I had one of my readers ask me about pots.
Normally, the best thing to do is plant them in the ground.
Having said that, there are many areas of this country where that is not an option. If it gets too cold in the winter, they die. This area of Mina, Nevada is one of those. It can get as low as -26 although the norm -10. Moringa trees cannot take freezing temperatures. They are a tropical plant growing in countries like Africa. So growing them in huge pots in the only choice in cold states.
Starter Pots: Start them out in a one gal. They do much better in that size than smaller. Then at about 6 to 8 inches, transplant them into a 20 gal or 33 gal trash can with big drainage holes.
Why move them into something that big? They grow tall quickly and moving them once they are tall, can break them. I just had to do that today with one. It was 2 and a half feet tall. When I went to loosen the roots, it would not come out easily. I ended up losing some root. Right now it looks like it will not survive. I will give it a month to see if it comes back. It is only the 2nd one in question of all the ones we brought up here. So transplant them into the largest container you can, when they are small enough to easily get them out of the old container.
They grow rapidly in summer. I cut my tallest one down today. It had reached the roof. Cut them down to where you can reach them. The idea is to use the leaves. When you cut them, they grow branches lower. It will look more like a bush than a tree. This gives you much more product to use for teas or to dry. I am in the process of drying mine now.
In countries like India, they grow them in rows close together, like alfalfa. They let them get up to around 4 feet than cut them all down. They move on to the next row and so on. Then the Moringa and they cut them again. You want lots of leaf unless you are growing them for flowers and seed.
If you live in a hot dry climate with no humidity like here, spray their leaves in the cool of the morning. I also put a milk carton of water under each tree to help with providing some humidity. I learned that while watching my various trees. They are located in several different places: our porch, under our carport, and between the rows of straw bales in the garden. When you water the straw bales, some water leaks out between the two rows. The one tree is doing the best there. The others were showing stress. So I have to create humidity by the above methods.
Two of the states raising them year around are Florida and Hawaii. Both very humid states with water everywhere. Again, they are a tropical tree.
Growing Moringa is this high desert climate with no humidity is an ongoing experiment. Each part of the season has its challenges. You must protect them from fierce winds, fierce cold, and alter the humidity element.
Why go to all that trouble?
I personally believe that as a survival tree with quality nutrition including protein, iron, all eight amino acids, that it is part of my plan for being self sufficient. This goes along with having chickens and a milk goat. So to me it is part of my plan for a future with excessive heat, hurricanes, and unstable weather.
One of my experiments is raising them in our enclosed porch then bringing the two into the living room by the window in winter. I want to see if I can keep them growing leaves by that method. Will they go dormant? I don't have the answer yet. The porch has light enough. We may have to put in a small heater. You will learn as I go through this. I want every family to be growing this tree even if it has to be kept in the house during the winter. If nothing else, you can grow it for the spring, summer, and fall as you do a garden. You need to do this for the future.
Kate Freer, The Herbladyisin.....have a beautiful Sunday.
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