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MANGO SEASON IN SINGAPORE CAN BE YEAR-ROUND ...







10 November 2012 | last updated at 09:25PM





Fruit of the Maharajas




By Elaine Yim | mynicegardenblog@gmail.com






The mango tree is regarded as sacred and a symbol of love in Hindu culture, writes Elaine Yim







The fruit can be big, small, oval, round, apple or kidney-shaped.
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IN Hindu culture, the mango tree is regarded as sacred and a symbol of love. The mango has been cultivated in India since time immemorial. It was mentioned in ancient texts, praised by poets and highly regarded by Maharajas. It is regarded as the national fruit of India and considered the king of fruits.




Mango leaves are hung at entrances of homes to invite blessings and prosperity during festivals such as Deepavali and Ponggal, and auspicious occasions like weddings. They are also found in trays of offerings for use in prayers.









Mango trees are easy to grow and maintain. In Malaysia, there is no distinct fruiting season as flowering can occur all year round.




The name mango probably originated from the Tamil word mangai. The Malay name mangga or mempelam is from the Tamil word mangai and the Malayalam word amram respectively.




The scientific name Mangifera indica means a mango-bearing tree from India. There are hundreds of cultivars and more than 1,000 varieties of mango in the world. Popular ones include the Alphonso and Chaunsa from India/Pakistan, Tommy Atkins, Haden, Keitt and Van Dyke from the United States.








In Malaysia, we have Chok Anan, Nam Doc Mai, Mas Muda, Malgoa, Apple, MAHA 65, Golek and Harumanis and many more.




 Cultivars are differentiated by the size of the tree as well as weight, shape, texture, flavour and colour of the fruit.






The fruit can be big, small, oval, round, apple or kidney-shaped.












THE PLANT



Native to the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia, the mango is a medium to large evergreen tree that can grow to about 30m tall and up to 10m wide. There are also dwarf and semi-dwarf varieties between 2.5m and 6m tall.




The tree has an umbrella-shaped crown, a stout trunk and strong roots that penetrate deep into the ground. The average life span of a mango tree is 20-25 years but some can live up to 100 years and still bear fruit.




The leaves are oval in shape. The shoots are orange-pink and change to a glossy red and green as they mature. Foliage is beautiful and dense.




The tiny white flowers are pollinated by the Asiatic honey bee (Apis cerana). The fruits take between three and six months to ripen and change from green to yellow, orange or red.







How to grow them

Propagation. You can buy a grafted mango tree from the nursery or grow one from seed. Growing from seed does not always guarantee a good quality fruit as it may not be identical to the parent tree.




North-Indian mango seeds are monoembryonic, containing only one embryo inside the seed husk while Southeast Asian mangoes are mostly polyembryonic i.e. they contain several embryos that are clones of the parent. It takes five to eight years for seedling trees to bear fruit. The trees can grow very huge and strong.




Grafted trees are more suited for the home garden. They are of a more manageable height and will bear good quality fruits in about three to four years’ time.




Before transplanting, place the new plant in the chosen location for a week or so to acclimatise it. Dig a hole twice the width of the root ball and the same depth as the roots.




If the surrounding soil is too hard, loosen it so that the roots can penetrate easily. Add some compost to the bottom of the hole. Place the plant in the centre and refill until soil is level with the ground and water it.




Sunlight. Grow outdoors under the full sun.
Soil. The medium should be light and well-draining. It can adapt to a wide range of soils but loamy soil is most suitable.




Water. Regularly water when young and cut down when established. Do not overwater.




Fertilise. Wait for the transplanted tree to get established and grow stronger roots before applying a well-balanced fertiliser every three months during the first three years and every six months thereafter.




Harvesting. Yield will depend on weather changes, pest or diseases and mango variety. Mature trees can produce between 100 and several hundred fruits per fruiting season. Cover the developing fruits with paper bags.





Pruning. After harvest, prune back to a manageable size and height. Cut off branch tips to encourage flowering.




Pest and diseases. It may be attacked by branch borers and anthracnose disease. Weevils and fruit fly larvae may feed on the fruit.







TIPS


• If you have more land, you can grow a few varieties of mango to enjoy multiple harvests at different times of the year. Plant them at least 6m apart.



• When harvesting, be careful of mango sap which may cause allergy and skin irritations.



I wish all my Hindu readers Happy Deepavali!


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Alphonso





Alphonso (mango)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia








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