Since Spring will be upon us soon, I felt this blog was a good one for today. Over the past three years, I have tried various methods suggested for sprouting Moringa seeds. Moringa are fickle seeds needing the right temperature and moisture to sprout. We live in Nevada which is not the right environment...too cold and windy. My trees live in the house full time. What can I say, I love my Moringa trees.
This year I split up the methods for fun. Our house is cold right now so that makes it harder. I would have started these later but I needed to test germinate the seeds I bought. I have used the zip lock bag often with great success but it's the temperature in this house right now.
- The seeds in the zip lock bag have not sprouted well...not warm enough. I kept them in our gas stove but that was not enough.
- The seeds I planted directly into some planters have not come up. They may still grow when the room heats up in a few weeks.
- The seeds in the Jiffy set up with heat mat and light sprouted beautifully. You must have enough warmth for these guys to sprout.
To Hull or Not To Hull: That is the Question?
You can leave the seed intact piercing the hull (after soaking) with your thumbnail carefully
You can remove the hull being careful not to damage the tender seed inside.
You can plant the soaked seed without cracking the hull first.
Method #1: Zip Lock Bag Method
Soak 5 seeds in a zip lock bag with about 1/4 cup water overnight.
Drain water out. Leave in a dark warm place for 7 to 14 days. Look at them daily.
Don't let seeds get cold, don't add additional water, temperature should be 90 to 100 degrees F.
Keep seeds separate from each other.
Watch for mold. Seeds are prone to mold because of their high protein content.
If seeds develop mold, wash them gently in warm water. Put them in a new bag.
This method will not work unless the seeds are warm as stated above. Too much water in the bag will cause them to rot and mold. That is why you drain the bag well. Great care must be taken when removing the seeds from the bag and planting the seeds. The seed will have two shoots growing out of the seed....one is the root and the other is the seedling. If you are not careful when picking them up and planting them, you will break the fragile tap root and kill the seedling.
Plant in pots at least 9 inches deep.
Use potting soil or loamy sandy soil.
It must have well draining soil and container. Their roots will rot easily.
Don't plant seed portion over 3/4 inch deep in the pot.
They will have to be moved to one gallons quickly if the temperature is warm.
They have a long tap root. Give them a longer container, rather than a short one for that reason. There are long black plastic containers used for trees that work well. They are long and narrow. Examples are below. They are harder to find but work better.
If you have the right climate, soil, and environment, it is better to plant them directly into the ground. Make sure the soil drains well. Make sure the area does not get water logged when it rains.
It is necessary to protect them from cats, dogs, and outdoor creatures. Cats will eat them down to the ground. Rabbits, chickens, quail, and mice will eat the plants. Its good food for all.
Do not plant them outside until it is Spring and after the last frost. Frost kills them. You want it warm outside with night time temperatures not below 60 degrees F. If you plant them too early, they just won't grow. If its beautiful and warm, they will shoot up several feet in a season.
Method #2: Jiffy Pot Plugs/ Pots Jiffy Growing Kits
I use this method. I get the kit with a watering mat included. You can buy them at Walmart for about $20.00. It comes with a plastic dome as well in the kit. I also use a heat mat underneath the set up. Those run about $25.00. You are instructed to remove the dome when they get this high. I enclosed them in a tent of aluminum foil to help retain heat since it is cold in the house now.
You water the kit from the bottom container so you don't have to worry about them drying up on you. The cells don't get too wet either with this system. I found that the 32 cell kit was the best because it gave the plants more room to grow. I also found it difficult to get the plants out of the smaller cell kits. Burpee uses coconut fiber rather than peat which I think it better for the plants. Once the shoots are out of the ground, I put them under a grow light. A sunny window would do as well. Some homes have an enclosed sun room or porch which would work if it is warm enough. Without warmth, they just sit there and don't grow much. Some advise you not to put the seedlings in the sun for two months. I put mine in guarded, gentle sunlight. Don't put them in direct sunlight such as a windowsill. They bake and dry up quickly.
I will upload more pictures of these as we go along each week. These were grown to test the seed germination on the shipment received.
|This is the 32 cell kit I buy that includes a watering mat with it.|
All for today, Kate Freer, The Herbladyisin
Update: We now live in Indian Mound, TN as of 1-15-2015