I got into this whole hydroponics kick at the beginning of summer. Did a whole bunch of research so we could grow lettuce out here in the hot desert. With heat wave after heat wave, I figured that being indoors would help the plants survive and hydroponics seemed to be the best solution for that. Started growing lettuce and somewhere along the way I ended up finding out about moringa. Moringa produces leaves that are rich in protein, vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin C and minerals. I scrapped the whole hydroponics idea (why waste perfectly good sunlight?) and started growing moringa in pots and now have them growing in raised beds. It's been quite an adventure. I thought I would take the time to share the experience with those into gardening and new comers looking for something easy to do. Let me preface all of this by saying I have no gardening experience, so there has been (and most likely will continue to be) many errors along the way.
One of my fascinations with hydro was creating a natural ecosystem. I could have an aquarium with fish and use the water to feed the plants. If I could get things going large enough this would could be turned into a large scale project. For the time being, it's a bit tiny and simple.
I purchased a large bag of Organic Moringa seeds off of Amazon. To test them out I did two batches. The first batch I started in the closet under layers of wet paper towels. I was suppose to mist them daily and only leave them in there for a few days, but somewhere along the way I forgot about them for a week. When I remember I had them, I thought for sure they would be dead/useless, but must to my surprised I had huge 3 inch stalks pushing the paper towels up. I quickly migrated those to soil. As you can see the color is white. I would wager a guess that this is due to the lack of sunlight. Not wanting to shock the plants I kept them indoors under cool conditions and exposed them to light in the evening.
They quickly flourished and began to grow long flexible stalks.
To my horror, our cat took a liking to these and after all of this work, I woke up one morning to find all of the leaves gone and the cat happier than usual. I was so furious (and quite devastated) that I didn't take any pictures. The stalk was still intact. I figured that there was nothing left to lose, so I moved them outdoors and crossed my fingers. We were delighted to find that they flourished once again!
During this experiment I had a second moringa pot growing. This one was created the more traditional way, by soaking the seeds for two days in water and then planting them in soil. The seeds took 3x as long to sprout, but their leaves came in faster.
The stems appeared much stronger and the plant grew wider than the one started in the closet without soil.
Since this was, what I assumed to be, the stronger moringa crop (being that it was started in soil and grew the majority of the time outdoors in the heat) I felt that this crop would be best to transplant to raised beds. There were about ten seeds each in both pots and from what I have read, they need space. Transplanting to raised beds seemed the best option to give them this space.
Unfortunately, it did not go well.
These were the first successful plants I had ever grown, so seeing them like this devastated me. There wasn't much that I could do so I left them alone and kept my fingers crossed.
After a week they seem to come back to life.
So I added more,
and when I ran out of room in my raised beds I used pots. Each given their own individual pot this time.
I water all of the potted plants with water from this small pond. The plants in the raised bed are too far away, so they are watered with tap water. There is a significant difference in the growth rate.
These plants that border the pond were all started about a week after the ones in the raised beds, and have grown at a much faster rate.
Finally, the two pots I originally started with,
We are excited to see how things will turn out. Hopefully, they will all continue to flourish.