As to the conference itself, it was an interesting mix of growers/producers and academics working on the plant. Particularly interesting were the experiences by Emilio and his associates growing moringa way up north in Mexico in the Monterrey area. This is way outside of moringa’s usual comfort zone, with frosts in winter being light but regular occurrences. The plants get killed back to the branches and sometimes main trunks, but the growers find that the production is enough for their needs, which include a very impressive self-contained organic farm.
Emilio and his students gave us a tour of their moringa plantations, which included plants outside, exposed to the cold, as well as in greenhouses. I show some photos here because they exemplify very high density planting. You can see them grown in rows like traditional crops, with views including seedlings as well as year-old plants. You can see how the trunks get gnarled after repeated harvesting down to near ground level. One of the most interesting and important experiments that they showed us was a series of nutrient deprivation trials. They grew moringas in pots and grew them in media and fertilized them with solutions that lacked a single key nutrient, including the plantsman’s trinity of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. The effect of this treatment was to produce plants that showed the symptoms of these deficiencies and deficiencies only of each one of these nutrients. They then photographed and carefully described the symptoms of each deficiency. This means that it will be possible, when you see your moringa looking sad, to know exactly what nutrient it is lacking. I hope they make this resource available soon because it is going to be invaluable. In short, the meeting was very interesting and I hope to be able to attend the next one. Congratulations, Emilio, for the great work.