Horseradish, drumstick, miracle, ben oil tree all refer to the Moringa Oleifera plant. It a resistant, fast-growing tree native to Northern India. Today it is common in the tropical regions of Africa, Latin America, and Asia. It is sometimes referred to as the tree of life because of its health benefits. Its leaves and fruit pods, and seeds are highly nutritious.
The plant is rich in healthful compounds like vitamins, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, and zinc. It has low-fat content, and it does not contain any harmful content.The following are the plant's benefits ranging from health and beauty.
These and many more health benefits give you enough reasons to plant this tree. Growing Moringa is very easy because it is a drought-resistant plant, fast-growing with a unique root system. For improved growth, ensure you take care of the tree. Growing a Moringa tree involves two phases that are planting and care.
Moringa Tree Planting
It should not be done in colder months. Spring is the best time to plant. Beautify and increase the aroma and fragrance of your garden with a Moringa tree using any of the following methods.
Grow from the Seeds
If you choose to grow your tree from seeds, you have two options, increase in the ground or plastic bags. The sources do not have a dormancy period and can be planted immediately upon maturity.
Growing in Plastic Bags
You can use this option where it is not possible to plant directly in the ground. Bags are also used when you are preparing seedlings for transplanting after around 4 to 6 months. You can follow this simple procedure.
Growing in the ground
This involves planting the seeds directly on the ground where you intend the tree to grow long-term with no intention of transplanting. If you choose to use this option, the following steps will help you.
Growing from a Cutting
At some point in the tree growth cycle, they will stop producing fruits. To enable a fresh cut, you can cut the old branches. Instead of throwing away these branches, you can plant them because they have excellent growing abilities. If this is your option, you can follow these steps.
How To Harvest Mint
Growing Moringa is more than just planting the tree. You need to be keen on its preferences and favorable conditions. To grow healthy Moringa, you need to undertake the following care procedures.
Sun and Temperature Requirement
To grow a healthy and robust Moringa, ensure six hours of direct sunlight. The tree requires maximum sunlight that you can provide as they are from the tropical climate. Ensure they are in an area with enough sunlight all day long. Although the tree can tolerate light frost, the weather conditions should be warm, especially in the daytime. It should not be planted during cold winters.
Watering and Humidity
While still establishing they have not developed drought resistance properties, the trees should therefore be watered consistently. You can dip your fingers up to the second knuckle to feel the soil. If dry, water. Water deeply once a week and avoid shallow watering.
Be keen not to overwater. You can use a soaker horse for gradual water that will ensure moisture good hydration levels are maintained. When it is raining, do not water the plant but increase watering frequency as heat increases. Saplings should be watered 2 to 3 days a week as they need more moisture for solid development.
They prefer loose sandy or loamy soils as they provide favorable conditions for rot development in the ground. This type of soil will also ensure proper drainage avoiding water clogging. It is preferable to use loose, loamy soils even though the trees can grow in poor soils.
For improved growth and robust development, enrich the soil with compost or manure every other time. You can spread a layer of 2-3ft layer of manure or compost at the tree base. Slightly acidic or neutral soils with PH levels of around 6.5-7.5 are the best for Moringa trees.
You do not need to use a different fertilizer if you use the 3ft layer of compost manure around the tree base. You can either use cow or horse manure. If you are not applying compost or manure, the tree will still grow and perform.
It finds nutritious underground materials to feed on as its roots grow more profound in the ground. You can apply for slow-release all-purpose granular fertilizer once a year to the tree to provide it with increased nutrients.
This is a necessity. To cut back the trees, use pruning shears or a sturdy pair of loppers. This procedure is essential because when Moringas start growing, they do so rapidly. Once they reach 8 to 10 feet, prune them to your desired level.
This procedure opens up the canopy and prevents the branches from crisscrossing because the trees grow like wildfire. It ensures the development of healthy leaves and stems. This process allows you to remove damaged branches. You can then use the cut-back branches to propagate and plant new Moringas.
If you do not prune on time, the tree will rapidly grow to undesirable heights, making pruning complicated. The best time to prune is when flowering has occurred to enjoy the beautiful and colorful blooms.
This can be done in several ways, for example, through seeds, seedlings, and cuttings from pruning. When using seeds, you should soak them for a few days before planting. You can then plant the soaked seeds to where you desire them to grow in the long term or in pots and plastic bags, after which you can transplant them somewhere else.
If you are using cuttings, ensure you select the healthy branches. The journey of growth of Moringas starts with planting. You need to ensure that planting is done to promote the development of solid and healthy Moringas.
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Harvesting and Storing
These are essential processes in the growth and care of Moringas.
The best and easiest way to the Moringa leaves pruning as it allows fresh and healthy leaves to grow. You can use the harvested leaves to make Moringa powder; even so, you will require many leaves. You can also use these leaves for fresh salads or as green vegetables. If for this use, make sure you use clean and sterilized pruning shears.
After harvesting the leaves and the branches, wash them thoroughly. It is advisable to clean them with a saline solution and then rinse well. You can then tie the stalks at their base together and place them somewhere to dry for only a few days. Quickly pull the leaves from the branches as they dry.
When the Moringa pods are about six inches in length, you can harvest them for fresh eating. At this stage, both the pods and the seeds are edible as they are young, underdeveloped, and immature. You can also cook them as string beans.
Upon maturity of the pods, they can be harvested, but they are not edible at this stage. The seeds are used to extract Moringa oil through pressing. When removed from the pods and rinsed well, the grains can be cooked and eaten as fresh beans and peas.
You can also harvest dried pods and cook them as if they were dry beans. This is once the seeds have been removed and blanched.
You can store fresh leaves in a refrigerator for a week. The leaves will also remain as new as when they were harvested if you leave them on the stems and set the branches in the water. Daily, change the water in the glass and only peel the leaves from the stems when you want to use them.
If you crush the dried leaves into powder, it can be stored for a year as long it is kept dry. The powder should then be kept in an airtight container with a moisture-absorbing packet. To prevent the powder from losing its flavor, you should keep the container in a dark place. You can freeze young pods as long as they 6 inches or smaller.
Once defrosted, you can cook then as you usually cook green beans. Moringa seeds can last almost forever if you have entirely dried them. If you introduced even the slightest moisture, the kernel would sprout. You should therefore keep them in a dry and dark place.
Growing Problems you may Encounter
Excess watering is a common danger in growing Moringa. Excess water leads to soggy and heavy soils that promote the rotting of roots. If roots begin to rot, the tree’s overall health will be affected.
Different pest species are a problem for Moringas. Armyworms, caterpillars, and cutworms destroy the tree at a young age. You can spray bacillus thurigiencis on the tree to eliminate this species of distrustful pests.
Stem borers such as the adult bee are another problem. It lays eggs on healthy twigs, and once it hatches, the larva bores holes into the stem and destroys the center. The twig will die when the leaves turn yellow. Regular pruning eliminates the problem. Remove the infected twigs and destroy them.
Aphids will suck sap from leaves. Regular spraying with neem or horticultural oil eliminates this threat. Fruit flies often attack flowers and seed pods. To prevent things, you should keep the tree area free of debris and harvest young pods so that they will have nowhere to stick.
Termites can also become an issue but to a limited extent. To reduce the damage, kill off the burrowing pests. If the damage is severe, you may not be able to save the tree.
Fruit, twig, or root rots are common in Moringas. Due to the depth of root growth, root rot, in most cases, is untreatable. You should be careful when watering to prevent it since overwatering is the leading cause.
Copper-based fungicides can be used to treat twig and fruit rot. The trunk and branches are prone to canker. You can treat this by reducing bacterial spread. You can also remove damaged and dead limbs and having heavy pruning during rainy seasons.
Nearly every part of this tree is edible. They adapt well to growing in other regions even though they are accustomed to the tropical and subtropical areas. Because of its excellent nutrient content and excellent health and beauty benefits, the tree is commonly referred to as the Moringa Miracle tree or the tree of life.
For this reason, health organizations are planting this tree in underdeveloped countries to provide nutrients to the people and medicinal properties. For strong and healthy Moringa, ensure enough sunlight, moisture, and water. With this guide, the journey of growing and taking care of your Moringa is made easy. Plant your Moringa today and join the rest of the world in enjoying the many benefits.