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Saturday, December 5, 2009

Planting methods of Moringa oleifera

Moringa is planted either by direct seeding, transplanting,or using hard stem cuttings. Direct seeding is preferred when plenty of seed is available and labor is limited. Transplanting allows flexibility in field planting but requires extra labor and cost in raising seedlings. Stem cuttings are used when the availability of seed is limited but labor is plentiful.
 
Option 1. Direct seeding
Sow two or three seeds per hill at a depth of 2 cm. Two weeks after germination, thin to the strongest seedling per hill. For leaf, pod and seed production, space plants 3–5 m apart between rows and plants. If using raised beds, form beds with 2-m-wide tops, and space plants 3–5 m apart in a single row.

For production of leaves only, space plants 50 cm within rows spaced 1 m apart. If using raised beds, form beds with 60-cm-wide tops and space plants 1 m apart in a single row. For intensive production of leaves, space plants 10–20 cm within rows 30–50 cm apart. Closer spacing allows harvest of young edible shoots every two to three weeks.

Option 2. Transplanting
Transplanting moringa consists of two steps: seedling production and field planting.

Seedling production. Seedlings can be grown in divided trays, individual pots, plastic bags, or seedbeds. Use of divided trays and individual containers is preferred because there is less damage to seedlings when they are transplanted.

A 50-cell tray with cells 3–4 cm wide and deep is suitable. Fill the tray with a potting mix that has good water-holding capacity and good drainage. Use peat moss, commercial potting soil, or a potting mix prepared from soil, compost or rice hulls, and vermiculite or sand. AVRDC uses a mixture of 67% peat moss and 33% coarse vermiculite. If you use non-sterile components, sterilize the mix by autoclaving or baking at 150oC for 2 hours.

Grow seedlings under shade or in a screenhouse with 50% shade. Sow two or three seeds per cell. One week after germination, thin to the strongest seedling. Irrigate seedlings thoroughly every morning or as needed (moist, but not wet), using a fine mist sprinkler to avoid soil splash and plant damage. Transplant seedlings one month after sowing.

Pots or bags may be used to grow larger transplants. Fill the containers (0.5–1.0 kg by volume) with potting mix similar to that used in seedling trays. If potting mix is not available, use 3 parts soil to 1 part sand. Sow two or three seeds per pot or bag. One week after germination, thin to the strongest seedling. These plants are transplanted in the field after they reach 50 cm high .

If seedlings are started in a raised seedbed, the soil should be partially sterilized by burning a 3–5 cm layer of rice straw or other organic matter on the bed. The burned ash adds minor amounts of P and K to the soil. Sow two or three seeds in holes spaced 10 cm apart in furrows spaced 25 cm apart. Cover seedbed with a fine-mesh nylon net to protect seedlings from pests, heavy rain, and harsh sunlight. Transplant seedlings one month after sowing or when they reach 20–30 cm high. Dig seedlings using a trowel taking care that roots are not damaged. Place the bare-root seedlings in a bucket containing water and transplant them as soon as possible.

Field planting. Spacings are similar to those recommended in the direct seeding method.

Moringa may also be planted 1 m apart or closer in a row to establish living fence posts. Trees can be planted in gardens to provide shade to vegetables less tolerant to direct sunlight. Moringa trees are also used to support climbing crops such as yam and pole beans. Trees are also planted in hedgerows forming wide alleys where vegetables are planted within. Choose vegetables that are adapted to alley cropping, such as shade-tolerant leafy vegetables and herbs, since moringa hedgerows are highly competitive and can reduce yields of companion plants significantly.

Option 3. Using stem cuttings

Compared to trees planted from seed, trees from stem cuttings grow faster but develop a shallow root system that makes them more susceptible to moisture stress and wind damage.

Make stem cuttings using branches of a tree that is at least one year old. Use hard wood and avoid using young green stem tissue. Cuttings can be 45–150 cm long with diameters of 4–16 cm. Cuttings can be dried in the shade for three days before planting in the nursery or in the field. Cuttings are then planted directly or planted in plastic pots or bags in the nursery or screenhouse . When planting directly, plant cuttings in light, sandy soil. Plant one – third of the length in the soil (i.e., if the cutting is 90 cm long, plant it 30 cm deep). Add a balanced fertilizer or compost to infertile soils to encourage root development. Irrigate regularly to keep the soil moist but not wet. Cuttings planted in a nursery are ready for field planting after 2– 3 months. Follow the field planting recommendations mentioned for direct seeding and transplanting.
Source: Suggested Cultural Practices for Moringa, by M.C. Palada and L.C. Chang, AVRDC pub # 03-545

2 comments:

rickywillson said...

Moringa is called the Miracle Tree for it good properties. Moringa is a tropical tree with a long and impressive list of uses, properties, and benefits. It contains top quantities of vitamins and minerals, and produces first class cosmetic oil.

moringa

Kirstz said...

Thanks for sharing this information and this methods of planting moringa is really helpful. Because we know that moringa is best in our health and we need to know how to plan it.

Kirstz @ tree planting Philippines

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