By André the Farmer
Hey guys here Andrew the farmer, and this week I wanted to tell you about one of my favorite fruits to grow and eat. It is also a fruit that currently grows very well in central Florida.
I say currently because 30 years ago it was thought it was too cold for mangoes to grow here. Yes, that’s right, let’s talk mangoes. And before you tell the grammar police, plural mango can be mangos or mangos; both are correct.
July and August are mango harvest time and sort of the last call for planting new mango trees in central Florida. So let’s talk mangoes.
First, know that there are over 500 varieties of mangoes growing in Florida alone. So, on my property, I grow about 20 different varieties of mangoes, each with different characteristics.
New mango varieties are developed by simply planting a seed. The tree that will grow from this seed may take 5-12 years to produce fruit and will not be identical to the original fruit from which the seed originated. You roll the genetic dice when you plant a mango seed from that mango that was so delicious.
Here’s how to create new varieties of mangoes.
A good example is my Carrie mango tree, a variety commonly grown in Florida. But it is said to be the granddaughter of the most famous mango in the Caribbean, the Julie. This means that someone planted a Julie mango seed, harvested fruit from that tree, then planted the seed of that fruit, and the resulting tree was a Carrie mango. So when you plant a mango seed and grow a mango with a unique taste, you can give it a name. To propagate this mango and make new trees, you would need to air layer it or graft branches onto other trees.
All mango trees you buy from reputable nurseries are grafted trees. This is the only way to ensure you get the variety of mango you are looking for and fruit within two years of planting. This brings us to planting. The best time to plant a mango tree is 20 years ago, the second best time is early summer, and the third best time is now before we get too deep into August. Mango trees can thrive in central Florida, but a freeze can also kill them, so it’s best to plant them in the ground and establish them well before the cold weather hits.
If possible, you want to plant mango trees in full sun, but they can tolerate partial shade. One of the biggest concerns I hear about growing mango trees is that they get too big. Well, that’s not entirely true. A mango tree will only get bigger if you allow it. By pruning you can control the size of the tree. Also, many dwarf mango varieties such as Carrie, Pickering, and Coconut Cream are available. Yes, I said coconut cream. So what are you waiting for.? Let’s start planting, and you too can take care of this life.
Life in permaculture.
Interested in meet Andrew the Farmer and learn more about life in permaculture? Visit permaculturelife.com and sign up for the weekly newsletter for more gardening tips. You can also follow Andre the Farmer on Instagram, TikTok or YouTube. And you can also meet him at his “day job”, where he is known as Dr André Baptiste, your local orthodontist!
Andrew the Farmer,