What are Nematodes?
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.
So How Do I Kill Nematodes?
Well… let’s see.
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 (a worm killer – nematodes are worms, remember?) 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 let them rot into a toxic stew for a few days in the sun… then poured it into my bed. That would kill us and I’m betting it kills nematodes too.
Suck on my beans, will ya? Then suck on this!
UPDATE: Since applying this awesome nematode killing stew to that bed, I seem to have had less nematode trouble. We need a lab to test it!