Friday, September 23, 2016

Tips to Keeping Your Moringa and Neem Trees Safe From Fur Babies and Bugs.

Fall is here and temperatures here in TN are down to the low 50's at night.  The hummingbirds are gone a month early so I feel that is a sign of an early winter.  I decided it was time to bring my Neem and Moringa trees in the house and get them situated.  I wanted also to try out the new grow lights on the plants. The lights had almost 1000 comments, most of them great. One thing I learned from the comments is placing the lights too close can damage them. Even thought these do not put out heat, it still can be an issue. Directions come in the bulbs. We will see how these grow lights affect the Neem seedlings which seem to be stuck in growth. These will not run up your light bill, they are 12 Watt LED lights designed for plant growth.

Last year did not go well with the trees in the back room. Even with the heater on, they did not thrive nor survive.  I had them in the back room to keep our cats, especially one of ours, from eating the trees.  He ate several babies last year down to the ground.  I did not grow a lot of trees this year because they all have to come back into the house for the winter months. I lost the big ones I had during the winter.  I put them out on the porch in the sun, forgot them, it rained and they got really soaked. They never did dry out properly after that.  Will grow more next year. This year with bringing his dad back to live with us, I wanted less work to do. Now that things have smoothed out, I can do more outside and with the trees.

I am posting pictures today of the kitchen set up and I want you to look at it carefully on why I arranged things the way I did. So far its been two weeks and all the plants have survived our cats. We have one who is really bad about eating things he shouldn't. That is Smokey, the cat in front.

Picture #1 shows their placement in the kitchen.  The kitchen window on the right has several lanterns on the windowsill?   That is to keep the cats from walking the windowsill edge to jump into the pots.  My juicer is sitting on the edge of the sink to make it harder for him to reach the other windowsill. I use it there anyway 

1st  picture of their new home for the winter in the kitchen. One Moringa is 4 feet and the rest are smaller.
The 20 gal containers are put up on small metal patio tables to make it harder for them to get into the containers.  

 Product Details
The plastic plant drain tray underneath was purchased from Amazon to catch any water drainage. They are very heavy duty and sturdy.  They run around $15-20 dollars a piece, often on sale.  The plant in the middle is located in the middle of the freezer area and the end of our sink.  This is again to make it harder for them to jump into.   

The plants are between the two best windows in the kitchen. I have the curtains pulled back to let in more light.  Picture #5 shows the new grow light we bought with led lights. Uses very little electricity and gives a beautiful glow to the kitchen corner.  Anyone could see by looking in the window, we are NOT growing anything illegal.   The light was $20 bucks on sale on Amazon. They are guaranteed to last a year.  The light needs to be on 12 hours a day to do the job.

Grow light over plants #5 You can see the one tall Moringa is this picture. I took all its leaves off due to a spider mite infestation outside.  It is just now growing back more leaves and branches.
Keeping the cats from invading the plant soil and eating your plants is a challenge.  I use wooden barbecue skewers with the point up.  It has worked so far. Does not feel good on cat paws or chins.The largest tree here is the Neem on the left.  It does not taste good so the cats are not prone to eating that. It still has the sticks in it to keep them from using it as a toilet.  

#3 barbecue wooden skewers from the Dollar Store. These little trees are still struggling with several finally breaking out and growing more. These are seedlings that got frozen on the way over here. I have refused to give up on them. I am hoping the grow lights make the difference in getting them moving.

The white powder in the bottom of the containers is Food Grade Diatomaceous earth which will keep the gnats and flies from breeding in the soil.  All these plants don't need much water so that helps. The DE does not work well when wet.  They will need very little water inside.   Don't bring the plant containers in soaked. Let them dry out outside before bringing them indoors. They will not dry out and root rot will kill the trees. 

DE will not hurt any of the animals if they ate it or got their paws in it. It is only kills insects and spiders. Put the DE immediately over the soil after bringing the plant inside. Watch for spider mite infestation.  I am going to spray them them C. Silver not that I am making my own. That will be a good test for it this winter.

This is top of the tallest one. It is just now growing back leaves.

All these Neem trees were from the same batch...only two really took off.  They do grow slowly over the first two years without a greenhouse.

#3 Neem tree almost 4 feet high

#4 Neem plant growing back after leaves were pulled off due to a problem. It seems to love the grow light. I had it out on the porch and it was not doing much out there. See the little branches breaking out of the stem.


Hope this gives you some ideas for saving your plants from your cats.   


You can also use bird netting but it is so hard to work with and the cats can get it stuck on them and in their paws. Please visit my published articles at The Alternative Medicine-Moringa Article Directory HERE

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