Those of you who’ve been with me since the start will remember my baby mango.
This is how he looked when I first brought him home in September 2013 from Mullumbimby, in northern NSW. I was told he’d grow fast, and that I could hope for fruit in 3 or 4 years. Now, a couple of years later, I still think the latter statement’s a bit optimistic, but in this coming week, my baby is all grown up and leaving home. Or, as normal people would put it, he’s getting planted in the ground instead of his now rather constricting tub. It’s autumn, the weather is cooler so he won’t be so stressed by moisture loss, and he’s not currently in a growth phase. It’s time.
Here he is today. Same tub, to give you an idea of scale. Considerably taller than I am, and feeling quite at home in his new tropical setting. We have the spot picked and marked out. The Husband and I will peel off the turf for a square metre, dig out the soil onto a tarp, add pelletised chicken manure, blood and bone, compost and a couple of handfuls of worm castings, a dose of my Garden tea and mix that lot up with some of the soil. In he goes on top, with his roots teased out as much as possible, then backfill with the soil on the tarp. He needs to be on a slight mound, to ensure drainage in the Wet. We’re building an edging around the metre of bare earth to give us something to whippersnip and mow up to. Inside that edging will be a thick, fluffy bed of mulch: comfrey, shredded sugar cane trash, alfalfa hay, etc. He gets a little bit of clear space around the trunk to prevent rot, 20 litres of water, and then we leave him to settle into his new quarters. It’s like sending your child off to college.
I hope he’s not too lonely out there in the back yard… But then, all the other trees in tubs are getting planted out over the course of the next few months, so he’ll have company – the avocado will be next door, and there will be bananas moving in nearby. I have their spots picked out, according to their future size, sun/shade preference and to a lesser extent, my convenience in getting food and water to them. Which reminds me, I must speak to the Dowager about banana suckers for the damp patch beside the shed, corms for gingers, cuttings from the ground cover and leaf cuttings for succulents…. And I must get some pineapples, so we can cut off the leafy tops and plant them. Fresh pineapples of our own in a couple of years!
Can you tell that gardening season has started in the tropics?