What Is Moringa
Moringa is a tree that is grown for food, it’s said to *prevent malnutrition and starvation* in some of the most impoverished places of the earth. It has only recently become known here in the United States, and because of its wonderful abilities to *prevent malnutrition and starvation*, along with its high nutrient profile has taken on the title of Superfood. Before we learn how to grow moringa, let’s learn a little more about it.
13 Moringa Species
There are a 13 Moringa species in the family of Moringaceae throughout the earth, that we know of. They include; Moringa arborea, Moringa borziana, Moringa concanensis, Moringa drouhardii, Moringa hildebrandtii, Moringa longituba, Moringa oleifera, Moringa ovalifolia, Moringa peregrina, Moringa pygmaea, Moringa rivae, Moringa ruspoliana and Moringa stenopetala.
Most Widely Cultivated
Of these 13, Moringa oleifera is the most common, widely known, and easiest to find, and is the species of Moringa that I grow and know about.
The Many Common Names Of Moringa
Moringa is known by many different names, in English Moringa is known as… Drumstick Tree, Miracle Tree, Ben Oil Tree, Horseradish Tree and Never Die Tree.
In the Philippines Moringa is called, Malunggay, Marungay or Kamunggay depending on the language you speak. In China it’s called either La mu or Lat mok.
Moringa has over 100 different names depending on what part of the country you live in, and the language you speak. Some of these names are; Dandalun, Munagachettu, Mushinga, Saragvo, Marango and Noorggaee to mention just a few.
Where Does Moringa Come From
Moringa is native to the foothills of the Himalayas in northwestern India and is cultivated throughout the tropics and subtropics in places such as; Mexico, Central America, Belize, Costa Rica, Colombia, Ecuador, Perú, Bolivia, Venezuela, Africa and the Philippines.
Benefits Of Moringa
New foods in the diet can sometimes interact with medicines or other items in your diet. Speak with your physician before consuming moringa. See disclaimer.
Moringa is one of the few plans that contain all the essential amino acids, forming a complete protein that you would normally only get from animal foods.
Moringa is very high in many vitamins and minerals, when compared to other foods that are known for a certain vitamin or mineral, Moringa usually surpasses them. For example, Moringa is said to have 7 times the vitamin C as Oranges, 4 times the vitamin A as Carrots, and twice the protein as Yogurt.
All parts of the Moringa tree are edible, the leaves and seeds for food, and the roots and bark for medicine. The seeds are very oily and contain an oil similar to Olive Oil.
How I Use Moringa
I should say how my husband uses Moringa, he uses it every day. He uses the dried leaves to make tea, and the ground dry leaves in his oatmeal. Moringa can be eaten dry or fresh. The leaves can be frozen, fresh, or dehydrated to store on shelves.
How To Grow Moringa
Moringa is very easy to grow if you have the right growing conditions. Moringa loves hot dry climates, but don’t let that fool you into thinking that they don’t need water, because they will die if they don’t get enough water or nutrients for the matter.
Much of the information online about growing Moringa says that they don’t need to be watered or fertilized, but I can tell you from experience that they do, they may not need as much as other growing things but they do need enough…
The more you water and food your Moringa has access to, the bigger and faster they will grow….
Moringa thrive in the 70-90 degree temperature range, but do ok with hotter and cooler but will die if the root freezes.
There are at least three ways that I know of to grow Moringa in the Garden, there are probably more, can you think of any?
- As Trees
- Intensively In Beds
- In Landscape As Shrubs
When you grow Moringa as a tree, you let it get big, if given enough water and nutrients, Moringa can grow up to 15 feet in one season. Needless to say over time Moringa trees can grow very tall, making it hard to access the leaves and seed pods, when left on its own to grow. That is why it’s important to consider pruning them to a reasonable height and keeping them there throughout their lives, to make reaching leaves and seeds easier.
Growing Moringa Intensively In Beds
Many people in third world countries are being taught to grow one tree for seeds, and several intensive beds for leaves. Intensive beds are how I like to grow Moringa, I plant up to 50 seeds in a 4×8 bed and prune them back to one foot every time they grow out to 3 or 4 feet high. Growing in beds this way is great for growing Moringa leaves, but they will never produce seeds, because of the constant pruning. That is why many are being taught to grow one tree for seeds, and several beds for leaves…
If you have limited growing space you can grow Moringa trees in your landscape as a shrub. All you have to do it plant the area you want your shrub to grow with lots of Moringa seeds and when they get to your desired height keep them pruned. The trick is to grow many Moringa trees in a small space and keep them pruned back.
Growing Moringa Indoors
If you live in a cold or cooler climate you may want to grow Moringa in a warm area indoors, in Pots or in a Greenhouse if you have one. So that you can regulate your Moringas growing temperature.
Moringa is a heat loving tree and will go dormant when the weather turns cold, I have noticed that they don’t grow much when we get below 40 degrees here.
Growing Moringa In A Greenhouse
I don’t have much experience growing Moringa in a Greenhouse environment.
But I do have one piece of advice, don’t over water them, or they will rot and die. Moringa does not do well in overly wet conditions.
Many have grown Moringa in Pots, indoors and outdoors, the trick to growing Moringa in pots is to start with a very large pot, one that will give it lots of soil and opportunities to find nutrients…
When I first started growing Moringa I found articles that said that when you grow Moringa in pots use the biggest one you can find, 55 gallons was often suggested, the reason was Moringa likes to grow deep roots.
But after 3 years of growing Moringa, I have another reason, the roots will grow big, but only if they get lots of nutritious soil. When growing in pots the nutrients are limited by the size of the pot, a smaller pot has less soil and less nutrients.
You could always feed your Moringa nutrients, and eventually, you will have to if you continue to grow your Moringa in a pot, no matter the size. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you how to feed your potted Moringa it’s a skill that I have failed to learn, and since they grow like weeds here in Arizona, it’s not worth the frustration trying to learn.
I just plant the seeds in the ground, water them, they source their own food and grow. It takes much of the guilt off me since I would not be starving them to death in pots.
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