By Elizabeth Warburton-Smith

Moringa tree with over 100 seed pods
Moringa is one of the most amazing trees in the world and in fact, its nickname is the “Miracle Tree” for all the benefits it provides. Moringas are prized for their high nutritional value and are edible from the root to the leaves and most people ingest the leaves either fresh or dried.

Moringa leaves have 92 nutrients and 46 anti-oxidants and are a complete plant protein, containing all 9 essential amino acids. Moringa contains 2 times the protein and 4 times the calcium of milk. It also has seven times the Vitamin C in oranges, 4 times more Vitamin A than carrots, 3 times more potassium than bananas, and 3 times more iron than spinach.

We planted ours in the Rita Ranch Community Garden just over a year ago using a specific organic method that is a little involved but well worth the effort. We started with a 3 foot wide by 3 foot deep hole. First we added a thick layer of fresh compost (kitchen scraps like banana peels, carrot peelings, cut ends of lettuce, etc), coconut coir (or peat moss), dried leaves and a cup of azomite (rock phosphate). Next we added a layer of 4-6” sized rocks. Then comes a layer of top soil (fyi, this top soil is only about half way up the depth of the hole). Next we repeated the first layer but used finished compost instead of the fresh. Now we planted our baby tree. The final layer is a thin layer of finished compost mixed with about 2 cups of earthworm castings and on top of that, wood chip mulch. Your mulch should be in a basin around your newly planted tree for water to collect. As the tree grows, you will widen that basin to the end of the tree canopy where the feeder roots are. With this method, our moringa tree has produced over a hundred seed pods, each with around 20 seeds and we look forward to having more moringa seedlings for sale in a few months.

Elizabeth Warburton-Smith is the founder of the Rita Ranch Community Garden inspiring others to grow organic food. Elizabeth & husband Chef Greg own Wrapido, a mobile food business selling grilled chicken wraps & signature lemonades highlighting organic & local ingredients. Gardening tutorial videos: Contact Elizabeth:

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