Moringa Cultivation

moringa flower

Moringa Cultivation

In moringa cultivation, seeds or cuttings are used for planting tree or for oil extraction. Tree plantations may be raised for leaves or seed production. You have to select one variety, which can withstand climatic extremities, if the plantation is in cold countries. Moringa oleifera is a subtropical tree that is now grown in other cold climatic regions. Research studies have proved that moringa oleifera PKM1 variety trees grow in different countries. They are grown in pots also under optimum weather conditions. You can soak seeds in water overnight to hasten germination. Then wrap them in damp cloth and keep undisturbed. Within 2 days, these seeds will start to sprout.


Moringa cultivation for seeds

Moringa seeds of PKM1 variety can withstand cold climates also. You can make the soil to be well drained. It grows best in neutral or slightly acidic pH 6. Young tree will perish due to continuous frost. When ground becomes frozen, moringa tree gets affected. In moringa farms of cold regions, heat emitting bulbs are used. Young saplings are protected by keeping them in a green house. Saplings may be protected from heavy winds as these trees will have soft stem. During frost, these trees should be mulched carefully. Trees will send new shoots during spring, when temperature is above 70’F.

Pruning is important as dense bushy tree will give good leaves and fruits yield. You can maintain the tree height at 2-3 meters as it gives easy access to leaves and pods during harvest. You can cut dead and worn out branches every 6 months and prune the trees to 1 meter from ground level. This is known as ratooning that can improve leaves and fruits yield. Pruning helps moringa trees to give out branches to have bushy growth. Once the trees have stopped producing fruits branches have to be cut off and these branches are excellent for growing new trees.

Moringa seed plantation

You can make a cutting of 2.5 cm in diameter and 1.8 meter long. Dig a hole 1mx1mx1m deep and keep it well-drained. You can fill hole with a mixture of 3 parts sand and one part compost. All manure should be placed around tree root. Ensure that manure is not in direct contact with tree root portion. Sprinkle with mulch to maintain moisture near the root. Water them but do not allow excess water to collect around the root. It is best to use organic fertilizers such as neem cake or cow dung to get high yield of seeds.

Depending on the variety of the tree, this plant can give two leaf harvests that range from 400 – 500g yield. First harvest yield of leaves and young shoots is proportionate with plant density. When you have a hectare with 50,616 moringa trees, you can get yield of 50,616kg of dry leaf powder per year.

moringa pinchingAfter plantation, this tree bears flowers and you can get yield within 8-9 months. You can get production twice in a year. Each tree can yield 200-350 sticks for 4-5 years. Fruit pods also have good demand for seeds production and are used in culinary applications. This tree can grow upto 8-9meter height and its trunk will be 30cm wide. A mature tree can produce upto 1,600 pods annually.

Soak the seeds overnight before planting. Crack the shells before planting. Remove shells and use kernels only. When you use cuttings, select 45cm -1.5 meter length and 10 cm thickness cuttings. They can be planted directly or planted in sacks in the nursery. It is advisable to plant one third of the length in the ground. Plant this tree every 3 meters apart in rows. While a space of 10 meters between rows is allowed during alley cropping. For intercropping, sunflower, maize and other field crops may be used. Sunflower is most suitable as it can control weed growth.

You may pinch terminal growing tip of this tree approximately 10 cm from its top portions. This should be done manually to strengthen tree trunk and promote bushy growth. This pinching is repeated 4 times before the flowers blossom. If pinching is missing, the tree has a tendency to shoot vertically and grow tall, giving flowers and fruit only at the top. You may allow only 4-5 strong branches to grow for easy access and good yield during harvest. With this type of pinching, moringa tree shows improved leaves and fruit yield. You must harvest the mature seeds before they split open otherwise seeds may fall to the ground.