Moringa Oleifera Benefits and Healing Herbs
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Kate Freer, The Herbladyisin
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What is Moringa Oliefera? Can I grow a Moringa Tree? What are the benefits of Moringa? If you don't know....you should learn about it!
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Growing Moringa Trees From Seeds
How do you tell if your Moringa seed is good quality?
Moringa seeds should be dark brown or black and the hull hard. If the Moringa Oleifera seed is soft or cream colored, it is old seed. You really need to test germinate seed you buy, if planting in large quantities. One of the problems in buying seeds from foreign countries, is some of it, is old and won't germinate. I got some beautiful seeds but none sprouted. I tried test germinating them twice with different methods. I was just out the money for them.
The problem with moringa seed is the quality and that they are tempermental. They are a tree best suited to Hawaii and Florida. Any other climate type can be a problem. Even altitude can affect them as well as humidity. So if your seeds don't sprout, often it is not the seed but other growing conditions. They are also subject to mold because of the high protein content. The seed root tail cannot be broken or they die. They must be handled and planted gently after they have sprouted.
How many seeds should I germinate?
You need a minimum of three trees for a couple and more for a family. I would germinate 20 seeds at least to make sure you get enough seedlings for your family. Some seeds may mold or not germinate. If you end up with too many, give them to family. It will take them awhile for them to get tall and bushy enough to generate enough leaves to eat everyday.
What is PK-1 Seed ?
It is a rating for the seed that denotes higher germination rates than lower seed grades. Moringa seeds are used as fodder for animals and people. Not all seeds are intended to be germinated into new trees.
What is the difference between Moringa Oleifera seeds and Moringa Stenopetala varieties?
These are the two most common Moringa species grown commercially.
Moringa Oleifera seeds are brown colored and winged. Stenopetala seeds are tan.
Moringa Oleifera Seeds Moringa Stenopetala Seeds
How should I store Moringa Oleifera Seeds?
Store in a dark, dry, warm area in an air tight container. Do not store in the refrigerator or freezer. These seeds are a tropical tree that likes warmth. Moisture will cause them to either sprout or rot. The best seed is fresh...not over a year old.
When should I start my Moringa Seeds? This can be tricky.
Start them indoors in early Spring like you would your tomato seeds. They need warmth to sprout. If your house is too cold, it will not work. You can use a seed heat mat or grow lights to get them started indoors. A warm sunny living room or enclosed porch perhaps.
Do not put them outdoors until it is warm, after all danger of cold weather and frost is past. One frost will kill them, especially the baby seedlings.
Moringa seeds can be tricky to get started....like wine they take their own time.
If your Moringa seeds do not sprout, they can be stuborn. Wait until June when it warms up to try again. If you grow the trees without a heated greenhouse you may find the trees will not grow until summer. They will just sit there, like they are stunted. I had a whole set this year that did nothing no matter what I tried (other than a heated greeenhouse) until June began. In June they began growing and are doing much better now. They like very warm, humid weather.
Grow lights and heat mats increase germination. A heated greenhouse is great but then some of them go into shock when put out in the real environment. They growly much more slowly without a greenhouse. It takes the heat to spur rapid growth.
Methods for Germinating Moringa Seeds
#1: Zip Lock Bag Method:
Pierce seed hull with your fingernail gently which makes it easier for the seed to sprout.
You can also remove the hull before planting, being careful not to damage the tender seed in the process.
Soak Moringa seeds for several hours in a zip lock bag containing 1/4 cup of warm water.
Next drain the water from zip lock bag.
Lay the bag on a plate so it is flat. Separate the seeds so they don't touch each other.
Don't sprout more than 5 seeds in a bag, so they are not crowded. This will cut down on mold and prevent their shoots from getting entangled as they sprout.
If you see mold growing on the seeds, gently wash the seed hull under warm water. If you get mold in the bag, move the seeds to a clean bag you have added water to, then drained.
Don't add additional water to the bag, the seeds are wet enough after being soaked overnight.
Place the plate with the zip lock bag containing the seeds in a warm drawer or in your gas stove where the temperature is between 90 and 100 degrees F. Temperature is important for germination. Don't let seeds get cold.
When the root and stem shoots are about two inches long, transplant them into containers.
Transplant to one gallon containers with loose, organic potting soil. Make sure you plant seed with root shoot down into the soil and stem with first leaves part up. Plant in pots from 6 to 9 inches deep.
Do not put seed portion more than 3/4 inches below the soil surface.
Cake Carrier Container Method
#2: This is how I have spouted my last seeds. I soak them in water all night. I take my fingernail, and pierce the shell. Then I put a wet paper towel on the plate, put the seeds on the paper towel, don't let the seeds touch each other, then I put a round glass Corning top over the plate.
I am now using a cake cover that I found at the Dollar Store. it works the best since the top is high enough not to crowd the seeds. I waited until the sprout was about two inches in length, then planted them. If you work, this is not a good method to use. In the summer heat, the seeds dry out unless sprayed several times during the day.
I am home so I spray the seeds once or twice a day if the paper towel or seeds look dry. You must be home to use this method and not forget them. I have the plate on top of my chest freezer in the kitchen. When doing things in the kitchen, I check on the seeds. I have had no mold problem with this method.
Direct Peat Pot or coir kit Germination Method:
You can use individual pots filled with coir fiber as well. They don't seem to do well in peat.
Set up with heat mat underneath and grow lights.
Burpee kit I used this year included a tray with individual cells and 0water mat included. Much less work but more expensive. Is reusable. I bought mine at Walmart. They run about $20 to 25.00. It does not come with a heat mat included.
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