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August 2010
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Drumstick (Moringa oleifera) – very nutritious

Moringa oleifera, commonly referred to simply as “Moringa” belongs to species of the genus Moringa, which is the only genus in the family Moringaceae. It is an exceptionally nutritious vegetable tree with a variety of potential uses. The tree itself is rather slender, with drooping branches that grow to approximately 10 m in height.
Drumstick tree (malungay) is regarded as one of the most nutritious plants because it is high in protein. It can grow very tall (7-10 meters). The leaves can also be cooked and it tastes almost like spinach. It can also be propagated by seed and stem as well. Moringa is a sun- and heat-loving plant. The fruit of the tree is quite popular as a vegetable in Asia and Africa. The fruit is a long thin pod resembling a drumstick. The fruit itself is called drumstick in India and elsewhere. Moringa leaves are also eaten as a leaf vegetable, particularly in the Philippines and Africa. In South India, it is used to prepare a variety of sambar and is also fried. Tender drumstick leaves, finely chopped, make an excellent garnish for any vegetable dishes, dals, sambars, salads, etc.

Growing Conditions for Drumstick

Drumstick can be cultivated in two ways.

From the Seeds
• The Seeds are available with many agricultural forms.
• Seeds are planted an inch below the surface.
• The seeds can be germinated year-round in well-draining soil.
• It has to be planted in a nursery.
• After about be 6 weeks, it has to be transferred from nursery to farm.
• It has to be planted with a spacing of 2 feet.
• The soil should have the capacity to hold the moisture for a day or two after irrigation.

From the Stem

• The drumsticks are harvested before they are fully mature.
• The plant is propagated by planting limb cuttings 1–2 m long, from June to August, preferably.
• The plant starts bearing pods 6–8 months after planting, but regular bearing commences after the second year.
• The tree bears for several years.

The part of branch will be cut from the drumstick tree and planted in the farm.
• It needs rich deep soil and thrives in tropical to subtropical condition.
• It needs a lot of sunshine.
• It is often cut back annually to 1 meter or less and allowed to re grow so that pods and leaves remain within arm’s reach.
• Both the methods will give the same amount of yield only.
• The stem method plant will look like big and seed method plant will look like small.
• The output and yield period remain same mostly for both.
• However there is high yield seed available in market.

Care for Drumstick

• It needs rich deep soil but thrives in tropical to subtropical condition.
• It needs lot of sunshine.
• It does not tolerate freeze or frost.
• There might be insect attack on the form during the flowering period, which needs to be control by pesticides.
• There will be some insects which will affect the stem of the tree, which also can be controlled.
• Do not plant near the house as the tree is a soft wood type and could easily break when during strong winds.
• It would require a protected area from frost if you live in cooler areas.

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