Moringa tree contains so many medicinal and nutritional properties that it is rightly termed as “miraculous tree” or mythological “tree of life.” Moringa oleifera is a known subtropical tree with an origin credited to the sub-Himalayas region of Pakistan.
As a result of adopted cultivation and various tree-planting programs, it is now common to find Moringa tree in areas like Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, the Philippines, and Cambodia. Moringa oleifera is a perennial softwood and one of the 13 members of the Moringacea family unique in phytochemical make-up and considered to be drought resistant.
Under the right soil conditions, Moringa tree rises rapidly to a maximum height of about 12 meters, with fragile spreading branches, elongated drumstick-shaped fruits, gray bark, and trip-innate leaves, which remain evergreen throughout the growing season.
Moringa tree is highly revered in traditional medicine as it is considered a source of various bioactive agents which exert useful pharmacological actions in humans. In recent times, plant research studies have shown that crude extracts from different parts of the plant contain phytochemicals, which are potential antifungal, anti-cancer, anti-diabetic, anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic, anti-depressant, analgesic, and cholesterol-lowering agents.
The seeds, root, fruit, flowers, and exudate of the Moringa tree is widely used in different regions of the world especially in under nutirtion populations of the developing countries as a source of readily available, and cheap nutritive supplement.
If you are like me, you would like to know how can you cultivate at least one Moringa tree at your backyard. If you have some agricultural land, it becomes more critical to grow Moringa trees without disturbing other routine crops. You can read to prepare your nursery bed to grow the Moringa tree on a commercial basis.
Planting of the Miracle tree is considered a family ritual of territorial claim in the suburbs of sub-Saharan Africa. So it is sometimes common to find people who successfully cultivate Moringa from this region, especially for commercial purposes. Moringa plantations are found inter-planted with fruits, home garden vegetables, and crops that need shade for germination.
Moringa is drought resistant and can survive in regions of low rainfall volume; however, the germinating seedling needs enough rainfall for the growth process. This makes the cultivation of Moringa tree more successful during the rainy season. There are two basic methods of growing the Moringa tree. These include the Direct seed method and the Stem cutting method. (1)
In this method, the preserved seedlings are directly planted in fertile sandy, loamy soil and under optimum weather conditions. About 2-4 seedlings are planted at an approximate depth of 3cm. Each developing tree is spaced from neighboring trees at a distance of about 4-6 meters to provide enough room for adequate production of leaves, fruits, flowers, and pods. Under the right growth conditions Moringa can reach a height of 1 meter within 3-5 months after planting.
If you once lived on a farm base, you might have seen the basic stem cutting cultivation process. For a Moringa tree, hardwood cuttings of about 150 cm long stems are skillfully made with a sharp cutter and dried in the shade for about 3 days. Direct exposure to sunlight is avoided to prevent complete drying up of stem sap (1). The slightly dried stems are subsequently planted in the nursery field, with one-third of stem inserted in the soil. General seedling care is initiated, add compost if necessary, and water land to moist texture regularly until the third month of germination.
A couple of days ago, I cut three stems and planted them in soil without drying them. As it was done in the growing season, the branches started bearing leaves within a month. It means, even the fresh stems can grow well during the Moringa season, from September to December in Pakistan.
Unlike other deciduous evergreen trees, you definitely will not wait a couple of years before harvesting the plant parts of the Moringa tree. After 11 months of germination, the leaves are collected by a careful detachment from the stems. For subsequent leaf harvesting, the plant is allowed to develop new set of leaves. The collected leaves are dried and ground for edible purposes, commercial purposes, or for making Moringa powder.
On average, flowers and pods develop during the second growing season. The seeds are harvested when they are young and tender by carefully cutting them from the stem branches. The flowers are collected in the same way and processed for the manufacture of Moringa tea pr delicate dishes with meat.
With general reference, the growth of the Moringa tree is fast becoming an agricultural trend, especially in Africa, with different growth studies for large scale cultivation are consistently gaining recognition as a means of producing cheap herbal and healthful supplements.
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