How to grow Moringa
The Moringa (Moringa oleifera Lam., 1785) is an arboreal species of the Moringaceae family, widespread in most of the tropical and equatorial belt and is believed to originate in the foothill regions of the Himalayan chain of Uttar Pradesh. In this sheet we see the climatic and agronomic needs of the plant and how to grow the Moringa. It is a tree that reaches a height ranging from 4 to 7 meters but, in conditions of deep and fertile soil, it can even exceed 10 meters. The trunk is erect or branched from the base, of soft and spongy consistency, with weak wood and thin and intertwined and pendulous branches. The leaves are composed, the roots give off a strong smell and taste of radish and the flowers are small but numerous with a good production of nectar for the bees. The fruits are pods, similar to beans (from 16 to 22 per pod) and the plant produces an average of 20 to 80 pods.
The moringa plant, although adapted to dry soils and with any pH, if it is found in fertile terroirs and with an irrigation endowment, assumes considerable growth. For its cultivation, however, it is good not to choose alluvial soils or those too compact, in which its root system does not find the best conditions of adsorption of nutrients and suffers water stagnation.
However, both the soils must have good drainage and, in the countries where it is grown, being a plant hardly resistant to kelp, it suffers very serious damage. It is a plant where every part is edible: the leaves are very rich in proteins, vitamins and minerals, with a slightly spicy and grateful taste even in the raw state (they contain 25 percent by weight of proteins, more than the eggs and the double the cow’s milk, the quadruple in vitamin A of the carrots, almost eight times the vitamin C of the oranges, the triple of the potassium of the bananas), therefore excellent for the human feeding but also as fodder for the animals; the fruits, by boiling the immature pods that taste like asparagus (in Siddha medicine they are considered powerful aphrodisiacs for both sexes); from these the oil is extracted from the seeds which is a very important resource for human nutrition, together with the residual pulp of the extraction; the roots, which have a spicy flavor like radish, which is used above all as flavoring but, due to the presence of an alkaloid that would interfere with the nervous transmission, it is not recommended to use it in excessive quantities; finally the flowers, as a rule, are prepared in salads and being the moringa mellifera plant, honey can therefore be produced from its flowers. But also the bark and the wood have an important use; from the bark a rubber is extracted from the many uses and tannic substances used for leather tanning. Wood can be used for the paper industry, it also provides a blued tincture.
From the leaves of the moringa, by infusing the leaves in water for several days, a liquid fertilizer is obtained, which induces a vegetative increase of the treated plants up to 25%.
But the uses of this plant do not stop here: in fact, its most famous use, in the countries where it is grown, is that of water purification through seeds; in fact the Moringa seed flour is an excellent water purifier or other food liquids, having an excellent flocculant power, fixing the bacterial bodies and other impurities in suspension in the liquids by incorporating them into flocs that then precipitate to the bottom, leaving the liquid more limpid and purified. For this reason the plant is called “the clean water tree”.
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