Castor Beans for Mole and Gopher Control?

Castor Beans for Mole and Gopher Control?

We sell a lot of castor beans.  We don't really ever get to see what our customer does with them, but we assume most are planted for mole or gopher control based off the toxicity the plant produces that keep unwanted critters away from your lawn or garden.. Anyway, this is the story we are telling... Is it true?  What do we know about these poisonous little beans?


Castor Bean The Plant
The castor plant is a common woody herb that has been planted as an ornamental and a mole repellent. It can reach 15 feet tall and carries unremarkable flowers that may be pink or red. The leaves are made of eight radiating leaflets with serrated edges and attractive veining. The fruits are interesting spined orbs that contain mottled seeds. The castor plant is native to Africa and is intolerant of cold temperatures. Castor oil is the product harvested from pressed seeds and is used primarily as a lubricant. The seed cake remaining after the oil is pressed is used as animal fodder, but must be boiled or heated to inactivate the toxins.

Repellent Properties of castor beans?
Castor beans contain ricin, which is a deadly poison. Just a couple of seeds can kill an adult human. There are several other toxic chemicals, but the ricin is the most dangerous. Fortunately, all the toxins in the bean remain in the seed cake after pressing, so the oil is pure and safe for ingestion. The oil tastes terrible, however, so it has been used as a spray to repel moles. The beans also taste nasty so they can be a good repellent, and they could kill the mole if ingested. The castor plant has a rather unpleasant odor and it has been used as a repellent when planted around mole infested areas. The castor beans can be a dangerous item to have around and care should be taken that children and pets have no access to this poisonous seed.

How do we Use Castor Beans
Castor beans can be crushed and put into a mole hill, but even handling the beans can be dangerous. The easiest use of the bean is to administer its oil. Many of the commercial mole repellents on the market contain up to 66 percent castor oil. With its noxious taste and laxative properties, it can be an effective deterrent. It can be sprayed with a hose attached sprayer and as little as 1 oz. of many of the castor oil infused treatments will treat 300 square feet of turf. Re-application should be done every 20 to 30 days to keep the ground saturated enough to avoid reinfestation.

Tell us your story?  What are you doing with them and how are they working? We sell other natural products such as Repellex that naturally keeps the vermin away, but they are much more expensive then a handful of cheap beans... Let us know what is happening and how your doing with natural repellents.

We truly appreciate your business and want your feedback.

Planting butterfly Milkweed Seed

Planting butterfly Milkweed Seed

Here are some things to keep in mind for the best success with milkweed seed establishment from The Dirty Gardener

Fall is the best time to plant them. Make a one-inch indent into the soil, add one or two seeds and cover lightly. Let Mother Nature do the rest.

Seeds and plants should be planted in full sun to partial shade (3-4 hours of sun).
Seeds collected in the fall can be planted right away.

Seeds saved over the winter will need a cold treatment unless they have been kept in cold storage (garage or outside building) or collected from pods that wintered outdoors.

Leave them in the refrigerator for 6-8 weeks before planting them.
Plant them in ordinary garden soil.

Seeds should not be planted more than 1 inch deep. Press down soil after planting.
Water the first year.

Do not use any pesticides.

There is a lot of talk about the need to vernalize these seeds to get them to “shock” into growing.

Basically in a cool garage or the fridge for a month or month and a half should do the trick in our experience.

Best of luck.

The Dirty Gardener

How to keep your strawberries safe from Pests that eat them; naturally?

How to keep your strawberries safe from Pests that eat them; naturally?

Paint rocks to look like the berries... It's brilliant, beautiful and organic.

It keeps the animals that would otherwise eat your the berries at bay.  Ring the plants with these beautiful decorative rocks.


Don't eat the rocks...

How do you get tree seeds to Germinate?

How do you get tree seeds to Germinate?
What Stops tree Seeds From Germinating?

There are a number of important reasons a seed refuses to germinate under artificial conditions. Two major causes for unsuccessful tree seed germination are hard seed coats and dormant seed embryos. Both conditions are species specific and every tree species has to subject the seeds to unique conditions to assure germination. Treating the seed properly is necessary before germination occurs and a seedling can be assured.

Seed scarification and stratification are the most common methods of seed treatment and they will increase the chances of seed or nut germination.

Scarification and Stratification

Scarification - The hard protective coating on some tree seed is nature's way of protecting the seed.

Pull the seeds from a cone and rub them gently between your fingers to remove the wings.

Soak the seeds in water for 24 hours. After soaking, put them on a folded paper towel and allow them to dry for an additional 24 hours.
Put the seeds in a zip-top plastic bag that has three times as much space for air as that occupied by the seeds. Don't include any dirt, fertilizer or other supporting medium in the bag.
Seal the bag and put it in the refrigerator for at least four weeks prior to planting.
Fill small containers that are at least 6 inches deep to the top with coarse potting soil. Use a pencil to make depressions that are 2 to 3 inches deep. Drop two seeds into each hole and cover them with potting soil.
Water the soil enough to keep it moist but not soggy and add fertilizer that has a little or no nitrogen. Keep the trays in an indoor environment in which the temperature remains at 70 degrees Fahrenheit during the day, for four to six weeks, then thin seedlings to one per container.

How to grow Flowers from Seed From The Dirty Gardener

How to grow Flowers from Seed From The Dirty Gardener
How to Grow Flowers from Seeds
We all get how mother nature can do this but sometimes the "spread it and forget it" method does not work with flower seeds.
1- When To Plant is important as where.

It is a pleasant surprise for many gardeners to learn that flower seeds can be successfully installed  various times throughout the growing season. Spring is the most common and conventional time of the year to sow flower seeds; successful results can also be achieved by planting in summer and fall as well. This seasonal versatility is a great advantage to the flower gardener and makes it a worthwhile.

Spring Planting: For most temperate regions of the United States, spring planting is best carried out within a month or so after the final frost of the winter season. The exact date will naturally vary based on your region and the severity of the winter season. The important thing is to not ‘jump the gun” and plant too early; if seeds are installed prior to a late-season frost, they will be lost for the season and will need to be re-seeded.

Summer Planting: Summer planting is advisable for cooler areas where temperatures don’t hover at 80 degrees or more for long periods of time.

Fall Planting:Though it may seem unusual to plant flower seeds in fall, it is actually the preferred time of year for many seasoned wildflower gardeners. The main benefit: a jump-start in bloom the following spring! However, if you do decide to plant your seeds in the fall, the trick is to do so after the first killing frost of the season.

2- Site Selection can be huge

It may sound obvious enough, but choosing the most advantageous site on your property is a very important determinant in the eventual success of your flower garden. The most important factors to consider in this regard are the amount of average daily sunlight, the relative quality of the soil, and the accessibility to a water source like a hose or a sprinkler.   (recap, water and sun)

Though many flowers do tolerate some filtered shade – and a few actually thrive in it - the vast majority are definitely sun-lovers and will likely demonstrate the strongest bloom where exposure is greatest. Therefore, the general rule of thumb when considering the optimum planting site on your property is “the more sun the better”. This naturally means that areas with little or no tree coverage and as little obstruction from any structure such as a house, garage, or barn are best. (make sure you check out all the choices we have or contact us and we will custom mix for your needs).

Lastly, when choosing the best site for your seed installation, the availability of a steady watering source is helpful, but not usually necessary. In most regions and during most seasons, natural rainfall will be sufficient to provide the water necessary for a successful bloom. However, if you live in a particularly arid region, are planting during drier months, or are simply experiencing prolonged drought, it will definitely be to your advantage to water your site every other day or so for the first few weeks after planting until root growth is established.  We have many drought tolerant flower mixes.

3- Prep the Site for success!

This is an absolutely vital step in the installation of any successful flower seed project. Though it may sound tempting to randomly cast your seeds into thin air and hope they will sprout, it is simply a waste of time and money to do so on a site that has not been properly prepared for planting. Though many flower seeds are tenacious by nature – others are delicate and need pampering. Therefore, the best rule of thumb is to always remove as much unwanted debris from the site as possible before planting.

There are many ways to effectively remove existing growth and cultivate your soil, and the size of the site will typically be the deciding factor in which method is ultimately chosen. For smaller sites, a rake, hoe, or shovel is often sufficient to do the trick of removing unwanted grass, weeds, etc., while for larger sites, a roto-tiller is often the preferred method. Regardless of what tool or machine is used, the important thing to remember is that the more growth that can be removed, and the more the soil can be loosened, the better the environment for which your seeds to ultimately thrive. The bottom line is: work the soil as best you can, but don’t panic when some weeds sprout along with the flowers!

4- Time to Plant them seeds!

So now you’ve got some sweat on your brow and you’re ready to plant! There are many effective installation techniques, but again, the size of the project will probably determine which makes the most sense for you. The two methods that are probably most advisable for the home-owner are 1)  hand-broadcast method (for smaller jobs), and 2) the use of a rotary or “cyclone” seeder (for larger jobs). This involves simply scattering the seed evenly over the site by hand, while the latter accomplishes the same results through the use a hand-cranked spreader that can be purchased relatively cheaply at any garden center.

Regardless of which sowing method you choose, we strongly recommend mixing your seed with regular “sand box” sand at a ratio of about 5 parts (sand) to 1 part (seed). This allows for a more even distribution and also provides a convenient way to mark which portions of the site have been seeded and which have not. This is not a required method for a successful planting, but most will find it a simple, affordable, and practical step.  Our seeds don't contain any filler so lets not waste them!

After sowing, we recommend that you lightly compress your seeds into the soil – no more than a ½ inch - so as to protect them from birds, wind disbursement, etc. The key here is to compress them, but not bury them. If the site is of a manageable size, you can accomplish this by simply walking over the portion that’s just been seeded, or if it’s a larger area, you might want to use a standard seed roller; often used when planting grass seed.

This was not too hard was it? Now, you’re finished! It’s time to kick back and watch the “seeds” of your labor take root!

Benefit of Lawns for the Environment.

Benefit of Lawns for the Environment.

Lawns can get a pretty bad rap, but a properly maintained lawn has numerous environmental benefits. Put the bad chemicals and synthetic fertilizer away and you get: dust, noise, pollution absorption. It generates oxygen and absorbs carbon dioxide. It controls erosion. It cleans groundwater. It retards fire and acts as a buffer. But what we really love is walking on it barefoot in the summer!


#lawn #grass #lovesgrass #seeds #turf #ecolawns

Get your garden ready in 30 days?

Get your garden ready in 30 days?

Yes, you should get your garden ready in March.... rain or shine.


Spring vegetable gardening brings unpredictable weather, probably the busiest season for a gardener and harvesting your first pick of lettuce, radishes and beans.

March is the time to prepare your garden dirt, finalizing your garden layout, get your seedlings started and start direct seeding and transplanting your vegetables.

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