Thursday, May 05, 2005

Growing Moringa Part I

Growing Moringa for Personal or Commercial Use

Moringa is an ideal plant to grow indoors or in your own backyard. In fact, in the Philippines that is exactly what they do. You can pick its leaves and make it part of a delicious fresh salad, use it in one our many moringa recipes -- It goes especially well with chicken. Or you can dry the leaves to make a delicious green tea. You can also make tea with the leaf powder in a traditional coffee maker. If you have enough leaf, you can dry it and make it into moringa powder, like we do, and use it ‘s concentrated nutrition to balance your diet for increased energy and sense of well being. The possibilities are endless.

For those of you that live in the United States in the Southern and Western states, you are in luck and can grow Moringa outside. Moringa doesn’t like the cold and loses it leaves in the winter. For those of you that have a true winter, where it freezes and snows, we recommend that you plant Moringa in pots, keeping them outside in the spring and summer and bring them inside when it gets cold. A greenhouse is ideal in most areas. The plant will die if it freezes completely but it can withstand a mild frost nonetheless. Moringa loses its leaves when the average temperature drops below 70 degrees.

The 14 Species of Moringa are among the heartiest in the Fauna kingdom. The most common species are Moringa Oleifera and Moringa Stenopetala. Most research done in the areas of nutrition, water purification, livestock feed, vegetable dyes, herbal medicine and oil production are based on the Oleifera species. It is also the most plentiful. So, when we refer to Moringa we are referring to Moringa Oleifera.

Moringa grows in a variety of climates and substandard soils and it is as fast growing as it is hearty. Normal growth ranges from 3-5 meters or 10 to 16 feet per year if left uncropped. It is one of the fastest growing biomasses on the planet when properly nourished. Some varieties are known to grow 7 meters or 23 feet in one year if left unchecked. However, a fully mature Moringa tree rarely grows over 35 feet. The tree reacts very well to pruning, and therefeore can be kept at any height of preference.
In commercial growing, plantation trees are usually cropped so they don’t exceed 3-4 meters or 10 to 13 feet. Such a height allows the harvesters reasonable access and the cropping encourages horizontal growth enabling greater leaf production. In hedge plantations and for intensice leaf production, cropping can maintain the tree to 2-2.5 meters or 6 to 8 feet.

Germinating Seeds for Personal Use
There are several methods of germinating seeds. Some methods may work better depending on the microclimate. Many people have their own methods of germinating seeds so we will just tell you what we have done and what has worked for us and what has worked for growers around the world.

Moringa seeds have wings and are about the size of a large pea. Seeds don’t need sunlight in order to germinate. Here are some suggestions on germination: Soak the seeds for 24 hours; the seed will imbibe the water it needs to germinate from this procedure. Remove the seeds from the solution. Put the seeds in a plastic sandwich bag and store in a warm, dark place like a drawer or cabinet. Germination times range from 3-14 days. Do not add extra water to the bag. Check them every two days. Once the seeds have broken loose from the winged shell, you will notice two shoots protruding from the seed.
Do not let the shoots get too long and thin as they may get fragile and break when handled. One of the shoots will have some ruffled growth at the extremity; this is the shoot that contains the first leaves (cotyledons) and should be the shoot exposed to the sun.
Plant the seeds about ¾ inch beneath the soil surface with the ruffled extremity to the sun. Plant the sprouted seed(s) in a commercial band or a peat pot using a high quality potting soil. Sandy loamy soils will work well also. Use a pot that is at least 18 inches deep if this is the final home for the tree. Moringa loves the sun so make sure they get plenty.

Although the tree is drought tolerant, they may be watered daily, just don’t allow the roots to get soaked for extended periods of time. If you live in a particularly hot zone, don’t expose the baby plants to all day sun. Keep and eye on them, they will tell you if they are getting distressed from too much sun, water or lack of food.
It is a good idea to use pots to get the trees started since you have more control over the care of the tree. Critters will eat the moringa babies if they can. We recommend that you let the potted plants grow at least 8 weeks or longer before transplanting to the ground. When transplanting try not to disturb the root system at all. Like many plants the roots are very vulnerable until they are established in the ground.
If using a plastic pot, before transplanting to the ground, use a long thin blade to loosen the soil from the inside edges of the pot. Turn the band or pot upside down to allow the entire plant and soil to slide out of the container. This prevents disturbing the roots. Have a hole already dug and gently place in the hole. If you are planting more than one tree, space the plants 7-10 feet apart for optimum access to the mature tree. The tree will branch out 3-4 feet from the trunk so this spacing will allow you to walk between trees and let the sunlight to do its job. Of course if you want a wind break, just plant them all at 1 foot intervals, like they do in Africa and India. Moringa is like any plant that appreciates plant food and fertilizers and ample supply of water

Don’t forget, you can always just put the seeds in the ground or a large pot and water. We have found that Moringa is sensitive to the volume of soil in which it begins its life cycle.

Commercial Germination and Planting
If you plan on growing dozens or hundreds of trees then read the following article a world authority on Moringa, Lowell Fuglie. Mr. Fuglie is an expert and reliable source of information on the subject of growing Moringa commercially. Mr. Fuglie is executive director of the Church World Service hunger relief project in Senegal, Africa, and cultivates thousands of Moringa trees in that region.


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At July 23, 2011 at 12:00 AM, Blogger rickywillson said...

Moringa are best for health and cosmetic products. I want to start my nursery for moringa but i have no any idea of process to start nursery of moringa, it is starting of rainy season. Please recommend me.


At November 21, 2011 at 1:27 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

The Moringa impacts peoples health I have noticed lately is with fibro. These people get real healing and real relief. Zija

At February 25, 2013 at 5:11 PM, Blogger Jason "Pepe" said...

Moringa trees oleifera and stenopetala
Thank you.

At July 3, 2013 at 2:47 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Moringa is the cure for malnutrition all over the world

At July 3, 2013 at 2:48 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Moringa is the cure for malnutrition all over the world


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