Tree geodes
Thursday July 01st 2021, 10:04 pm
Filed under: Food,Friends,Garden,Knit

Dani, whose cheerleading enticed the planting of my mango tree, grew up with two Alphonsos in his yard in India.

They died a few years ago and he told me his mother was devastated.

When I said in a conversation yesterday that we had to get her a new one he said an unseen seed had survived and is now growing back and she was quite happy about that–and I am, too.

That got me to go look. Here’s what you get when you do that. Mangoes come in two types, monoembryonic and polyembryonic. Polyembryonic seeds produce multiple seedlings out of one seed and all will be clones of the parent–except one, and it will be visibly weaker or stronger than the others depending on whose experiences you’re reading on the ‘net. But mostly you get to straight-up replant what you’ve already got and experiment with the outlier. Turns out citrus do that, too.

Alphonsos are monoembryonic. You know what one of the parents is, you know how good it is, but there are no guarantees.

The nearest mango tree to mine that I know of is in Fremont and I’m sure there are no bees making that grand leap across the San Francisco Bay to my yard way over here–I’m pretty darn sure my sweet little Alphonso is a virgin. Still, it apparently means that whatever could sprout from its single-plant seeds could be anything from the tree’s genetic history.

His mom’s seedling is almost old enough now to fruit and soon she’ll find out. I’m really hoping she gets a great one.

Mine tried to fruit in December, lost them to the cold, but bloomed some more and persevered and now it’s covered with them. It takes months longer for them to ripen here than in their native climate but they’re getting there.

But darn if I’m not sitting here after all these back and forth emails wondering what kind of seedlings I might get, too. To find out, I could grow one in a pot, on the patio, on wheels to pull it out from under the awning to full-on sun and back again against the house at night, you know, what I’d originally envisioned as a way of managing a tropical here before Dani insisted I must, must let it grow in the ground and allow it to become what it’s meant to be.

We were both right. It’s much more of a tree and far more prolific that way. Mangoes are deep-taproot types.

So–if I kept and planted an Alphonso seed (space-wise, one would be enough) I could do it planter-on-wheels style, and then gift the tree away once I know the fruit is good. Because by then I’ll be more than happy to give away the impossible amount of excess from my own tree as it is. Hopefully.

Since our rainy/dry seasons are reversed, I asked Dani about watering it, I mean, I’d been doing it once a week all this time so I must be doing something right? He asked his mom.

Oh okay. Twice a week for the summer it is, then. Maybe that’s part of why it took them so long to ripen.

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It strikes me that these gardening trials have a lot on common with knitting: so many variables! If I try this yarn with this pattern in this size needles…

Comment by ccr in MA 07.02.21 @ 10:44 am

That’s a perfect analogy, thank you!

There is plotting afoot towards putting in the fruit tree(s) of my oldest’s choice at her house, too, with both of them liking the idea, although, something more traditional for their climate than a mango.

Comment by AlisonH 07.02.21 @ 7:58 pm

Blackberries, I am told, are almost the kudzu of Washington state: they grow and grow and take over everything in waves of both green leaves and thorns. Sam wasn’t surprised when I said the neighbor’s were over the fence and keeping the squirrels away from my figs.

Comment by AlisonH 07.03.21 @ 9:31 pm

There is what we who live near redwoods call a fairy ring: a circle of trees, a family multitude of matched trunks reaching high in the sky.

They’ve seen a bald eagle in the forest just past the fence line.

The land is being sold and houses will be built. The fairy ring might, might get a reprieve; it would add so much value to anyone’s home. It is glorious.

But there’s no way to know yet.

Comment by AlisonH 07.04.21 @ 9:27 pm

A huge-trunked maple tree taller than the redwood that used to reach over our house. Cherries, probably remnants of orchards of a hundred years ago, now offering a treat at a children’s park—if you’re tall enough. Which means we got a few, a Northstar type and all-yellow Rainier-type ones and who knows what they were once known as.

So good.

Looking up at the rest we knew the robins that kept flitting past us were being well fed.

Comment by AlisonH 07.05.21 @ 10:09 pm

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