Moringa Leaves

Doing some routine checking of plants in the garden and found this little guy chillin on the tallest Moringa tree in my garden.

praying mantis

Pretty cool.  They’ve been hanging around, but haven’t seen one actually in the Moringa.  Praying Mantis’s are beneficial insects and help keep the population of bad bugs down.

Moringa Leaves

Since I have been fertilizing the Moringa with Ultra-Green, color bloom fertilizer, which I got on sale at Lowe’s, They have been growing like gangbusters.  Apparently the lack of some nutrient that is in the fertilizer (NPK), is what was causing the oversized leaves and probably lowered the plant’s ability to fight off the mildew.  Above is a normal, healthy spray of leaves, below are some of the mutant leaves, which I suspect are abnormal due to the nutrients being leached out of the plant itself instead of from the soil.

abnormal moringa leaves

That’s pretty much it.  Here is a picture of some Moringa sprouts that are growing in my grow box indoors.  They got really lanky, but they did shoot up in a day or two.  Quickly growing too much Moringa to be able to keep it all growing indoors through the winter without a greenhouse.  Hoping to get some funding from somewhere to build one soon.  Also started work on my new website about my agricultural consulting, information specialist company called Botanic Planet.

Moringa oleifera seedlings

I figure it will cost about $300 to build a really good greenhouse using reclaimed lumber, and windows from the reclaimed building supply store down the street.  Time is the real hindering factor since I prefer to spend time with my family on occasion.  It’s a high priority.  Tonight my daughter and I built a fort and read books till she got tired.  Good times.


Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)

MRSA is a strain of staph bacteria that is resistant to antibiotics currently used to combat staph infections.  People who work in hospitals, prisons and other places where there is a lot of interpersonal contact are likely to catch it.  It can cause boils on the skin and it can also complicate invasive surgery.

Although there are currently available combinations of antibiotics that can combat this bacteria, it is by nature an adaptive creature and it is unknown how long current treatments will remain effective against it.

Once it is discovered that you are infected, you will need to alert medical personnel whenever you are admitted to a hospital and they will post a red sign outside your area.  They will also don protective gear before entering your area or touching you.

I am posting this article after reading on Scientific American that living near pig farms, or fields that have been fertilized with unsterilized pig feces puts you at high risk for contracting this bacteria.  While my dream is to one day run a farm, I do not intend to raise livestock for consumption.

If you start getting boils like this, immediately apply triple-antibiotic with a bandage to the effected area and see a physician for testing.


two drops per gallon

So, I saw an interesting product on the shelf at the hardware store, in the gardening section, called Superthrive.  It looked interesting, but the packaging was kind of crazy, and obfuscated, and didn’t tell you much about the product, except that it was good for plants.  More research required.

Superthrive in new packaging

So, I went home and looked it up on amazon etc. and lots of people use it.  Most people say positive things about it, but many people probably just put their two drops per gallon and assume that it’s helping.  (there are many drops in 4 oz.)  So, I write to the company and request a free sample, which they are happy to provide, and the bottle is kind of annoying, so I put it into a plastic bottle with a flip-top drip cap.

flip-top drip bottle

Much easier to use, no spilling and much less wasted time.  It contains, “.09% vitamin B1, .048% 1-Napthyl acetic acid”, which is a plant growth hormone that doesn’t occur in nature.  Looked around and someone said it can interfere with flower growth, but is otherwise helpful in encouraging healthy plants and reducing the effects of stress.

moringa cuttings

Good news is, they changed the packaging.  It’s much easier to read and even has very clear directions about the product’s use.  Very cool.  When I look at the new packaging, I think, “oh, this looks interesting” and then, “oh, this was an innovation in 1940”.  Very cool.  Maybe this will help  me get my moringa cuttings to root more consistently.  My most recent crop only sprouted 4 out of 12 cuttings.  They were in a sunny window, and didn’t have any humidity control, plus I am still learning about how much leaf surface they prefer while recovering.


Have been attempting to get chickweed seeds to sprout.  UG.

You would think that they would sprout quite readily since they are a weed seed, and invasive in many places, but I’m just not having any luck.  I’ve tried several packs from different sources, and am only getting one or two tiny little plants to sprout out of hundreds of seeds.


This last time, I attempted with a pack of seeds from Richter’s, which is a great company and I really appreciate all their hard work.  The package of seeds had a LOT of tiny seeds.  Many.  Hundreds.  I sprinkled them in a planter in my window, in a planter outside in a partially covered seed tray, and also in a small container garden in direct sun in my garden outside.  Above is a picture from their catalog, below is a picture from my garden.


Only a few seeds sprouted outside and only one seed sprouted inside, or under cover.  I’m wondering if it got too hot, or what.  Probably they will all sprout at once when the weather is just right and I will have a ton of plants growing all over the place.


I am pretty good at sprouting seeds and these are supposed to be ‘easy’, so, I don’t know.  Above is a picture of some thyme seeds that sprouted quite happily in my window.  I’ll keep working at it.  Below is an apple tree sprout from a pink lady apple.  Apples are not true to seed, but it will still be interesting to see if any of these bear edible fruit.

apple tree sprout

Apparently, it doesn’t like bright light, and prefers cooler temps of early spring for germination.  It’s also a nitrogen scavenger, so it won’t work as a companion crop (which was what I intended to experiment with, oh well.)  It’s still a very nutritious plant, which I intend to grow for personal consumption.

purslane growing as companion crop

In Europe, orchardists encourage it’s growth under their trees for soil conservation, and to stablize moisture and temperature in soil.  I am still considering using it for this purpose, although it may require additional fertilizing.  Trees which had purslane growing under them in my garden grew faster then those which did not have them.

Chickweed is grown as a food crop for people in Bulgaria and as a livestock fodder in Europe.  Perhaps these seeds will all sprout if I simply put the planters in shade.

Germination tips:

  • Bright light reduces germination
  • Sow in top 3/4″ for best germination
  • prefers alkaline soil
  • nitrogen hungry
  • germinates between 2 and 30 degrees Celcius