Civilisations have long turned to herbal remedies to treat sexual difficulties, from infertility to erectile dysfunction. Maca is one such herb used in Peru and Bolivia. Used in teas and extracts to promote sexual health, reduce stress and fight fatigue, the root may be difficult to find in its pure form because it grows abroad. You can grow your own maca with proper preparation and control.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
Things you need
- Soil tiller
- Compost or manure
- Broadcast seeder
- Maca seeds
Clean a plot of land that receives full sunlight for eight hours per day. Remove all stones and pull all weeds.
Till the soil to a depth of 8 inches to cut up weed roots and freshen the soil. As you till, mix in one part manure or compost per four parts regular soil to improve drainage and add extra nutrients to the soil.
Fill a broadcast seeder with maca seeds. Distribute the seeds across the area so that they are spaced 4 to 6 inches apart; plant in early fall so that the seeds are established before winter. The seeds should be covered with no more than ¼ inch of soil so that the sun and water can reach the young plants.
Water the ground thoroughly immediately after planting. Use a watering can or mister to water, as strong jets from a hose could wash seeds away. Water until the soil is thoroughly soaked to encourage germination. The time needed for germination will vary by temperature.
Water the seeds as necessary whenever the top 1 ½ to 2 inches of soil become dry. Avoid overwatering, as this can cause root damage.
Apply a 2- to 3-inch layer of organic mulch over the area to retain moisture and add nutrients to the soil. Mulch will also help to prevent weed growth.
Refresh the soil with a new layer of compost or manure after six months of growth to encourage further growth.
Remove any weeds as soon as you see them by digging or cutting them down. The weeds will compete with the maca for nutrients and water. Under the right conditions, maca will be ready for harvest after eight to 10 months.
Tips and warnings
- You can also cultivate maca in a small area of your garden.
- The maca plant grows best in areas with temperatures between 0 and 21.1 degrees Celsius. Extreme temperature variations can kill the plant. If you cannot accommodate these needs outdoors, consider growing the root in a greenhouse.
- Maca grows best in alkaline or basic soil. If you are unsure about your soil, conduct a soil test, available from garden centres and extension services, to determine the pH of your soil. Alkaline soil measures 7 pH and above.
- Never consume an herbal supplement without first consulting your doctor about proper dosage and potential health risks.
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