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August 4, 2011   

Joey and Abigail exploring
Phil and Carla Blum's
summer veggie garden in Minnesota

You know you are a true gardener when you get excited to see a new garden, no matter where you are. Kim, Joey and Abigail recently returned from a trip to Minnesota, where they found time to explore a really cool vegetable garden. It was filled with veggies that have long since fizzled in our own garden and a few plants that you don't often see in Florida, including rhubarb and asparagus. During our stay with friends, we were treated to fresh sugar snap peas, green beans and a homemade rhubarb pie, all fresh picked from the garden. Yummy!  Abigail also got to sample some hand picked raspberries and she couldn't get enough!

Kim and Abigail eating fresh raspberries

Even though it is too hot here for planting veggies, it is a great time to start preparing your veggie garden soil for the upcoming season. Start turning in fresh compost from your compost pile or cow manure to enrich the soil and give it time to settle before planting time arrives. Before you know it, September will be here and along with it a new season for fresh vegetables. Of course one thing that we can grow that our friends in Minnesota don't have a chance at is mango trees. See below for tips on planting and caring for mangos, and come by the nursery to see all the great mango tree varieties along with all of the amazing fruits that make our northern friends jealous. 

Happy Gardening,
Kim, Joey and Mark

In This Issue

Caring for Mangos




Caring for Mango Trees

The mango is one of the most important tropical fruits in the world. The fruits grow on evergreen trees that can be as small as 8 to 15 feet tall or as large as 50 to 60 feet. In Florida, mangos bloom from December to April depending upon climatic conditions and variety. Fruit will ripen within 100-150 days of the tree flowering. Expect fruit on your new tree within 3-5 years of planting, but remember that due to the tropical nature of mangos, they will require a little extra care.

Planting: Mango trees require full sun and at least a 15' area to grow into. Mangos can grow in a wide variety of soils. However, sandy or clay soils should be amended with Kerby's Potting Soil.

Watering: Do not count on a sprinkler system or rain to water your new tree. For the first month, soak thoroughly at least three times a week. For the second and third month, soak thoroughly twice a week. For the remainder of the first year, make sure the tree is soaked thoroughly once a week. In the hot summer months, pay attention to the tree and water more if necessary (which may include daily watering for new trees).

Fertilizer: Use 2 tablespoons of Kerby's 8-4-8 Fertilizer every two months for the first year. During years two and three, increase the amount proportional to tree size using a full tablespoon per foot of tree height. Do not fertilize the tree while it has flowers or fruit on it as it can affect the taste of the fruit.

 Climate: All varieties of mangos are sensitive to the cold. Young trees must be protected when temperatures drop below 32˚F. Older trees can survive a few hours at 27˚F although they may lose smaller outer branches and leaves. Flowers and small fruits can be damaged if temperatures fall below 40˚F. Protect trees with frost blankets that are well-attached to the ground with anchor pins to keep warm air near the tree.

Fruit: Grafted trees bear fruit in 3-5 years. Pick fruit when the first fruit colors and allow fruit to ripen off the tree at 70-75˚F. A dry season before and during bloom encourages a better crop. There are lots of great varieties of mangos to choose from. Some of our favorites are the "condo mangos" which produce delicious fruits on smaller trees. Smaller trees are easier to protect in the winter, easier to harvest from and fit in most backyards (or even in large pots). Carrie, Mallika and Nam Doc Mai are some great condo varieties.

Pruning: If desired, prune after fruit harvest. Pruning will not harm the tree but may decrease fruit production in the following season, especially if you prune severely.

Diseases and Pests: A common disease of mangos in Florida is anthracnose. Anthracnose fungus attacks flowers, young fruits, leaves and twigs. It also appears as a storage disease of mature fruits. Symptoms appear as black, slightly sunken lesions of irregular shape, which gradually enlarge and cause blossom blight, leaf spotting, fruit staining, and fruit rot. Disease development is encouraged by rains or heavy dews. Prevention can be accomplished by maintaining a coating of fungicide such as Liquid Copper on susceptible parts starting when bloom buds begin to expand and ending at harvest. Regular sprays of Triple Action Plus neem oil will also help keep disease and insects at bay.

Enjoy! There are so many great ways to enjoy mangos. Fresh picked off the tree, cut up fresh in a salad, made into smoothies and daiquiris or mixed with cilantro and used as a salsa to top barbequed meats. How will you enjoy this versatile and delicious fruit.


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Kerby's Nursery

2311 S. Parsons Ave.

Seffner, FL 33584
(813) 685-3265

Store Hours
Open Seven Days a Week
Monday - Friday,  9:00am - 5:00pm
Sunday,  11:00am - 4:00pm