No need to start salivating, neem cake won’t be on the dinner table anytime soon. Though you might be disappointed to learn that neem and karanja cake aren’t actually tasty pastries. Although, there are plenty of other benefits of these plant-based substances that make them worth using in your garden.
Though neem and karanja oil are well known for being a useful natural pest management alternative for gardening, few people seem to appreciate the benefits that the cake or meal version of these same substances contain. That’s unfortunate, because this under-appreciated garden amendment is one of the top natural fertilizers around. Plus, just a little bit crumbled into your soil is sure to make a big difference for your plants.
What is Neem/ Karanja Cake?
Though there are more similarities than differences between neem and karanja cake, a few key details set these two garden amendments apart.
Though native to India, neem trees have long been celebrated as a natural soil enhancer. Thus, causing them to be planted throughout southeast Asia and into tropical regions around the world. In fact, Indian agriculture has historically been so dependent on the benefits of the neem tree that it is referred to as ‘the curer of all ailments’ in ancient scripts.
Much of the neem tree, from the leaves to the bark and seeds, can be used as both an organic fertilizer and pesticide to increase gardening yields.
Karanja trees also grow in India and their legacy as a useful agricultural crop is similar to neem trees. In that, they have been used as a natural way to improve soil for hundreds of years. Karanja trees are also often used as a bio-diesel source in parts of India.
Like neem oil, karanja oil has an excellent macronutrient profile and is a smart way to enrich the soil of your garden. With a milder aroma than neem oil, karanja plants are often described as smelling and tasting nutty. Additionally, karanja oil tends to be used more in products like soaps and shampoos than neem oil.
More Similarities Than Differences
In most ways, neem and karanja provide the exact same benefits when used agriculturally.
Because the two substances are so similar, they are often used interchangeably in farms and gardens. In fact, much of the neem or karanja cake are actually sold as a blend of the two substances.
For clarity in the rest of this article, just the term ‘neem’ will be used to refer to cake that might contain one or both substances.