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Moringa tree not nitrogen fixer?

 
Posts: 160
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If this topic does not belong here than sorry for that. Id like some experts to read this and make comments toward it. I thought it best to start a whole new conversation. This link was sent to me. Thanks

https://moringaceae.org/1/post/2014/02/does-moringa-fix-nitrogen.html

Here is another link that may be helpful.

https://www.permaculturenews.org/2015/10/20/introducing-nitrogen-fixing-trees-natures-solution-to-curing-n2-deficiency/
 
master gardener
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My apologies for believing what I read about moringa being a nitrogen fixer....I have no direct experience with moringa being from Maine.  Very good find Jason.  There should be some great nitrogen fixers down there to choose from for your acreage.
 
Jason Walter
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Greg Martin wrote:My apologies for believing what I read about moringa being a nitrogen fixer....I have no direct experience with moringa being from Maine.  Very good find Jason.  There should be some great nitrogen fixers down there to choose from for your acreage.



Im not sure I would give up so easily. I understand everyone has an opinion/looks at things differently, come to conclusions based from interpretations. I will enjoy the research
 
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Spinach and others in that family might be dangerous to eat due to high nitrate levels, even though they aren't a nitrogen fixers. This is because spinach will store any available nitrogen if you over-fertilize it. Unlike say cabbage/rye/beans, which will just let the extra nitrogen fertilizer leach down into the water table.  But under normal condition spinach will not have more nitrogen than legumes.

Moringa is full of minerals and vitamin, so it might promote an explosion of soil life that will help your garden even though it doesn't fix nitrogen or capture as much carbon as C4 grasses.

The main selling point for me with moringa is that, in snake/scorpion/etc infested areas I would much rather stand up and cut my greens, then bend down on my knees.

So to me moringa is still a wonderful/miracle plant.

And finally moringa has plant growth promoting chemicals (think willow extract to promote root growth), so while it isn't fixing nitrogen it is still forcefully marking your garden more lush, but I am not sure if vegetative growth should happen at the expense or root or fruit production.

 
Jason Walter
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S Bengi wrote:Spinach and others in that family might be dangerous to eat due to high nitrate levels, even though they aren't a nitrogen fixers. This is because spinach will store any available nitrogen if you over-fertilize it. Unlike say cabbage/rye/beans, which will just let the extra nitrogen fertilizer leach down into the water table.  But under normal condition spinach will not have more nitrogen than legumes.

Moringa is full of minerals and vitamin, so it might promote an explosion of soil life that will help your garden even though it doesn't fix nitrogen or capture as much carbon as C4 grasses.

The main selling point for me with moringa is that, in snake/scorpion/etc infested areas I would much rather stand up and cut my greens, then bend down on my knees.

So to me moringa is still a wonderful/miracle plant.

And finally moringa has plant growth promoting chemicals (think willow extract to promote root growth), so while it isn't fixing nitrogen it is still forcefully marking your garden more lush, but I am not sure if vegetative growth should happen at the expense or root or fruit production.



What is your opinion on the chaya Mansa tree. Any benefits to the soil if treated as a chopndrop? Thanks Bengi
 
S Bengi
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When I mentioned spinach family I am talking about regular spinach/beet/lambs quarter family aka this:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amaranthaceae#Economic_importance

Chaya Mansa is actually in the cassava/castor oil/rubber tree family.
Any type of plant cover is better than no plant cover, likewise any chop and drop is better than nothing. But starting out, I would really only focus on plants in the legume family and grass family. Adler makes a wonderful chop and drop. Also if you can import carbon to your site esp if it is free it will do wonders. You can use animal bedding, stale bread, used vegetable oil, sawdust, woodchip, they will all increase your soil life, which is where the fertility is found in tropical soil even more so than soils up north.



 
Jason Walter
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S Bengi wrote:When I mentioned spinach family I am talking about regular spinach/beet/lambs quarter family aka this:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amaranthaceae#Economic_importance

Chaya Mansa is actually in the cassava/castor oil/rubber tree family.
Any type of plant cover is better than no plant cover, likewise any chop and drop is better than nothing. But starting out, I would really only focus on plants in the legume family and grass family. Adler makes a wonderful chop and drop. Also if you can import carbon to your site esp if it is free it will do wonders. You can use animal bedding, stale bread, used vegetable oil, sawdust, woodchip, they will all increase your soil life, which is where the fertility is found in tropical soil even more so than soils up north.





Thank you Benji

https://www.permaculturenews.org/2017/04/28/chop-drop-effectively/

https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/tr003#:~:text=Description%20of%20Plant%3A%20Sunn%20hemp,arranged%20spirally%20along%20the%20stem

https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/aa217
 
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Jason,

You might consider something like Crimson Clover.  Crimson Clover is frequently used as a soil builder.  It is a strong nitrogen fixer, fixing among the highest counts of nitrogen of any nitrogen fixer.  In your area this is a winter annual, meaning that it will likely only last one season.  Consider planting it where you plan to put in garden beds.  Since you have 3 years to prepare, you could go a long ways to getting some soil established before planting your garden.

Good Luck,

Eric
 
Jason Walter
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Eric Hanson wrote:Jason,

You might consider something like Crimson Clover.  Crimson Clover is frequently used as a soil builder.  It is a strong nitrogen fixer, fixing among the highest counts of nitrogen of any nitrogen fixer.  In your area this is a winter annual, meaning that it will likely only last one season.  Consider planting it where you plan to put in garden beds.  Since you have 3 years to prepare, you could go a long ways to getting some soil established before planting your garden.

Good Luck,

Eric



Thanks, Im guessing that I need to get water lines down to the area I plan to plant, Im guessing that no matter what I plan Im gonna have to supplement water, its too far away from my well to consider a hose. I have much of the PVC already but alot more still to buy, its an ongoing project, Im only there on the weekends and sometimes not even the 2 days. At this point Im learning as much as I can and not rushing things, I have already learned more in the last few days from folks on this forum than I had anticipated.
 
Jason Walter
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Eric Hanson wrote:Jason,

You might consider something like Crimson Clover.  Crimson Clover is frequently used as a soil builder.  It is a strong nitrogen fixer, fixing among the highest counts of nitrogen of any nitrogen fixer.  In your area this is a winter annual, meaning that it will likely only last one season.  Consider planting it where you plan to put in garden beds.  Since you have 3 years to prepare, you could go a long ways to getting some soil established before planting your garden.

Good Luck,

Eric



Eric at this point it is bare field with alot of grass and some other weeds sprouting up, are you suggesting that I plant something like this crimson clover now? Im sorry to have to break it down like this but I have zero experience with any of this. Lets say we use Crimson Clover, .......I dont know the steps yet, are these seeds that I would buy? Do they need to be buried in the soil or are they spread with a broadcast spreader?

Can you break down the steps for me so I dont sound like an inexperienced 8 year old. Thanks
 
S Bengi
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You might not have to water. In fact it is best if you don't have to water.
You mentioned that there is already grass there already, thats perfect they are already adding fertility to the soil.
I would now scatter some legume seeds and some of them will grow.

For me personally, I like having my fruit trees in nice rows, just like at a orchard. In a regular orchard there is nice orchard grass between the row. In a permaculture setup we want that space to be filled with 12inch high legumes, that we cut every 4 week, down to 3inches. It's that process of continually cutting the legumes/biomass that will promote soil-life and release bio-available minerals. The layer of orchard grass/legume will also cut down on evaporation, thus cutting down how much watering you need, and the legumes will release nitrogen.

Now before we get to that 'permaculture orchard/foodforest' stage we need to prep the site. Which to me means earthworks, adding carbon (biochar, woodchip, logs/sticks, herbicide free straw/hay, compost, etc), possible drip line irrigation, living mulch/covercropsupport species, microbes (compost tea, mushroom slurry, EM, etc), possible rockdust/lime/etc.

So with a focus on the covercrop/support species/pasture mix.
80% grass and legumes
10% herbs (onion, thyme, celery, etc)
10% plants like kale, moringa, comfrey, spinach. (they are usually high in minerals and or have a tap root)


 
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From my personal experience, I don't believe that moringa fixes nitrogen.  I see no difference between the plants that are growing near the moringa and those that are not.  

But its such a hearty plant that stands up to abuse and neglect.  I barely water my moringa trees as they are in a spot that isn't easy to get the hose to.  But they seem to thrive on that neglect.  My hunch is that even if they are not fixing N, they are still pumping sugars down into the soil in the form of root exudates and are still feeding the soil microbiome.  
 
Jason Walter
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S Bengi wrote:You might not have to water. In fact it is best if you don't have to water.
You mentioned that there is already grass there already, thats perfect they are already adding fertility to the soil.
I would now scatter some legume seeds and some of them will grow.

For me personally, I like having my fruit trees in nice rows, just like at a orchard. In a regular orchard there is nice orchard grass between the row. In a permaculture setup we want that space to be filled with 12inch high legumes, that we cut every 4 week, down to 3inches. It's that process of continually cutting the legumes/biomass that will promote soil-life and release bio-available minerals. The layer of orchard grass/legume will also cut down on evaporation, thus cutting down how much watering you need, and the legumes will release nitrogen.

Now before we get to that 'permaculture orchard/foodforest' stage we need to prep the site. Which to me means earthworks, adding carbon (biochar, woodchip, logs/sticks, herbicide free straw/hay, compost, etc), possible drip line irrigation, living mulch/covercropsupport species, microbes (compost tea, mushroom slurry, EM, etc), possible rockdust/lime/etc.

So with a focus on the covercrop/support species/pasture mix.
80% grass and legumes
10% herbs (onion, thyme, celery, etc)
10% plants like kale, moringa, comfrey, spinach. (they are usually high in minerals and or have a tap root)




I think I could really get into this permaculture thing, good clear explanation
 
S Bengi
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Another way to look at cover crop is to think of it as a goat pasture mix.
Here is a goat forage/pasture mix that I found online: https://hancockseed.com/products/grazing-goat-forage-seed-mix

Spring/Summer Blend:
20% Pensacola Bahia
10% Common Bermuda Unhulled
10% Pearl Millet
10% Alfalfa
10% Sunn Hemp
10% Soybean
10% Grazing Ryegrass
5% Crimson Clover Coated
5% Sericea Lespedeza Hulled
5% Grazing Peas
5% Radish

Fall/Winter Blend:
40% Hancock’s Pasture Ryegrass
15% Grazing Fescue
15% Alfalfa
10% Grazing Winter Pea
5% Forage Chicory
5% Red Clover
5% Daikon Radish
5% Birdsfoot Trefoil

Here is another more simplified mix: https://www.naturesseed.com/pasture-seed/poultry-pastures/florida-tropics-poultry-forage-blend/
• 45% Bermudagrass
• 25% Forage Chicory
• 10% Crimson Clover
• 10% Forage Pea
• 10% White Clover
 
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hau Jason, I love the fact that you are asking good questions and you have two very know ledgable people giving answers.

Moringa does not fix N, it is;; high in many micronutrients, iron, protien and can save people suffering malnutrition. If you can grow moringa you have; 1. Great food source, 2.  Coppice wood fuel source and a good "helper" plant if trying to create a fertile soil. The leaves are one of the few "miracle" foods on this planet.

Clovers (all of them) are wonderful soil buillders, but these are only a "the best start" group of plants. ( check. My soil series to glean others you might want to try or add).

Redhawk
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