Monday, June 13, 2011

Drainage Is Extremely Important to Moringa Trees

Comfrey growing under large bushes as a micro-climate.
The partially covered carport as a temporary micro-climate for the shade plants.

The shed got too hot so moved all our mints and shade herbs under this covered carport until we can get the half greenhouse and half shade house finished. They are very happy in there for now. In one day with both shed ends and doors open , it got to over 100 degrees. Our shed is 20 feet by 60 feet, not a small one. If we had waited any longer, they would have all been dead. Learning how to grow here in this high desert is a real challenge. This is a bigger challenge, because there is not one shade tree that survived this house being empty for over three years.

Hi Friends,

On these posts I will tell you what I am learning, what works, and what doesn't. One sure thing that will kill a Moringa tree is wet feet. I can't tell you how important well draining soil and pots is to their health. Just yesterday, I realized that the one tree that had not come out of its dormant state rotted. At first I couldn't figure out why since the container was a standard 20 gal with precut drainage holes.  I thought perhaps the drainage holes somehow had gotten clogged. I then realized it was two containers stuck inside one another, not just one. The inside container had blocked the drainage. The rim was broken off the inside one. I had been in a hurry and not noticed it. That one mistake killed a perfectly good year old tree. I was pretty mad at myself that I had noticed it too late.It is the only one that had not budded out of my 6 big ones.

If you have them in the house, as I do several babies, with a dish underneath, do not let them stay with wet feet. I take mine out once a week and deeply water them. I let them drain completely before I bring them back in the house. They are growing like weeks. I also use organic fertilizer once a month. One problem with fertilizer, even dry organic fertilizer,  it draws the flies and bugs here in the desert. They are hatching out right now with the warm weather.

Use diatomaceous earth on the dirt. It will kill the fly or bug larve. It does kill the earthworms as well. It is not posion but sedimentary rock ground into a white powder. When ants or worm crawl on it, the powder cuts them up and they die. It will get rid of ant beds over several applications. It will not harm animals or humans. It will kill bees and most insects. Do not put it on the bloom area because of the bees. It is spread around the root area of the plant, not the leaves. Bugs cannot become resistant to it because it is not poison. It can be used around chickens as well.

The weather here is in the 90's, so the Moringa trees are quite happy. You must protect them from wind damage. The leaves are fragile and the wind will destroy them. I can't say that these two, 90 degree days did much for some of my new veggies. Even though it tells you to  plant some of them in full sun, that does not apply in the high desert. The wind, dryness,and heat dries them up quickly. The three plants that have some shade in the afternoon are doing much better than the ones in full sun. Even watering them twice a day, they start to wilt. If you have an area that gets sun but has a tree in the background to reduce the temperature, you will do better with your tomatoes.

You must create micro-climates in the hot high desert.  An example is we have 4- 5 foot bushes on the property. They were the only ones to survive the years of this place being vacant. All the shade trees died. There is a good area underneath these large bushes with some sun and shade. The bushes act as a wind breaker too. I planted my comfrey roots underneath in the bowl around those bushes. When I water the bushes, the comfrey gets watered. Even though I must water everyday at this point, they are thriving. I am going to try some mint under there for fun. I will have to dig some up before the winter temperatures and keep them in the shed, but they will have possibly 6 months to grow.

Update on the straw bale garden. I planted two tomatoes, two cucumbers, and a comfrey plant for a trial run. The bales were placed on the full sun side area. I have three more plants on the side with morning but not afternoon sun.  You must water the bales twice a day in this desert heat. The one comfrey plant will not make it so must move it to a cooler area. The two tomato plants are struggling in the hottest part of the day. So the straw bales here in this climate must have a cooler micro-climate. It will get much hotter in July and August.

Signing off for today. Kate Freer, The Herbladyisin

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1 comment:

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