Plant Andean Maca: [Pests, Irrigation, Land Preparation and More]

Maca (Lepidium meyenii) is a plant native to the Andes, mainly in the area of ​​Peru. It is used both for food and beer dishes and for health problems.

In addition, athletes often use it toimprove energy performance.

Other names by which it is commonly known are Andean maca, maca-maca, maino, ayak chichira, ayak willku.

Important Points to Plant Maca:

crop association

Maca grows invery hostile terrainas it is resistant to frost.

It is normally harvested individually as it absorbs many nutrients. If the climatic conditions where you live are not very extreme, you can plant it next to the Laurel.

Where to plant Maca?

You can plant the Maca in a medium to large pot, that is,about a foot deepand in diameter since in the first months it develops under the ground.

This herbaceous plant is native to the Andes, so it resists low temperatures (-20 degrees Celsius) and normally stays in a range between 4° and 7° degrees.

Likewise, it resists exposure to the sun; however, if temperatures exceed 22°, place it in the shade. Canlive at very high altitudes(up to 4,500 meters above sea level).

When to plant Maca?

Normally it is recommended that you sow it in the rainy season, when winter is over and spring begins. The month will depend on the area and the hemisphere.

How do we prepare the land?

The bedabsorb many nutrientsespecially in the early stages of growth, so it is essential that you make sure that the soil is rich in them.

On the other hand, the ideal soil for its growth isthe sandy loam,which does not have many nutrients. Therefore, add organic matter as compost.

Phosphorus and potassium solutions are the best option to optimize the soil.

As for the seeds, the size of these is very small, so you have to spread them on the pot or garden in order to increase the probability that they germinate.

Subsequently, cover with a layer of soil taking care that it is spread evenly. Maca grows in soils with quite acid pH values ​​below five.

How do we water the Andean maca?

During the first days until germination (approximately 25 days),irrigate with plenty of water without flooding.

If it is planted outdoors, let it be watered with rainwater and make sure the soil stays moist. Once it has germinated , decrease the amount of irrigation water.

Plant Maca step by step

  1. First, prepare the soil with plenty of organic matter. Broadcast a few seeds and cover with more soil.
  2. Water abundantly until it germinates. After this stage the maca develops its underground part for about eight or nine months depending on the weather conditions.
  3. The external part of the maca usually develops until the second year of life. However, you can extract it before this happens since the edible part of the maca grows buried.
  4. Remove weeds and do not let abundant leaves grow so that the root grows faster. If the plant has already created leaves, it means that it is big enough to transplant to a larger place.
  5. Once the plant has grown, it may need up to 70 centimeters of space (between each plant and deep).

When and how is it harvested?

It is usually harvested after the vegetative period, that isbetween eight and ten monthsafter its germination.

The part that is used for human consumption is called the hypocotyl and it is the first organ of expansion of the seed before becoming a stem.

When extracting this part of the plant, be careful not to damage the other part of the root so that it can continue to produce food. If necessary, replenish compost and nutrients.

Once the plant is harvested, dry the roots in the sun for a month. If you live in a place with little exposure to the sun, place them for as long as necessary until the root is completely dry, taking care not to expose it to the cold , otherwise the root can burn and lose its properties.

Once it’s completely dry, store it in a shaded, well-ventilated, airtight container. Take care that the container closes correctly since it can be invaded by moths or weevils.

What pests and diseases does it have?

Maca can suffer pests and diseases such asthe weevilduring growth orthe mothsduring storage.

To prevent these insects you have to constantly remove the weeds and not expose the plant to sudden changes in temperature or lack of nutrients.

the weevil

The weevil is a very small type of beetle and is usually brown in color.

They reproduce quickly and in large numbers.

They normally develop in humid conditions, so if they affect the maca, it is recommended that you remove as many as possible. Cut the leaves and lower the temperature in the area where you are growing the plant.

To ensure that no larva has remained, spray the area with potassium soap or some organic fertilizer.

If the weevil has already attacked the maca, it is best to put the container in the freezer so that the insects die and then discard the content. To prevent its reappearance, check all the products with which the maca was stored.

the moth

On the other hand, the moth is a pest that generally infests food stores.

If this has happened, it is best to get rid of all the infested food, vacuum the entire area to remove possible nests with larvae and then wash with hot water and soap.

Some natural remedies to prevent their appearance or prevent their return is to place a laurel plant nearby and wash the surfaces with white vinegar. There are also other options such as chemical insecticides.

Andean maca benefits

  • Maca is recognized for being beneficial for the reproductive system as it is an excellent hormonal balancer and aphrodisiac.
  • That is why it is used for women with irregular menstruation, to treat infertility problems and to improve the functioning of the sexual organs.
  • It also helps increase energy in the body. Therefore, it is good to increase sports performance whether professional or not.
  • It should be noted that it is recommended to ingest it in small quantities and during the day since some people usually present symptoms such as hyperactivity or insomnia after consuming it.
  • It is part of the foods called superfoods or superfoods for having a high nutritional content. That is, it has a large number of vitamins and minerals.

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