin, pyrrolizidine alkaloids, anthraquinone and various aromatic oils, along with a laundry list of other minor compounds.

After mixing all these things together, I covered them with water and I'm letting them rot into a toxic stew. That stew is then going on this bed.

Suck on my beans, will ya? Then suck on this!

(Of course... I have no idea if this will work. We shall see.)


At July 15, 2013 at 4:15 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

LOL looks like you're making yourself some awesome sauce! Keep us posted on whether it works . . .

At July 15, 2013 at 9:10 PM , Blogger Tina said...

Yes, let us know if it works, same problem here! I'm going to try Actinovate for nemotodes. Study for that is here > It's not as awesomely vile as your brew, but looks promising and more manageable for me to try.

Request - do you have any tips on how to kill red ants? They've invaded my garden!! :(

At July 16, 2013 at 12:26 AM , Blogger David The Good said...

If by red ants, you mean fire ants... that's a tough one. I've never successfully eliminated them. Amdro works pretty well but I don't like it anywhere near my food crops. Flooding the beds occasionally will also chase them out.

At July 16, 2013 at 12:28 AM , Blogger David The Good said...

Oh - and that stuff looks pretty good for nematodes. Let us know how it works, and I'll let you know how my NEMADEATH brew does.

At July 18, 2013 at 4:08 AM , Blogger SlowBro said...

Some ants will eat instant grits, which kills them by swelling their stomachs when moisture hits it. And some ants just ignore it. Worth a try though.

The permaculture solution would be to rent an anteater...

At August 19, 2013 at 3:29 PM , Blogger Chris Wilson said...

re: nematodes. good luck with your concoction! Most commercial growers will either solarize (with black plastic mulch) or use nematicides to keep their populations down. Better alternatives include nematode suppressing cover crops, like Sunn Hemp, or, better yet, rotate your beds with perennial grass, e.g.:


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