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Advancing with mangos

Posted by
Pancrazio 8b - 9a
(gw:Pancrazio~gw:Pancrazio) on
Thu, May 26, 11 at 21:26

Hey everyone.
I just tought would have been interesting for someone in same zone as me to see what i have done till now about trying to grow mango out of they climate.
For me the main point is the winter, wich can be very cold. I think (even if i can't be 100% sure) that i have enough heat in summer to let mangos ripe (at least the early one) so the point for me is keeping the plant alive from december to march.
For now (it is a work in progress, i'll take the building part back in september i guess) i have built the concrete part of the work (this part will stay there all year long).
You can see it there:

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This is a nice Glenn mango that i have been finally able to buy. It also has some fruits, wich i'd like to see ripen this summer, so i can at least undesrtand if mangos can ripe here. If i prune back the new grow (i'd like to get a compact plant, i NEED a compact plant to keep it covered) is likely to see it drop the fruits, right?
The south wall (wich is the one in shadow in this picture) is 3 feet tall wil the east wall is 7 feet tall. I putted the block around the plant because, in my opinion, i really hard to avoid cold air to pass on ground level when you build a structure: in windy nights even little holes can drag a lot of heat: plus it is easier to build a stable structure if you have some concrete block to rely upon.
I filled the block with dirt to increase their thermal mass a insulation: the blocks are this made:

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I can give detailts on the project if someone is interested, but i don't know how much this is usable in usa.

This is a lemon planted from my grandfather: it lives pretty well here, on milder witer it doesn't even need a cover:

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This is a citrus instead: it does some nice sized fruits.

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Back on mango: this glenn in ground of the pic above is starting to show those black spot on some (3-4) leaves. Should i be worried? What i should do? It has been putted in ground just 10 days ago, it looks like it is willing to put out some new growt, but it has developed also those black leaves wich i don't like.
Here's a pic:

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I already gave some copper and sulphur but doesn't seems to have any effect. Can be the excess of sun and heat? Here hasn't been exceptionally hot (85-86F) but plant is just freshly planted in ground...


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Advancing with mangos

Nice pictures! I certainly have first hand experience and feel your pain having to protect that mango tree in the winter. Its a real challenge and wish you the best.

May I ask you what you are going to use to cover the "cement blocks" with? Please elaborate on what you're going to use...inquiring minds want to know :o)

I don't see why your mango fruits wouldn't ripen this summer with you living in zone 8-9. As long as your tree gets sun at least a few hours a day it should ripen.

As soon as you pick your fruits is the best time to prune aka "pug" your tree. Ideally what you want is your new growths to harden off before the first frost/freeze since tender new growths are more sensitive to very cold temps.

I'm not sure what that black stuff is...but since you've already sprayed it with copper and sulphur I would wait and see if that takes care of it? Good luck!


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RE: Advancing with mangos

  • Posted by phucvu 10 b oc, ca (My Page) on
    Fri, May 27, 11 at 13:05

pancrazio, are you the only one trying to grow mangoes in italy or is there a united mango grower group in not just italy but the whole eu?


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@puglvr1: Hi Nancy. It's pretty hard to tell if this can work, because even if i have been lurking here since last year (ad i have read a bit of older posts) the most important idea i got is this one: it is hard to use same metrics for mediterranean europe and america. We share really few climate characteristics.
I have looked at your efforts to keep plants alive during your occasional frost blast, and breaks the heart looking at those healty plants, even flowering ones, pruned by chilling temperatures.
I'm going to try to cover them totally, nothing like frost cloth, because, i already know, i wouldn't work. Maybe it would suffice in really good microclimates, but i already know that i don't have it. So, after building a frame with iron or wood (is hard to decide wich i should use) i'll put some rock wool panels on the north side of the roof (there's no point in putting there something that allows the light to pass, since no light comes from north, only heat loss) while i'll use polycarbonate panels on south side. Then I'll put inside the structure 50-70 gallons of water in metal drums, to increase the termal mass of the structure. I'll keep an eye on temperature then: if it goes too low i have another idea: i can cover everything with some swimming pool cover. They are done to help swimming pool retain heat, so it should be usefull (and big enough to cover everything).
Those are all tentative solutions... see, i think i'll go on lower temperatures than yours, so if this works for me it should work also for you. I'm interested, instead, in what you use to protect the stem of the plant, how long you keep it, and if you take some measure to prevent stem rot when you cover it... as you can imagine you aren't the only inquiring mind. ;)

@phucvu: Hi! I don't know. But actually i don't think there is anything like that. I can't assure you anything regarding not-english-nor-italian-speaking countries but i don't see where it can be outer than italy/greece/spain: other places in europe are simply too cold. In italy there are some people who are interested in tropicals but are a minor group, and not organized... i talked with som people on forums, but everything is on individual basis, i guess. Someone speculated that the lack of interests for tropicals here is because tropicals don't get a place in our culinary tradition; there are of course even climatic reason, but is also true that even where tropicals could have taken place (sicily, for example) they don't develop.
Anyway since 4-5 years a newborn mango industry is growing in sicily, as alternative to oranges. This is where i was able to get my glenn mango. This is where i tasted for the first time my ripe mago and ABSOLUTLY fell in love with that plant (It was a kensington pride).


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Hi Pan, unfortunately I live in a deed restricted neighborhood so I won't be able to build anything permanent (ie cement blocks)...all I can use is something temporary that stays up only during the threat of freezing temps. That's why I use the PVC or Conduits (frame)...frost cloths blankets and tarps. Those can be taken down easily.

Whatever you decide to use I hope it works out well for you. Its definitely the worst part of growing mango trees in less than ideal locations.

As far as covering the trunk...I've used Foam padding that's used for carpeting the home. I've gotten some remnants from the Carpet store. I'm sure you can use many different things...blankets, insulation(attic) and I think even bubble wrap will work. The idea is to cover the trunk especially the "graft area" so if the top growths/branches freeze and dies...hopefully the tree itself won't be killed and will re-grow later. Its NOT always successful depending on the temps and how much protection is given. Once the threat of freeze is over I remove the wrap so it doesn't cause any fungus or diseases on the trunk. I've left in on for a week w/out issues but I wouldn't leave it on longer than that.

Here's a picture of one of the things I've used.


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do they grow mangoes in huge green house complexes or right outside?

when i was kid we had 2 trees, one was xoai cat, the other was the red kind (xoai mu) and the red kind we didn't care much about.

i've been eating mangoes here in the states and most of them are from the philipines and i'm not impressed with any of them, you spend more time flossing the fibers out of your teeth then enjoying the soft flesh of the mango.


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Pan - it looks well thought out with the passive soalr thermal heat capture by the drums of water (paint them black for SURE), the concrete block walls and the polycarbonate panels. I have a pool cover that does what you say....however with your longer stretches of cold cloudy weather in winter (that is true, yes?) you still might consider an alternate heat source - the lights some people use, heaters, etc. to keep the sensitve trees alive.

MangoRover


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Pancrazio, good project. I hope you succeed. Like you mentioned cold protection will be the most important thing for your trees. Like mangodog mentioned, some type of lights or a heater might do the job. I guess the important thing is to monitor the temperature around the tree during winter.

Adiel


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Now in July the tree seems to like the place where it is. Today we got 98F, but the plant doesn't seems to have any problem, and fruit become bigger and bigger. Still they are pretty small but we can expect at least two more months of hot weater. Anyway i'm a bit worried becaus by the end of august time becomes more rainy, and i have read that Glenn don't like that.
I really don't know if they will be able to ripe proprerly, if someone is able to tell me that i would appreciate.
The pictures have been taken on 2nd July.

Tree:

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hi Pancrazio
your glenns look great. they are about the size of my Manilas which will be ready by early Nov. my glenn tree has put out a nice flush but is only holding two mangos in it's first year in the ground which will be ready by late Sept early Oct. here are pics of my Manila and Glenn.

Manilas it has about 30 I will let in hold 5 or six.

Glenn tree and mangos




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Well, apparently you were right jfernandez. My mangos don't seem interested in ripening anytime soon. I would say I'm not going to see it ready before the first half of september, for sure (if ever).
Anyway this is what they looked like about 5 days ago.

Maybe the fact that we have had an awful summer is related to this.
I'm a bit worried because today i saw on the biggest mango a purple spot (like the ones in picture) with a little crack, so i guess it is starting to split. I can't imagine why, Glenn shouldn't split easily, right? And i didn't watered it for weeks (although we have had a pretty rainy july) and last fertilizer is weeks ago too. So, apparently the fruit is wrong, and shouldn't split: but i guess that even if i talk him, it will be hard to convince to not split.


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Pancrazio

we've had a mild summer and my two Glenns have grown to full size(about 2 pounds)and they're taking their sweet time ripening. I guess I'm going to have to wait till Oct. I don't see the crack and the spots don't look normal. If you only have a month left I don't think they'll ripen.



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Hey jfernandez, thank you for your interest.
You can see the crack because it is on the other side of the fruit. Anyway it is really a little fissure, not bigger than any spot. But yes, those spots seem to indicate a problem. But i can't imagine wich one it could be. Anyway, as for today, niether the spots or the crack have gone bigger, so i'm guessing that i just have to wait.
I have a favour to ask to you: can you tell me the name of your closer meterological station (if you don't mind) and the approx. day in wich your glenn flowered? I want to try to calculate the "degree-day" my mango received compared to yours, to better evalutate "how far back" mine are behind yours. (To be honest i don't expect my mangos to become very big because the plant isn't so well established - I planted it just in may, i'm even surprised it kept some fruit... next year i'll prune all of them, to let the tree develop a bit).
Too bad i really have few days of "full summer" (daily max temp about 85F) remaining. After august weather will deteriorate quickly, but if i have some (much-needed) luck i can hope for an hot september or october. September is pretty hot usually, but for october... well if it will turn hot i'll consider myself lucky. Usually after 15 november the risk of sub-freezing temps will start, so you can imagine that the end of october hasn't the kind of temperature good for mango developement... we will see. If mango here won't work i will start with some lychee hunting. :)


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Ok, so my little experiment went to an end, and a bit earlier than i expected.
Actually last monday i picked all the mangoes of my tree (for a grand total of TWO mangos); they were somewhat ripe but very very small and ugly (actually they didn't grow at all since my previus picture). I think the nice hot weather of last two weeks somewhat speeded up the process, whatever it was.
I'm inclined to think this as a failure, just because i didn't found any embrio inside the seed. So i really don't know if they were supposed to fall off anyway; I noticed that sometimes the fruit that are about to fall do some kind of ripening; maybe this is what happened with my fruits.
Anyway they tasted very very good; and the scent was also very good, very sweet. I shared them with my grandmother (there wasn't any more than a small bite from each of them). She never tasted mango before and she insisted for me to find a way to grow more of them. :)
The have ripened about just 10 days after the day they are supposed to ripen in sicily, wich is 1000 km south of my house: i expected about a month of dealy.
So, now, it starts the dangerous part: overwintering it.
What do you guys think?

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  • Posted by phucvu 10 b oc ca (My Page) on
    Fri, Aug 26, 11 at 20:00

is that a us penny?


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I would think that keeping your Glenn living in a container with good pruning practices would be the safest and easiest way to do it, especially since you're in zone 8b/9, whereas these mangoes seem to be safest in zone 9b/10a or higher, in order to avoid cold damage.

What about bringing the container inside your house (or at least garage) whenever temperatures are forecasted to go below 40 F (4.5 C) at night/morning.

I found this link on pruning very informative. Dr Campbell really seems to know how to keep the mango trees small and manageable.

http://www.virtualherbarium.org/TropicalFruit/mangopruning.html

Good luck! Next year should bring even more fruit :)

Brad in Florida


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Sorry pancrazio, just noticed further up in the pictures that the Glenn is already in the ground. :)

I wonder how effective a water sprinkler running all night would be, as compared to wrapping the trunk and placing a lightbulb and sheet there....?


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Yes, that is a us penny indeed. Small mango, uh? ;)

Hey bradflorida, thank you for your answer. Yes, them mango is already in ground; i just wanted to make this bet, mainly because, of course, a tree in gound could reach a size way bigger than in pot. For heat i don't think i'll use the classical light bulb, because i spotted, few months ago, some interesting infra-red lamps in a nursery here. They also have a way to direct the heat towards a single point, so i assume this should at least save the trunk. Those lamps are supposed to heat chicks during winter, so i'm guessing they are pretty effective. I plan to use a thermometer to automatically light the lamp when the temperature goes under 32-34 F.
I really hope for it to bring more fruit (if survives) but next year i'll prune them all to let the plant grow a bit. This shoudl help the plant during next winters, i hope.
Anyway, i thoug about the sprinkler, but i abandoned the idea. I think is impractical, at least for me: i have a well, but is pretty far away from the plant. In addiction, our day temprature can be pretty low; if the night has been colder than average, i can expect even a day (or few days) under 40. I fear that, if the plant get closed in an ice block during the first night, ice can last around it for too long, damagine the plant anyway: i prefer, then, to avoid sub freezing temperatures at all.
(there is a final issue too: winter is our wet season, so the root will have plenty of water around them: i don't want to stress them more by adding some melitng ice on top of them. :) )
I'm more optimistic about a well built greenhouse. Last year my unheater greenhouse was able to retain heat above freezing even with 16F outside; the mangos i keep there weren't damaged at all.

I'll take your suggestion and soon i'll buy a replacement for this mango: i want a potted glenn, just in case. :)

In few weeks i'll build the structure. Mangos are just addictive!


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Pancrazio

Small Glenns but so was Tammys in Northern California btw, your tree looks great! but the winter???? I don't think mangos survive that far North but who know.Keep us updated

JF


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  • Posted by phucvu 10 b oc ca (My Page) on
    Tue, Aug 30, 11 at 20:35

it was surprising to see the penny used in italy.

how much for a store bought mango in italy and where are most of them imported from or are they mostly domestic production?


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Wow Pancrazio, you are really on a mission. That is impressive. I wish you the best of luck. Keep us posted on how it works out this winter.

Brad


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Hi everyone.

@jfernandez: I dunno what will happen this winter. I think best attitute can be "prepare for the wrost and hope for the best". To be honest, i can't rely on nobody. I have done some serious research on the net and seems that nobody else here has tried this before (or at least, not someone i'm aware of) here in central italy. Even hearing someone that says "i have failed" would be better than my blind experiments. At least in that can i could use their errors! Apparently everyone seems to assume that it is undoable. Few months ago some people told me to not ever TRY with POTTED mangos because we missed the summer heat. You may wonder: did those people try and failed? It was the same question i asked myself. No, i tell you, they didn't even tried, but still tried to convince me to not even try. At least, regarding fruits, i can hope to have proved them (somewhat) wrong.

@phucvu: To be honest, this penny has been sitting in my wallet for a long time. Here we use the euro-cent, but i tough that putting a penny would have been useful for most of this board, bacause as far as i know most of you don't use the metric scale in their everydy life. Still I needed the metric scale for comparison, mainly for reference in next years.
Here a kilogam of mangos costs 2,65 euros. That's 3,76 USD for a kilogram. That's 1,75 USD/lb, if i haven't done any mistake.
The mangos that they usually sell here are just awful. They mainly smell like turpentine, and to be honest i can recall a single mango in last year that have had even the slightest sweet note in their scent. The only exception happens in september/ottober. Some groceries sell the italian mangos, that are grown in sicily. They taste like heaven to me. Apparetly they all are Kensigton Pride and they are the reason why i started to grow mangos. This product is of very limited aviability during the year, and this kind of product has started to arrive on the market only few years ago. The italian mango industry has born only few years ago. I guess that the main difference between italian and imported mango comes from ripeness of the fruit and the picking stage: mangos that need to be air-transported need to be picked green. But this is only my assumption, and some time ago i heard that mangos grown in marginal climates somewhat had superior quality. But i can't really tell.

@bradflorida: I'll keep you posted. We will see in 15 may 2012. If it survives till that day i can really say it can be done.


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still cheaper than the pakistani mango at $10 each.

where does italy import mangoes from?

there was another italian poster talking about mango, i don't know if you saw that. maybe you guys should get together and bring the italian mango industry up to a whole new level.


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Most of ours mangos come from Brazil. Usually i can't say what kind of variety are those, but lately i have seen some of them listed as tommy atkins.
Italian consumers is so uneducated regarding mangos (and generally regarding tropical fruits) that something so subtle like the variety name looks very unimportant to them. I think that this is mainly due the fact that there aren't use in our traditional cuisine for tropical fruit, so there is even little interest for them.
I haven't seen the italian guy you are talking about. It would be nice to share experiences with someone from my country, indeed.


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hmm i thought it would be somewhere closer like egypt.

Here is a link that might be useful: guy from venice


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Pancrazio: If nothing else you have a lot of the forum behind you and willing to help in any long distance way we can. We want you to succeed, of course. I think mango lovers are a brotherhood with no country boundaries...

Anyway, what I wanted to say was maybe set your thermostat for around 40 degrees instead of 32-34? Less frosty type cold means less stress for the plant in my opinion. Unless that is going to be too expensive to run your Chick-heating setup....

Just be careful if you use plastic. If the sun comes out and you have a warmish day, it could cook the plant pretty good - I learned that hard lesson this last winter. I'm going strictly with frost cloth this winter....

And don't stress out about the small fruit you had this year. The plant is young, getting its bearings. Each year it grows it's gets more capable of supporting full sized fruit. Keep up the fight. I see way back when you first posted this you have a whole concrete block structure planned for protection. Seems to me you're doing everything right....BUena Suerte Amigo...

MangoWoofie


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Hey, phucvu, thank you for the link. I contacted her but no response so far.

Mangodog, i agree with you: it's nice to see someone succeed in a try to grow a plant. Even for the least empatic of us the value of the experice gather in every attempt is worth the attention. I have have done a lot of research about people growing mangos in marginal climates last year, and it has helped me a lot.
For the thermostat issue: i think that i'll go with 32F. I have 2 reasons for this. First one: some days, expecially the cloudy ones, we don't have a very high daily max. Maybe just 40 as max (I'm speaking of january). But those days aren't the ones i worry about, because even if the day is cold, the night is warmer and i can hope it to stay above the frost point. The point is:even if those aren't the wrost days, with the thermostat set at 40F i keep the thermostat turned on all the time: i need to be more selective, instead. The second reason is that last year i have had my mangos at 34 for 48 hours with no apparent damage (they were potted under a snow-covered greenhouse, ant they were pretty dry) so i'm guessing that the can tolerate cold for an extended time if it stays above freezing pint (at least till they are dry).

Anyway i'm sorry for the delay in the answers but i wanted to reply in this thread only when my work on the mango cover was finished, so here i'm.
This is the frame:
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This my work finished. The cover is 7 feet high and i can dismantle completly on summer.
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This is the side view. As you can see this is asimmetrical. The south is on the right. The south side is 60' inclined so the sun during january will hit it with around a 90' angle. The north side is 45' instead. I'm at 44' N, so this means that the north side of the cover will project a shadow inside the cover only between 21 march and 21 september (which i don't care because it is summer).
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This is the north side. I have done my best to try to insulate it as much i was able to. The north side is just an heat loss so i wanted it as insulated as possible.
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

And here you can see the plant with the water. Right now i have 250 litres of water inside (this should be about 50 US gallons). In my intentions this should avoid temperature rising too much during the day and falling too much during the night.

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Let's see what happens. If this doesn't work i'll have to grow them in pot for sure! :)


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I think a foot depth of mulch on that ground would help


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You put lots of work into this. I like the water for thermal mass, preserving some daytime warmth. Plus concrete blocks and wall=thermal mass. I think I see one mango in a pot for your backup plan


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  • Posted by phucvu 10 b oc ca (My Page) on
    Thu, Nov 17, 11 at 12:43

wow.

your blood must be 100% olive oil hehe.


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ZANDS !!!!! you've got mail
(sorry for hijacking)

Tim


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Great job! Water for thermal mass is also a very good idea!

Good luck :-)


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Pan - you done real good.

Got all the angles going and heat-storing started. I'm guessing it could take more of those blue barrels like the one you got in there, if you had room, and I would paint them black or a darker color - that will absorb the most heat from the sun. I'd paint the inside concrete blocks dark too, also maybe the back wall and maybe put some dark gravel on the floor for drainage and more heat gain. I think in your cold climate you want everything light touches to absorb it's heating capacity.

One last thing - think about ventilation of some kind for at the end of winter when you start getting some warmer days - in an air tight setup you can cook plants even if the outside temp does not seem that cold. I'm sure you'll keep a thermometer in there....

But all in all, I think you are ready to be the envy of all of Italy! (it is Italy where you live, right?)

:)

MD


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@phucvu: Hehe. My brother works in a restaurant so we don't have a shortage of used olive oil cans, and indeed here we use olive oil for almost any recipe. Anyway i like those 1-gallon can (those are actually 5 litres cans) because they exchange heat quickly, being made of metal.

@mangodog: Right, i'm in italy. I think your idea of black paint is really good, i'm willing to do it but right now i haven't enough time. I just putted inside two more 25 gallon black drums. For now, anyway, i'm pretty happy. Tonight we have had 32F and the thermometer inside the cover (just close to the graft point) simply showed 51F: I need some more datas but i'm impressed, even if lately we have had sunny days wich are the best to maximize the greenhouse efficency. I recorded just the temperatures of last week, but before i started records we have had some night at 29 with no damage at all. Instead of damage the plant has putted out a growt flush! It is hardening right now.
Regarding the high temperature: i'm worried too but i must admit that i don't have a plan. I can't add anything right now, to be honest, because i fear to cripple everything. I think that the most simple solution is to open the plastic cover on the roof while keeping the struture intact: this will allow the heat to escape and will still provide some protection from light frosts.

@phxplantaddict: I don't know if i should add the mulch. I haven't no clue about this but i think (seems reasonable to me) that i can rely on bare ground for some more heat exchange. I fear, if i add the much, to better help the root but also decrease the air temperature during the night (wich is my primary concern).

@zands: Yes, i have some more mangos in pots (the few ones i was able to gather here in italy). If i wont be successfull anyway, i won't try with a mango once more, but i think i will go for a lychee, wich should be a bit more cold tolerant. So far i haven't had problems with lemons, so i guess that lychee, that are just a bit more tender, should be doable. The downside is that mangos, except for frost, seem to more a bit more easy to grow overall, but frost is obviusly a big problem.

Let's hope for best! Thank you all!


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Pancrazio,

Where are you in Italia? I have cousins in Barcelona and they can't even grow an Avocado. I wish you the best of luck; your structure looks very cool. I hope it keeps your mango tree warm.

JF


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I also hope for success.
I live in Florence, Tuscany ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florence ).
It's strange indeed that your cousins aren't able to grow an avocado. Barcelona seems pretty hot in winter (surely way hotter than here) and grapefruit and avocados should thrive there. Of course since apparently winter can be cold, expecially outside the center of the city, maybe an appropriate selection of the cultivar should be done. Anyway in Barcelona growing mangos must be possible.


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Pancrazio

I've never seen a mango or an Avocado tree in Barcelona and I've been there in different seasons. I have family who live in the city and my son spend two semesters up there. The winter seem way too cold especially when it freezes - that's like trying to grow a mango or an avocado tree in Atlanta. I think below Valencia it might be doable otherwise you have to head way down south to Malaga or Cadiz. Good luck!

JF


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I really don't know why they don't grow mangoes there. I can only guess that it is similar to Italy: mango's taste doesn't fit well in the local cuisine, so, except for those of us that really like the fruit, there is little reason to grow them. You won't find them in many recipes, the demand will always be low: it will takes decades to make them more widespread.
Anyway i want to thank you for the Atlanta example: it seems very similiar to the climate of Florence. ;) There are, of course, some differences (we don't have, for example, "frost spells" the temperature here rarely drops so much has happens in USA, because we have the Alps blocking the air from the North pole) but the climate seems more or less the same.

Anyway i posted here just to say that for now the "solar greenhouse" works better than i expected. It is keeping the temperature consistently 16-18F abouve the temperature outside WITHOUT any electrical input. Solar power used at 100%. I didn't install the chicken heater at all. Last week we have had 5 days with sub freezing nights (during the second night we had 22,6F, during the third we had 26F and during the fourth night we had 22F. The other night were at 28F.). The days were sunny but record high has been 42F. Even this, the record low inside the cover has been 40.5F. Even the new growt hasn't been damaged, so now i'm starting to feel a bit optimistic. This is now way a record low on a multi-year perspective, but these temperature are for sure well under the average for my city, so i can imagine it won't get much more colder that this. Next six/eight weeks anyway will be the hardest, and if something can go wrong, it will happen then, but now i hope to be able to keep the plant alive till spring.


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RE: Advancing with mangos

Pancrazio,

Congrats on your greenhouse construction and surviving mango tree. I take it you plan to vigorously prune to keep the trees small and contained, in the greenhouse structure? Or are you planning to expand the height in the future?


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RE: Advancing with mangos

IF you get the time, Pan, painting that wall black and putting more black water-filled containers in there could make the diff. during the challenging next 6-8 weeks.

I so want you to succeed!!!!!!! You're doin' GREAT!!!!!

Please report every couple weeks over this winter, OK????

MangoDog who's Rootin' for you!


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RE: Advancing with mangos

@nullzero
Thank you. Yes, i plan to prune it. I really don't know how much vigorously... here mangos don't grow much. I don't expect big flushes: basically all the time they have enough heat, they should also have fruit attached, so they shouldn't have a lot of energy for vegetative growt.
Next year anyway i will hard prune the plant. I want it as bushy as possible... sems the right thing to do but i'm upset about the delay in my first "serious" mango crop... i need it also very soon to see if fruit growt and taste are somewhat normal.
I can't expand the heigh, no way. It's long and boring to explain but here there are some laws aganist that, and the structure now is as high as much as law permits.

@mangodog
Yes, i followed your suggestions, and i must admit it helped! I haven't take any picture yet. I putted in two big balck drums filled with water. I just didn't paint the wall because during summer it is visible, and i don't want it black. Thank you for your interest!

I'll update you all in some weeks.


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RE: Advancing with mangos

A little update. We have had two horrible nights, with temperature about 21F. Into the cover, anyway, the air didn't go lower than 41F.
So far those were the wrost nights of this winter, but at the end of january air starts to get a little hotter, so things should be get better and better starting from now. Statistically we can have very cold nights for the next month, but from now they start to become "less likely" instead of "more likely".
Things are working incredibly well, for now: today, when i got in the cover to weekly check the minimun temperature, and i noticed what looked like a developing bloom spike. I think that it will be unlikely to see this spike to flower, but apparently the plant is doing fine.


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RE: Advancing with mangos

I wish you luck :) You've have a really nice setup BTW.

Samuel forest


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RE: Advancing with mangos

Hello Pancrazio

We are all pulling for you do, you know of anyone in your area who is growing mangos? I would imagine that 21F would be the coldest it gets on zone 8b but I don't know your weather history?

JF


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RE: Advancing with mangos

Just thought I'd add my two cents to this thread. I successfully grow and fruit Mallika and Nam Doc Mai in Zone 8a, in the ground. I build cages around my trees that are four feet high and six feet across, and wrap with a heavy duty black plastic tarp. (Hold down the bottom edge with bricks.) Coiled beneath each tree is a few feet each of a long warming cable. I don't bother covering the top of each cage with a frost blanket until temps drop under 35F, and I also plug in the warming cable at this time too.

We've had temps down to 17F, and below freezing for many hours. I'm sure the enclosures have dipped below freezing too on occasion, but have never had serious damage to the grafted mangos. I'm only getting about 50 watts per tree with the warming cable, so a 60-watt light bulb (while you can still buy them!) would be perfect.

Mango enthusiasts are crazy...

-Bruce


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RE: Advancing with mangos

@samuelforest:
Thank you. I really like your support. :)

@jfernandez:
Thank you. Unfortunatly i don't know anyone. Moreover, local forums where i talked about it strongly discoraged me even form trying it. I dunno why, since nobody else has ever tired it apparently, but that was their suggestion.
Yes, 21F can be pretty cold here, but it can be even colder. Last year for example we had 14F. This was somewhat exceptional but nothing unheard of.
I think you can image my climate pretty much similiar to the climate you would find in Atlanta. Average temperature are very similiar. I can't tell you about extremes temperatures anyway. Obviusly i know mine but i haven't any idea about what happens there in USA. Usually here we have some kind of steady cold temperature, while i think that in usa you get more a "cold and hot" pattern.
I think anyway the main factor to keep in mind is that i'm on 45N. Even in the brightest of winter day, our sun isn't very strong. We don't get very cold temperatures, but our winter days aren't hot too. Not even close to hot.

@bcfromfl
Hi Bruce. So what we are going to do is pretty similiar!
I didn't put any warming cable, or any heater. As you can see from previuos posts, at the begininnig i tought to put in a chicken heater. Later, the lack of founds, the need to keep the project simple and the impressive beginning of the cover convinced me that it wasn't needed.
To be honest i'm really happy about this: this is a true solar greenhouse, powered by solar energy. So, there are also some kind of environmental benfits.
Of course, to get this effect i have had to make a bigger and uglier structure than most people think it is reasonable. :) But, for now, i'm pretty happy with it. :)
Luckily i have been able to keep the structure pretty tall (7 feet) so i guess i don't need to be particlarly strict on pruning. But on a multi year perspective, i must adrmit that this year it will take some good pruning to start shaping the tree.
Now the next point, for me, is to see how the plant behave on pollination/ripening. Our summer is very short!
I'm envious about the selection of mangos you have. :) I think a Pickering could have done well here, expecially regarding size control/fruiting but i have been able to find only a Glenn. Even if i think that Glenn is my best shot, i think that some experimenting isn't a bad idea.


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RE: Advancing with mangos

I think you'll be really happy with your Glenn, and given your structure size, you should still get a good yield with the pruning you're going to have to do.

The one thing I wonder about your setup is summertime temps. Do you plan on removing the panels each spring, and replace in fall? Also, you'll be sacrificing some sun, which might impact yield, or ripening. Another issue might be mold or fungus without good air movement. I grow orchids in my greenhouse, so I'm familiar with these issues!

I think one of the mistaken assumptions about mangos is that since they are a "tropical", they can't withstand, or even thrive, in cooler wintertime temps. At least in my experience, this isn't true.

Happy growing!

-Bruce


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RE: Advancing with mangos

Interesting contrast between bc's soil-warming cable setup and Pancrazios passive solar....keep it up guys!

Pan - I couldn't be happier for you. Hope you turn the corner and see some spring. Yeah, the sight of flowers coming out of a mango is very exciting, isn't it? I've seen it on 10 trees at once, and it's still exciting to see!!!! It means something beautiful is about to be born.....

keep us posted.....MangoD


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RE: Advancing with mangos

@bcfromfl: Yes, the entire structure is removable. Hopefully (i haven't tried it yet) it will take little space in my box when it is unmounted. Every piece of it is very flat, so it should take little space.
I want it to be removable because i want the plant to be seen during summer, since a mango here is an unbelievable sight in summer :) Removing all the panels when temperature rise up should avoid any problem with fungi or molds: i'm more worried about the drop of temperature the fruit will experience from a protected envinroment to the relatively cool climate they will have without panels, but we will see.

Yes, i'm not thinking mangos as tropicals. I would say the are subtropicals. For example, what i'm doing with mangos would be plain impossibile with other plants, let's say cocoa. Of course mangos are more tender than a lemon, wich is clearly a subtropical, but still they can take more cold than most people would think. As far form my (limited) experience.

@mangodog: Indeed this was spectacular. I wasn't able to believe to my eyes... but it's likely that they will never flower.

This is because something scary is coming right here. Some people on metereological forum talk about it as the wrost cold spell of the last 30-50 years.
I hope it won't happen, but some people talk about 27F under the normal average temperatures. For my city they talk about a maximun of 23F on 3 February. I really don't know what will happen, still i'm very worried. Today i'll try to do something to protect the plant just in case of snow.
This is what is said to come:

Temperature are in Celsius. I live just at north of that nice -16 you can see in central italy.
As you can see according this model Italy will be as cold as costal Greenland. I'm not very optimistic.


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RE: Advancing with mangos

In this emergency situation, Pan, can't you run an extension cord out to the structure and plug in some kind of hot light, or heater just for the coldest nights of this record cold that's coming????

All you got to do is keep it so it doesn't drop below 0 degrees C (32)....that would be my suggestion....

You've GOT to keep this Glenn alive, cuz each year it grows and gets older it produces not only more fruit, but can protect itself better with its size.

And I'd leave the structure covering the tree until you see temps consistently above 65 degrees during the day. Do you have to take the panels off early? By keeping it warmer in the spring, it will flower and set it's fruit faster, then you can take the structure off for your hottest 3-4 months, then put it back on to finish the ripening of the fruit, if indeed it takes that long - mine take about 4 months to ripen from little babies, and I'm sure I get more total heat than you...

what do you think?

mangoperro

(and where do u live exactly in Italy as I want to follow your temps with Weather Underground)


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RE: Advancing with mangos

Pan - I reread your post above and see you are in Florence. Weather Underground has a predicted 10 degrees fahrenheit a week from today, I think that's the night of Feb. 5 - shockingly low, the lowest by far of anything in the next 7 days.....

I'll be checking it often to see is the predictions change.....Best of Luck with your supplemental heat...

MangoD


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RE: Advancing with mangos

Sorry to learn of the cold weather heading your way!

I ran some calculations to estimate what the BTU/wattage requirement would be to raise the interior temperature of your structure from 3F (-16C) to 35F. I made some assumptions about the dimensions to calculate the interior volume. I used a peak height of 6m, and width and length of 6m as well. Close enough to provide a good number.

I also wasn't sure if you used single-wall or double-wall panels for your covering. If it's single-wall, you'll need about 5376 BTUs, or 1575 watts. If it's double-wall, you'll need about 3175 BTUs, or 930 watts.

Now, the unknown is what energy you'll be able to pull out of the cinder block wall, or the containers of water. I actually ran these calculations years ago when I was trying to design a passive solar-heated greenhouse. Unfortunately, the answer is, "Not much." Because of the poor transfers of energy involved, and the lack of available storage, there is little stored energy potential. Active solar heating (water pumps, radiators, etc.) is another matter.

Looks like, at any rate, a simple 1500-watt heater will solve your problem. If you run it on a heavy-duty extension cord to reach the enclosure, figure you'll drop to an output of about 1200 watts. In my experience, I think the mango can take a dip under 32F -- as long as it's covered and protected from wind and frost -- so you should be fine.

Hope this helps.

-Bruce


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RE: Advancing with mangos

Just realized a stupid typo in my post above. I meant to type "2m" instead of "6m". BIG difference! (I had six feet on the brain...)

The calculation are all correct.

-Bruce


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RE: Advancing with mangos

Hi everyone, thank you for your interest.

@Mangodog: Yes, i putted an extension cord just yesterday, and i found an electrical heater. It also has a "no frost" function. Despite the fact that i haven't been able to found official documentation, i think it turns on the heater at 5C (41F).
Today i will search for some thermostat that turn on on 32-34F, but if i don't find it i'll be stuck on that integrated thermostat.
I'm not sure if this is a good or a bad thing.
This is the scenario i see.
It will snow, something between 0,75 and 1,3 feet of snow. I hope for the max snow possible, because it would give a great insultation to the structure.
This should drop the temperature inside the structure and put it around 32C.
Now the problem is that, if that happens, the heater will turn on, blowing air at 70F inside the structure, till the air has reached 41F at ground level, when the heater is. The hot air will rise, so i'll soon have the roof of the structure very hot (relatively speaking) much more than the soil. This could, over the days, melt the snow... so it would bring a less effective insulation over the hours/days.
This is what i'm thinkng now, a way to keep the heat around the plant and not use it to melt the snow!
As for now, i wrapped the trunk with bubble plastic, a putted cloth around it, till the graft point. Today i'll cover branches with some frost clost.
Another think i'm worried about is that the heater will suck all the water from the air. So, i'm trying to cover all the branches to avoid the dry air to suck too much moisture from them.
The temperature they forecast change almost every day: i'm not sure what will happen, but i fear the wrost. Usually the underestimate the level of cold that can be touched. We have had a similiar event in 1985 and that year in my city we touched -9,75F (yes, that's right). Every 30 years or so it can happen, but i didn't expected it for sure on my first year with a mango! An usual winter is what we have had till now...
Now (3PM) weather is sunny, but temperature is 41 and dropping.
If you are interested you can watch what is happening on the Florence airport: is just 1,5 mile from my house. The code is LIRQ . It is much more accurate than Florence city.

@bcfromfl. Hey bruce, thank you very much! I have a 2000W heater so i should be fine. Yes, i used a double walled, because, as you can imagine, being solar "passive" i wanted to limitate as much as possible heat loss. This should help now.
As for water, i divided it in 3 different kind of countainers. There are some 1 gallon (5 litres) metal container, that should be the "quick exchangers", because the are made of metal and realtively small. Then i have some intermediate 4 gallon (20 litres) containers, where water is closed in a thin wall of plastic, then i have 3 25 gallons (100 litres) containers, the black drums. I don't know how much they will help now.
To be honest, i hoped a lot on the latent heat of water to help on the coldest night of the year, but as you said, and i'm aware of, heat transfer plays a big role here. Now, water turning ice emits tremendous amount of heat, but if it doens't happen quick enough, the structure will become a fronzen tomb anyway.
Well, i'll stick with electric heater this time, because i don't want to have wasted all the money and time just to see my plant whiter and die on next days. But i will admint that i'm pretty curious on what could happen if i would just bury the strucutre under the snow (at, hopefully, 28-30F) and let the water on the drums turn ice. Basically is what you do in Florida with oranges, right?

Im pretty sure that there are a lot of typos and grammar errors, sorry for that.


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RE: Advancing with mangos

Pan, SO sorry to hear about the freeze coming your way. I sure wish you the BEST of luck!! We're all pulling for you to succeed. Please be careful and be safe with whatever method you choose.

Please keep us updated and hopefully, it won't be as Cold as predicted.

Good luck!!


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RE: Advancing with mangos

  • Posted by Mark833 5b - 6 Czech Rep. (My Page) on
    Mon, Jan 30, 12 at 18:11

Hi Pancrazio . Hope you´ll save your mango! I have mine in container , it´s "Irwin". "Russians" are really sending us very nasty presents.... We are expecting minimums -20F on friday and also on weekend. And could be even worse.

Anyway , I keep my fingers crossed for you.

Mark.


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@puglvr1: Pug, thank you. Can you believe me? Your post about your struggle for keeping your mangos alive were the inspiration for me when about two years ago, i decided to do this. I tried to be as safe as possible, i putted the heater in a place where water can't drop over him and even a little flood can't reach it. I hope your winter is finished!

@Mark883: Hey Mark! It's nice to see some other EU member. :) Well, yes, i didn't liked this gift from russia, for sure! You in Czech Republic, i bet, are having an hard time now... Let's hope for the best! Compared to you i'm feeling so lucky, we at least have had the adriatic sea and appenine helping to moderate the cold.
I'm really interested in your methods of growt and your results. Where you purchased your irwin? Why you choosed that cultivar? I'm always searching for all the cool cultivar i see here but seems that putting our hands on a florida cultivar is way harder than i expected.

For everyone: in my opinion wrost case scenario is coming. We have just had 1-2 inches of snow, enough for triggering the albedo effect and not enough to use it as cover aganist the cold. But i must admit i'm not an expert when it comes to snow. Anyway now isn't snowing, but it may come back during night (it's 2 AM here).
Now some picture of the plant as it was yesterday:


This is the plant enclosed in bubble plastic, cloth and frost cloth.

This looks like a flower to me! I can't believe it.

Sorry for the typos!


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RE: Advancing with mangos

Hi Pancrazio. Well truth to say , I've got my mango tree second year now.It was very tought to get it , because only one person in our land is selling mangoes ( and aslo another tropics and subtropics , imported from some nursery in Malaga , Spain).
I've chosen "Irwin" because due to info on the internet , it should be very good choice for container cultivation (staying dwarf) and somewhat early ripening. And also I've seen fruit on my own eyes at the seller. This year I'm awaiting flowers and MAYBE one piece of fruit?:-))

Now , I've become quite a "mango freak" :-) and and I've got some seedlings of mango prepared for grafting this year. With another grower on our Czech forum I'll trade some grafting wood this year. So a should have also "Ataulfo" and "Valencia Pride".

Sorry for bugs in my writing ..

Hold on Pancrazio!

Mark


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RE: Advancing with mangos

Hi Pan, that sure looks like a Bloom spike...Congrats! Thanks for the update and best of luck! We're hoping for the best scenario for you...

Keep us updated...appreciate the well wishes.

Mark, good luck with your new container Irwin mango. Aren't mangoes great!!

Nancy


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@puglvr1: For sure they are :-) . Only thing what I dont' like about them is , they're too often affected by spider mites (but can be my fault , maybe too dry air is helping up them).


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Yahi! We got snow, but today it melted and now (midnight) we have 33F! Probably it won't be as cold as expected! The forecast for next days already says that the very cold nights of the next days will be a little hotter than expected in my city!
So, luck is turning!


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GREAT News Pan!! I'm very excited for you...Thank goodness!!


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God bless that little Glenn of your's Pan! The little Mango that could!!!!! And why it's blossoming at the coldest time of your year, only that little creature knows?
So funny how nature works

....so the big CHILL weekend is coming up.....buena suerte, amigo....I'm huddled in your greenhouse with Mr. Glenn...

Doggin'theMango


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RE: Advancing with mangos

hehe your mango is keeping this forum alive.


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RE: Advancing with mangos

Ahah, yes, this is keeping this forum alive but also the forum is keeping the mango alive!
So, we are trapped in a loop! :O

(no news so far; the plant is sealed since my last post and since my last post temperature outisde has never risen more than 30F)


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RE: Advancing with mangos

so....when will the temperature get warm enough so you can go in and look at Mr. Glenn?

Brrrrrrrrrrr................

MangoPerro


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RE: Advancing with mangos

Pancrazio, what happened to your Glenn mango?
Did it survive the winter?


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RE: Advancing with mangos

I second the motion!

How about a progress report?


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RE: Advancing with mangos

Hi guys,
Yes, my mango managed to survive to our winter.
Well, long story short, it took some beating from that cold front. During the rest of the winter it remained pretty much undamaged, but during those days of februrary i had to put an heater inside the structure because the temperature remained at 30F for two weeks, with a cloudy weather, and there wasn't enought heat to keep the water drums hotter than outside.
The plant went under two different flowering flushes while it was under the cover; the first one was triggered by the temperatures in november and peaked around march; just male flowers in that ones, because temperatures were too low. Some flowers later developed a dark colour which i think it was some kind of bacterial infection, which i was able to stop just with the rising of temperatures. The second flower flush one started in march a peaked by the end of april; it was with males and females and if was followed by some actual fruit set.

Fruits

I removed the cover by the first days of may. Too bad, apparently, our may nights are too cold to keep the embrios alive (around 50F), so the all the fruits fell by the first days of june. For the next may i'll keep the cover on till june, but this will be tricky because inside the cover temperatures go skyhigh, with over 100F even in march, if the climate is hot and sunny. Well, i can't complain, the structure was made to keep high temperatures and it simply does its job. But i must get some idea to deal with spring's sunny days.
Anyway the plant got some cold burn. The burns in the leaves went replaced during summer, but i suspect that there was a cold burn also on trunk. This is more worrying. But has started to heal nicely during sommer, so i'm curious to see what will happen next winter.
The plant grew quite a bit during this summer, that has been very very dry and hot here (several days above 100F). I expect, if the plant survives the next winter, a copious amount of flower for the next year, and some actual fruits.

Mango

I plan to put my cover on in a month or so.


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RE: Advancing with mangos

looks good.

have you thought about a layer of mulch around the base? to help with suppressing weeds, help keep the ground from drying too much during the summer, and help keep the ground from getting too cold in the winter.


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Agree with Houston, Pan, has the idea of a mulch ever crossed your mind? On those 100+ degree days, a 3-4 inch depth of it can keep he soil cooler and moisture in, the microbes and soil bacteria flourishing and avaialble to the plant. You can always pull it back in the winter if you want to, but it might also help keep that soil warmer.....

As far as leaving the covering on till June - I agree a good idea, but you've got to find a way to open up some ventilation in the structure so the plant won't cook during those warmer days - there's no corner or two you can fold or pull back?

Also, any dilute fertilizer at all you gave Mr. Glenn? I found this year, that it is truly helpful to more flushes of growth during the season....every couple weeks is what I did....

The experiment continues, eh amico?

Your buddy, Gary Dog


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Hats off. I have too much respect for everyone out there that there biggest problem is penguins and yeti stealing their harvest. I get two to three weeks a year of freezing weather, and most of that is at night. I would love to have a house surround by the tropics, but I am too much of a chicken to try it. I see 40F weather at night, the tropics is coming indoors.

Well done Pan.

btw, HD has Yeti-be-Gone on special, for your really tough infestations.


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Hi guys, thank you for your kind words!

@houstontexas123: Yes, i have tought about mulch. Actually i think that it may be useful. BUT: 1) During winter i don't want the ground to be insulated: i want it to accumulate as much heat as possible, so, the use of mulch would be limited to summer. 2) Mulch is basically rotting vegetable material. While it isn't seriously dangerous for a very healthy plant, rotting vegetable can become host of pests wich on the long run can also affect the plant. During this winter i have had a really hard time stopping the spreading of a bacterial disease from a flowering panicle to the plant, i don'teven want to think what can happen if i only had some decomposing wood inside the structure :) 3)Water isn't really an issue. This year we had the 2nd hottes summer since 1800 and the driest since last 50 years, and i managed to water it enough, so while i appreciate people wich save water, i also recognize that my mango uses really a small percentage of my water consumption (nothing compared to my lawn, wich, this year, died almost completly). 4)around the mango live 3-4 tortoises, wich appreciate grass for food and shelter. :) So i remove grass just two time a year. This tear there hasn't been any need because the lack of rain didn't let the grass to estabilish.

@mangodog: Hi Gary!
Yes, i think i'll simply remove some parts of the cover. If i don't open it at least a bit, the plant wil literally cook. In January, during sunny days, i had 77F inside with 50F outside, and the sun was just 20 degree above the horizon. In march i had already 100+ inside. Can you imagine the temperature at the end of may? The plant would probably have its leaf scorched.
I used some fertilizer this year, too. Last year i simply used potassium, but this year i used some 1-2-4 in june and liquid potassium two weeks ago.
I agree with you, it helps. At least, without it my ctirus won't do anything (flower, fruits... anything). I'm not sure how to use it on mangos, expecially on my plant in ground.
My experiment will continue unless either it will be clear that i can't hope to eat my own mangos, or i will be able to eat them. :)
Did you already harvested your manila? I guess you did since last time i saw them in one of your reports they were pretty filled.

@Doglips: Oh, 2-3 weeks of freezing weater a year? You live in a beautiful beatiful place. :)
Here frezing risk start on november and ends past the half of april. Natually, even after then, night can be pretty cold.
We have just 3 months suitable for tropical growing. Maybe four, on good years.
Anyway, if you ask me, the biggest problem isn't the lenght of the winter, but the fact that climate keeps steadily cold all the time during winter. The average temperature of January is 51F. And you can't hope for much more. 59F for january, here, is already exceptionally hot. And lasts two months, this way. In the meantime the climate keeps rainy, damp, without much sun. And even in the brightest days, the best you can expect is 9 hours of a low sun. Overall the climate ideal for spreading bacteria and fungine infections.
If we could get at least an hot wave, every now and then, the plant could recover a bit, start growing again: for some plants this is the best method to avoid dying.
Anyhow, i live here, and there's much to do about it. The funny thing is that in the very south of italy, on the better locations, i have seen people growing delonix regia in their backyards.


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I think I am possibly crazier than you, Pan. I want to grow a mango in the Seattle area which is a bit colder (even in Summer) than Florence. (And how I happened to find this thread.)

But what happened to your darling mango? I hope that it survived Winter! Please, please give a status - this is like a soap opera!


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I guess my need to try to grow a tropical will forever override the logic of plant choice. So, my tiny mango just put out a huge leaf, I let it grow out then pruned it off. My logic is to send all the energy to the roots. I have no idea if this is the way to go but we are into our dark winter months and my grow light is still in the basement. I am feeling my way through this because I have no guidelines. The little tree was established with some permanent leaves so I got rid of the giant new leaf. Anyone have guidelines I can use for growing in the NorthEast.


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cynthrea - yes, Pancrazio's glenn mango is still doing fine. he is keeping us posted on another website, but yes, he and it are doing just fine....

I hope you get this post!

MDog


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