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Scientific name: Moringa Oleifera Lam; M.moringa Mill, M. pterygosperma Gaetth

Uses: The leaves, for human consumption contains 7 times the vitamin A that carrots, 4 times more vitamin C That orange, 4 times more iron than spinach, 4 times more potassium than bananas, contains 18 amino acids essential for humans, has medicinal use. Leaves and stems: It is the ideal fodder for animals, contains between 25 and 30% protein, ideal for cattle, sheep, swine, fish and birds. The cost of production is 10% of the value of the concentrates. Flowers: It has some medicinal and nutritional for humans. Pods and fruits, are used in medicine, human nutrition, animal. Roots: In medicine. Seeds: Roasted peanuts are used for human consumption, for the purification of water, as oil for human consumption and for making biodiesel, also for propagating crops.

Soils: The plant adapts to hard or heavy soils, even in poor sandy loam soils, the soil must be well drained because this plant does not withstand flooding, Acidic soil with PH up to 6.5, withstands long periods of drought, grows well in arid and semi-arid conditions (optimum precipitation is 500 mm well distributed throughout the year). It is one of those resistant species that require little horticultural attention and grows rapidly, up to 4 meters in a year. In ideal conditions in Colombia has grown 5 centimeters in a day. The plant is typical of the lowlands and warm, but it can be found in sunny terrain at heights up to 1,200 masl.

Cultivation and propagation: It is a fast growing plant and easy to propagate, either by seed or asexual reproduction (cuttings).

It is a perennial crop, depending on the care and fertilization lasts from 5 to 20 years.

Pre-germinating treatment: It is recommended to place the seed 24 hours in water at temperature

Sowing conditions: For the nursery, a substrate made from 30% sand or rice husks, 40% black soil and 30% previously sieved organic matter. One-pound bags are used, which must be filled by avoiding air spaces or excess compaction of the soil.

The seedlings are constructed by placing a block of three rows each and a space of 0.50metros between blocks. The seed is then sown directly in the bag using a seed by laying at a depth of 1 to 2 cms. maximum. It is good to do at least three deep waterings before placing the seeds, to avoid air spaces and to germinate the weed seeds in the bag and then do the manual control.

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In case the seedlings are kept open, it is recommended, after having deposited the seed in the bag, to place a straw cover or sacks to keep the moisture and to avoid unearthing the seed during irrigation. In order to keep the soil moist, it is irrigated in the first 15 days with a watering can, one day if not another, beginning the time of planting and taking into account the days of rainfall, so as not to duplicate the irrigation. >

Nursery management : Nursery management consists in watering the plants as recommended or at least twice a week, manual weed control, it is important to remove the cover or dry straw in one week after the emergence of the seedlings.

It is important for the control and management that the corrective actions are carried out in time, for example the control of insects, application of nutritive solutions.

The transplant must be done in fresh hours, it is recommended in the afternoon, this will avoid the stress of the seedlings, during the transplant should be taken into account that the winter is already fully established with frequent rains, it is advisable to water the plants one day Before transplantation, the hole for planting in the final field must be 30 to 40 cm deep, it must have been limed 30 days before.

When planting, care should be taken not to damage roots by breaking the bag. To do this, the bag should be cut diametrically with a sharp knife, then place the bag in the hole and pull the bag from the top until the plant is released from the bag, this operation must be done in the gap, do not forget to collect Plastic bags.

Sowing ways: The spacing of trees depends on the purposes of planting. For seed production purposes, seed should be sown at a distance of 3 to 5 meters. For the production of foliage of intensive way can be planted of 10 cms. between plant of linear way and 40 cms. Between furrows, thus reaching a sowing of 250,000 plants per hectare, if you want a higher density can be planted in a linear way every 10cm by 10 cms between furrows reaching a million bushes per hectare, there are those who make beds of 1 meter per The length you want and are planted every 10 cms x 10 cms or 20 cms x 20 cms, and leave 50 cms between beds, for this type of crop is not necessary to make seedlings, simply plow the land, strand, pay the land and do direct planting, do not forget that the moringa does not support watering. If the use for live siege has been destined to be planted from 1.5 to 2.0 meters between plant or stake.

Fertilization: The tree grows without fertilizer. However it is recommended the application of nitrogen sources to favor the formation of the protein, which is the potential of this plant. In India they have shown that an application of 7.5 kg of composted manure plus 0.37 kg of ammonium sulphate per tree allows triple the yield of pods. The ideal pruning should be organic.

Pruning: The first pruning is recommended before the transplant, when the seedling has 60 cm is cut to 30 cm, then 8 days first pruning takes the definitive site, when you have a meter is left 50 cms and so the tree is forming. To facilitate the collection of the seeds, it is recommended to keep it at a height of 2.5 meters. Trees older than three years can be pruned at a height of 1 meter or a meter and a half, the tree recovers at two or three months in rainy season and returns to produce flowers and pods in a year. It is estimated that a young tree produces 400 to 600 pods and a mature tree can produce up to 1,600 pods.

The tree tends to grow straight, so it is recommended to prune to encourage branching, this allows the tree to produce many leaves and pods that are easy to cut and handle. Like all trees, the harvesting of the first pods should be avoided in order to increase the size and vigor in the subsequent years and to ensure good production of pods.

Flowering and fruiting : la moringa usually flourishes and fructifies once a year, but in some regions it does twice. Seed production is between 1,000 to 5,500 per plant per year.

Harvest : The moringa flourishes and fructifies whenever moisture is available. If the rains are continuous throughout the winter, the yield will be constant and the flowering can be marked twice.

  • Adam Floyd