In The Garden: Mango fruit is a summer treat
Mango (Magnifera indica L.) is one of the most sought after and delicious tropical fruits in the world and you can grow them right here in your own yard. In Florida, mangos are grown commercially in Dade, Lee, and Palm Beach counties and as door yard trees in warm locations along the southern coastal areas and along the southern shore of Lake Okeechobee. The fruit has been cultivated in India for more than 4,000 years and originated in the Indo-Burma area of the globe.
Mangos are related to pistachios and cashews. There are many varieties of mango and their fruits range from a few ounces to as much as 5 pounds. The fruit has a leathery thick skin that comes in many colors of green, red, pink and orange, while the edible flesh inside is a rich yellow. The most common types that do well in our area and are especially delicious are Kent and Bailey’s Marvel and one called Carrie that only gets 12 feet to 15 feet in height.
The trees generally grow large, from 30 feet upward, and take up a lot of room eventually. They are great producers of the delectable fruit and you can harvest as much as 200 to 300 pounds of fruit from a single mature tree, when given the proper planting conditions and care. Mangos do best in full sun and should be given plenty of room to grow. Plant them at least 20 feet from any structure, power lines or other large trees. You can prune the trees after the harvest to maintain a good shape and reduce possible storm damage.
To maximize good fruit production, plant mangos in well-drained soil. If planting in a lower part of the yard prone to occasional flooding from heavy rains, mounding up the planting area by about 2 feet to 3 feet is recommended, then dig the hole for the tree. The types of mango tree you will be able to buy for this area do well in the sandy soil. If you wish to amend the soil with top soil or other organic matter, only mix 50/50 with the native soil.
Mango fruit is truly a summer treat. You can make mango salsa to go with grilled fish, you can make ice cream and ices from the fruit, or just slice it up and enjoy. Any way you slice it, mangos are a delicious summer treat.
In The Garden is a joint effort by all at the local garden center, at 3889 Sanibel Captiva Road, Sanibel. For information, contact 239-395-5859 or visit www.facebook.com/rswalshinthegarden.