A full guide to Moringa plantation, care and harvesting
The Moringa tree is a subtropical to tropical plant which survives in the climatic conditions which are warm and originated from India, Africa and other subtropical regions. Moringa are popular for their fruits and leaves which are highly nutritious. Because of their rate of growth which is fast and their medicinal purposes, Moringa are well-known additions to gardens all across the world. Moringa can be grown in the outdoor locations in the localities which are cold. By plantation of seeds or growing a Moringa tree from its cutting, you too can consume this food which is considered to be a miracle food near your home. Lets us get into details of moringa plantation in the home garden or outdoor garden.
Plantation of Moringa tree:
- You can buy the seeds of Moringa online. As they are not common plants, you may not be able to find Moringa seeds in the gardening stores of your locality. Most of the retailers online provide the seeds for sale in bulk quantities. You can buy a number of seeds which are required by you.
- If you have any leftovers, Moringa seed can be consumed once the outer shell is taken off. The seed has to be chewed in a thorough manner.
- Cutting can be planted rather than seeds if you have access to a mature Moringa tree. Moringa can be raised from a branch cut which is healthy from a mature Moringa tree. Take off a branch which is of length 3 feet and is having a diameter of 1 inch. Select a branch from the tree which is looking healthy to remove. Make use of the pruning shears to make a cut which is diagonal on the branch at both the ends. The branch has to be kept at a length of 3 feet.
- A pot which has the capability of 10 gallons has to be filled with soil up to 85 %, 5% of compost and 10% of sand. Moringa requires a potting mixture which is well-drained, else, the seeds will become waterlogged. The potting soil has to be mixed with compost and sand so that this creates a mix which is well-drained and nutritious for your Moringa seeds.
- Make use of less or more compost and sand based on the soil you are using.
- Now, you can consider planting Moringa in the pot. Moringa will not be able to thrive in winter if it drops below the temperature of 0°C, so make sure that you are keeping Moringa in pots so that you can transplant them to the indoor and outdoor locations in a soil mixture which is similar.
- If you are going with the plantation of Moringa seeds, the shell has to be removed and planted at a depth of 1 inch and at a distance of 2 inches from each other. Make use of your finger to push holes into the potting soil medium.
- If you are going with the plantation of cutting, the nodes of cutting have to be exposed and pushed to a 1/3rd of the way into a pot which has the capacity of 15 gallons. The dirt has to be packed in a tight manner by making use of your hands so that the cutting would be able to stand on its own and so the potting soil medium is firm all around it.
- The soil has to be watered by making use of a watering can until it’s damp. The soil has to be saturated, but make sure that it is not overwatered. If you see any standing water on the soil’s top, then it means that you have watered your soil too much and your soil has poor drainage. The moisture has to be checked by pushing your finger into the soil until the first knuckle.
- Watering has to be done once a week or more based on the climatic conditions of your locality so that the soil will remain damp.
- The Moringa which are grown from seeds have to be transplanted when they reach the size of 6 to 8 inches. When you see that your Moringa have reached this size, they will start competing with each other to obtain resources from the soil and will be required to move to individual pots. Gently, make use of a transplanting tool or a ruler for loosening the soil around each of the seedlings. The root system has to be lifted and placed into the pot in a careful manner.
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Care and maintenance of your Moringa tree:
- Your Moringa has to be kept in an indoor or outdoor location which is sunny. For the growth of a strong and healthy Moringa tree, it will require around 6 hours of direct sun. Moringa trees are the trees which grow well in tropical climatic conditions, so they require the maximum sunlight you can give. Keep them in a location which gets full sun all across the day.
- Your Moringa has to be watered once a week. Though Moringa are tolerant to drought, they should still be watered on a weekly basis at the time of establishment. Keep your finger into the soil up to your second knuckle. It you feel that the soil is dry, water it. Make sure that you are not overwatering the soil. If you do so, the roots will become waterlogged leading to the development of rot.
- If there is any rain during the week, your Moringa will get sufficient water for the entire week.
- Make use of the pruning shears to cut back the Moringa trees. When you see that your Moringa trees have started growing, they will grow very quickly in the time of one year. Once the Moringa trees reach a height of 10 feet, you will have to cut them back so that they are at your desired height. The branches which you remove can be made dry and propagated for the plantation of another tree.
- The Moringa have to be stored in the indoor locations when the climatic conditions are below freezing. If you are residing in a locality where the climatic conditions are temperate, you will have to store your tree in the indoor locations or you can also consider growing Moringa in a greenhouse at the time of winter. Moringa are prone to the frost and will not be able to thrive through the winter.
- Moringa will be able to grow to a height of 6 feet in the time span of an year, so you will have to plan as per the available space you have.
- You can restart Moringa every year by making use of the cuttings which are taken from the last season.
- The seed pods have to be harvested when they reach a diameter of ½ inch. The seed pods which are also called as drum sticks can be pulled and you can make use of them in recipes. If you wait until they get ripened, the inner part may have a consistency which is stringy and is not that desirable.
- The seed pods have to be boiled until they become soft and you can squeeze the inner flesh out. The outer part of the part is not edible as it is fibrous.
- The leaves of Moringa have to be pulled when the tree reached the height of 3 feet. The leaves of Moringa are considered a super food and as you keep pulling the leaves whenever required, the branches will grow strong enough and will not break.
- The Moringa leaves can be steeped to make herbal teas or you can also add them to salads or smoothies to add some amount of nutrients.
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Facts about Moringa plantation:
- At the time of its first year, a Moringa tree will be growing to a height of 5 meters and will produce fruits and flowers. If you leave it alone, it will be able to reach a height of 12 inches with a trunk which would have a width of at least 30 cm. However, you can cut back the tree annually to 1 meter from the ground.
- Based on the location you reside, you will be able to decide to grow the trees of Moringa in the outdoor locations in the ground, in a pot to keep in the indoor locations in the months of winter and then they can be transplanted to outdoor locations at the time of summer or in a pot on a permanent basis. There is no dormancy period for seeds of Moringa, so you can plant the seeds which are matured at any time.
- Moringa tree, though it looks a bit delicate but if given proper care, it would be able to survive up to 20 to 25 years. It is good if its branches which are long are kept cut, above 5 to 7 feet from the ground in every three years, so new branches will be able to come out from the ground. This tree will need moderate water but a lot of sunlight.
- Moringa tree will produce large capsules which are elongated and each of these will contain many numbers of seeds. Moringa Oleifera has been grown from the ancient times and is now grown widely and naturalised across the tropical and subtropical regions. This species is considered as potentially or moderately invasive in the tropical regions across the world.
- If you have a Moringa plant which has yellow leaves, the soil in the container has to be checked to find if the soil is dry. Moreover, overwatering may also cause yellowing to your leaves as well. If you find that the soil is too wet when you touch it with your fingers, then it means that you are watering the plant too much.
That’s all folks about moringa plantation and care. Keep growing this wonderful vegetable in the home garden.
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