NOW IS THE TIME
by EUNICE MESSNER
HAPPY DAYS! I've found a gardener who will accumulate grass clippings for me and leave them once a week. Though it means making fifteen trips down the hill to spread the clippings on my trees or to use in making compost, I am elated. After several months it now feels like I'm walking on marshmallows in those areas around the trees. I'm sure the microorganisms are happy as well and the trees will need less water.
On the unmulched areas of my garden there were, of course, weeds. Though I did not spray at the right time of day (early a.m. or evening) I tried using white vinegar as a weed killer. It works! Small broad leaves were dead the next day. Escapee blackberry vines showed leaf damage and will need a second application, but then Green Scene preparation took precedence and I haven't completed the experiment.
MANGO SEEDLINGS For the first time I had an excellent survival rate for "Thomson" and "Carnival" mango seedlings. I attribute the success to the addition of worm castings to my sphagnum peat moss and pumice mixture. "Thomson" and "Carnival" both have a very small seed and so less nutrient storage in the embryo. Although I sold a lot at the Green Scene there will be more "Thomson" available at a later sales event. For unknown reasons, mangos often expire in the early stages. There is more to be learned.
The best choice for root-stock in cold or desert areas is one trial test that has already been made by the Salton Sea mango growers. The winner was "Turpentine". That was the beautiful rootstock trees Mits Kawahara and Sharlene Mauritz laboriously dug up, potted and brought to one of our meetings some time ago. They are so excited about being able to grow mangos in Riverside County. Mits sold
some of these grafted trees at the Green Scene. I'm hoping my newly registered "Carnival" being tested in their area will prove equal in
stamina to the presently commercial "Keitt".
I'm also excited about a new dwarf mango from Ecuador that I got in a swap with Adam Wolfe of the Los Angeles chapter. The fruit is small and round, but it tastes like a peach! Even the seed is almost round. It is the dwarf growth habit that also makes it exceptional. The tree does not get early morning sun so I sprayed with wettable sulfur to avoid the persistent mildew that appears on most of the mangos. It didn't work, but it seems I'll still have a good fruit set if they don't drop off. One of the two seeds I grew from last years' fruit had two sprouts so it may be polyembryonic!