Mango

Health Power

Mangoes are a great source of powerful antioxidants such as beta-carotene, vitamin C, quercetin and astragalin. They combine to neutralize free radicals, which can damage cells in the form of DNA mutations that lead to uncontrolled cell division, i.e. cancer. The antioxidants zeaxanthin and lutein help stop age-related macular degeneration in the eye. Vitamin C helps the immune system and assists in preventing cataracts. The soluble fiber, pectin, lowers cholesterol, promotes healthy digestion and cardiovascular function. Pectin also helps reduce the risk of gastrointestinal cancer. The high iron content helps women recover after menstruation and assists during pregnancy. High potassium helps maintain healthy nerve signal transmission and muscle contraction. Contain proteolytic enzymes that help break down proteins and work with fiber for healthy digestion.

Vitamin and Mineral Content

Vitamins – A, C, B9 (Folate), B6 (Pyridoxine), B2 (Riboflavin), B1 (Thiamin), E & K
Minerals – Copper, Iron, Potassium, Phosphorus, Calcium, Magnesium and Selenium

Disease Prevention

The high iron content in mangoes can help prevent or reduce the symptoms of anemia. Vitamin C reduces inflammation and pain in rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and asthma. Antioxidants with vitamin E and selenium help ward off many cancers and heart disease.

How to Grow

Easy to grow this delectable fruit from the tropics, but are very sensitive to cold. Below 40˚F they go dormant and die below 32˚F. In an area like Florida, where it only frosts a few times a year, deal with it by manually protecting with a plastic cover. To start growth, buy the healthiest mango you can find and eat it, being careful not to disturb the husk inside. Wash off the husk and let the seed dry out for several days. Gently split open the husk with a butter knife and remove the seed inside. If it is starting to grow a root, keep it attached. Fill a small pot (6-8 inches) with fertile soil and a little planting mix. Moisten the soil and make a small pocket in the center of the pot. Place the seed with the rounded side just above the surface and cover all but the very tip of the seed with soil. Don’t water for a couple days. Place the seed in a sunny, warm location. Cover the pot with a slightly perforated plastic to increase humidity and temperature. A greenhouse is ideal. Keep soil moist and wait for the seed to sprout. In a warmer area, transplant the seedling with the ball of potting soil in a bed of well draining fertile soil in a warm, sunny, protected area. You can also transplant to a bigger pot if you need to keep it inside for warmth during cooler months. Fertilize a few times during the first year (except in winter) and keep soil moist but not soggy. While the tree is young, keep the area around the trunk weed free. It takes 3-7 years for the tree to bear fruit. Fruit is ripe and ready when it gives a little to a squeeze.

Insect Control

White flies, aphids, spider mites, scales and thrips are the main mango pests. Hang a yellow card covered in sticky grease to attract and trap white flies. Plant French marigolds to attract aphid predators. Scales are disc shaped insects that hold themselves tightly to leaves, eat them and secrete honeydew that kills leaves. Watch for scales and scrape them off as soon as you see them. Thrips are too small to see, but their dark droppings are visible. Leaves appear wilted or bleached. Introduce predatory mites as a biological control. If infestation is large, spray with insecticidal soap.

Tips

When the main shoot reaches 3-4 feet long, trim it to encourage more side shoots to form. Prune any branches that over crowd the tree for optimal sunlight and air circulation. Sometimes you can find a transplant that is already a year old and closer to fruit bearing.

Comments are closed.