Moringa: Community Development

 

Community Development & (1)

Moringa has been introduces in many communities to help fight hunger. But how do you grow Moringa? And how can you introduce it into a community in a way that the community will thrive using it? All that and more is in this article.

How to Grow Moringa

Moringa can be grown from cuttings or from seed. I find it’s easier to grow from cutting. But that is my opinion. If you are going to grow the tree from seed nurture it and keep it in a green house until it’s ready to be planted in the ground. When you plant it in the ground try adding a few teaspoons of compost tea the soil that will touch the roots. This will stimulate growth by giving the roots an extra boost of nutrients. Follow the directions below to help with your growing.

From Seed

  1. Nurture your plant in a green house. The seeds are fragile and can be very difficult to grow because of their sensitivity to temperature changes/cold temps.
  2. Your tree will be ready to plant outside when it’s about a foot to two feet tall. Check your growing zone and freezing vulnerability before planting to your tree has a better chance for survival.
  3. Dig a hole so that about 2 inches of your tree stem is covered in soil.
  4. Put about 2 to 3 tbs of compost tea in the hole before you plant the tree.
  5. After your tree is planted into the ground cover the area with mulch for about 2 feet in diameter leaving about an inch or two around the base without any mulch.
  6. Water your tree. Make sure not to do this during a sunny day or at night. The sun could cause the water to heat up on the leaves and branches causing burning. And watering at night can leave your tree vulnerable to mold and disease. It’s best to water in the morning before the tree can experience full sun. However, if you are transferring your plant into the ground during full sun or at night go ahead and water. It will need the water source in order to establish and not reject the transfer.

From Cuttings

  1. To make a cutting cut a thick branch about an inch in diameter. The cutting needs to be around 1 foot to 1 & 1/2 feet to grow independently.
  2. Wrap the end in a wet paper towel until it is ready to be planted.
  3. Cut all other branches off of your cutting so all the resources will go to root growth.
  4. Plant cutting in a container and nurture in a greenhouse until the plant is strong enough to be transferred. 2 to three inches should be in the soil and the container should be deep enough for the roots to grow freely. About 1 to 2 feet.
  5. Follow instructions 2-6 from above, “From Seed” to finish growing your plant.
  6. Note that Moringa can be a vulnerable plant to grow because of it’s sensitivity to freezing so grow many cuttings so you have a better chance of having a few survive.

 

Where to Find Cuttings and Seeds

Seed Banks- Many seeds banks offer Moringa free or charge a small price. ECHO is an organization dedicated to globe community development through agriculture. Their seed band usually has Moringa available. Check them out here! They are also a great resource for learning how to great edible crops and how to introduce them into communities. They usually have Moringa for sale in their farm shop in Fort Myers, Florida.

Nurseries- Nurseries in subtropical areas may have Moringa for sale. If you live in central florida the h.e.a.r.t. Institute sells Moringa in their plant nursery. They may also mail you cuttings for a small fee but you have to contact them directly for confirmation and prices. You can check out them here!

Online- There are many individuals selling Moringa cutting on Ebay and similar sites. Be cautious though because these cuttings and seeds are often unregulated. That means you’re more vulnerable to getting diseased or undernourished plants.

How to Introduce Moringa into a Community

Moringa is great both for village communities and urban gardens. But there are a few questions you need to ask yourself before introducing the plant?

Is this a plant the community actually wants? 

It can be easy for outsiders to assume the needs of a community they are not necessarily directly involved in. This however, is a mistake. It’s presumptuous to feel like we know the needs of others we do not have direct and prolonged interaction with. So before you introduce the plant go to the community leaders. Educate the leaders on the benefits and care needs for the plants and see if introducing Moringa is something their community needs, wants, and feels like they can maintain.

Who will take care of the plants?

While Moringa trees do not need a lot of care once they reach maturity it will take time for the plants to get established and reach this point. In the mean time, you’ll need people who know how to properly plant, trim, and cultivate the plant in a way that does not harm the tree.

Who will educate community members on the uses and care of the Moringa tree?

Like mentioned above, community members will need guidance on how to plant, trim, and cultivate the plant. They will also need education on how to use the plant and how the plant can improve nutrition.

Do I have enough genetic variance?

When trees develop an illness sometimes that illness can be spread to other tree. Trees that come from the same cutting are more vulnerable. With this said, genetic variance will help protect your trees and prevent mass spreading of disease if one of your trees develops an illness. So make sure to bring at least a few trees with varying genetics (not all from the same cutting). Also, make sure that you educate the community on the importance of giving away and using cuttings from different Moringa trees and not just the same tree

Village Setting vrs. Urban Community Garden

Look at your land resources. You may have room to grow a tree to full maturity and that great. Moringa trees can grow well over 13 feet so keep that in mind. If you do not have a lot of room don’t worry. You can keep Moringa in a potted plant and trim the tree so that it does not outgrow the pot. You can then use the cuttings however you like.

Other Considerations

There are a ton of considerations before starting any community development project. Check out this article by ECHO for more information. 

Come back Friday and learn about Moringa used as an essential oil. This will be the last article in the Moringa series.

Disclaimer: Information expressed in this article is solely the opinion of the writer. The writer is not held liable for any damage or health concerns resulting from information or endorsement from this article. If in doubt, always contact a health professional before using a new product on yourself or others.

*Article not sponsored by suggested companies.

 

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