There are no hard and fast rules for planting moringa seeds. It all depends on where you live and the purpose of your planting.
Some things you need to remember:
- Moringa is a tropical plant and does not like the cold. Plant your seeds when the minimum night time temperature is more than 10 degC. Germination can happen at cooler times if you have the seeds in a hot house, however the plants do not thrive as well.
- Moringa has long tap roots, so you will need tall containers to plant in. Also these roots are very delicate when young, so you need to take extra care when transplanting.
- Moringa like a well drained soil. Too much water on the roots will kill it.
Things you will need:
- Tall pots or containers for planting
- Good quality soil and compost - must be well drained.
- Moringa seeds.
Some things you CAN do but are not essential
- Soak you seeds overnight before planting. This softens the shells to aid the germination.
- Germinate the seeds in plastic containers lined with damp paper towel. Place the lid on to keep moist. Seeds will sprout in about 6 days.
- Plant seeds in bio-degradable seedling pots or in egg cartons. These can be planted in the ground or large pots as they are.
- Plant seeds in tall pots or containers, and later transplanted in the ground. (Plant 2 to 3 seeds per pot. )
- Expect your seedlings to sprout in 5 to 12 days after sowing.
- Water the seedlings every 2 to 3 days, but be careful not to over water. Water when the soil on the top is dry. (10 to 20ml applied to each bag or pot is sufficient.)
- Keep the planted seeds in a hot house or covered with plastic to help with germination.
- Keep the young plants well protected from grasshoppers, locusts, grubs and bugs.
- Nurse the young plants for 4-6 weeks before transplanting. They should be about 30cm high.
- Resist the temptation to pick the leaves off the young plants. This will tend to dwarf the plant. (Learned that from experience.)
- When transplanting, be especially careful not to damage the roots, to reduce any losses.
TRY THIS TRICK - QUICK GERMINATION IN A ZIPLOCK BAG.
To speed up germination some more,
- Slightly damage the outer shell by lightly filing or sanding sanding with sandpaper. (Just enough so the inside part of the seed is showing.)
- Moisten a paper towel with water and then ring it out so it is just damp.
- Arrange the seeds on the folded paper towel.
- Carefully place the paper towel with the seeds on it into a ZipLock sandwich or snack-sized bag. Squeeze all the air out and seal the bag.
- Place the bag with the seeds in it in a warm area. (Your seeds may sprout within 24 hours.)
- When the seeds have sprouted plant them in the soil.
MORE TIPS FROM MORINGA CONNECTION MEMBERS:
- Use fresh seeds, from recent growth. Old seeds do not sprout well.
- Peel the shell off completely.
- Roll about 6 seeds completely in paper towel and put in plastic bag. Not just put paper towel in bag. Check daily.
When the plants are about 30cm high, they are ready for transplanting into the soil.
- Choose a light, sandy and well-drained soil.
- On the day before planting, dig a planting hole about 30cm (12 inch) deep, and refill with loose soil and compost or manure. Then water the hole.
- Late in the afternoon of the next day, make a hole in the planting hole big enough to fit the seedling and its soil.
- Carefully remove the plant from the pot or bag, trying not to disturb the soil and the roots, and place in the hole. If you are using biodegradable containers, trim off the bottom and plant the whole container.
- Pack soil around the seedling base.
- Water only lightly for the first few days.
- If the seedlings fall over, stake them with a stick.
I've covered just the basics in this post. To learn more, here some other sites to check out:
- Trees for Life - http://www.treesforlife.org/our-work/our-initiatives/moringa/how-to-grow
- PDF document on Planting Moringa for INTENSIVE Cultivation of leaves - http://www.moringanews.org/documents/LeafbrochureGB.pdf
- Suggested Cultivating Practices for Moringa - http://www.moringa.co.il/article/moringa-palada.pdf
- Growing and Processing Moringa Leaves - https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B57_IvpX0lm8S0RwbTR0dUl1TXc/