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Mango, Avocado, Papaya  RSS feed

 
sarah wilson
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I have a greywater growing bed attached to my porch in Texas.  It is set up pretty much like the ones in the earthships - the greywater goes into a bottom resevior with rocks, the dirt wicks it up/roots grow down to it.  It is mostly hot here, but I will close in the porch for our brief "winter" to keep the plants warm.  I want to try some more tropical plants.  Earthships usually put banana trees in the planters right away, which I have already done too.  Any experience with mango, avocado, papaya?  Do y'all think they would do ok in a greywater box or better to keep them in their own big pots on the porch?  (I'm very careful to keep chemicals and salts out of the drain).
 
Maureen Atsali
pollinator
Posts: 354
Location: Western Kenya
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I am not real familiar with these grey water set ups. But I do know tropical trees.  They are thirsty, but don't like wet feet.  Papaya in particular tends to get a lot of disease in overly wet soil conditions... And mangoes and avocadoes are BIG trees... So I am not sure how they would manage in pots.  Mangoes can be pruned viciously though, so perhaps it could be kept at a manageable size...

Ha, I don't think I helped anything!
 
Deb Rebel
garden master
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Location: Zone 6b
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You can look into the methods of bonsai. That is the art of seriously dwarfing a tree. I am currently keeping a small forest of sycamore figs (ficus sycomorus, aka biblical figs) at about two feet instead of 50' and 2" leaves not 10". They won't bloom or produce fruit though with those extreme methods. Still, a methodology of careful water, well draining soil and purposeful methodical pruning to keep trees smaller might work. Try Fourwindsgrowers.com and I'm looking for one more website for a lot of  choices and some avocados better grown in pots than others... some trees will be smaller and more easily adaptable to container growing than others. Do note that avocados are unpredictable when grown from pit, the usual store varieties are Fuente x Hass, and the ones you get were fruited by the Hass and won't breed true. You need to purchase/obtain grafted/twig cultivated not seed cultivated, AND. Avocado bloom both sexes, going male in morning and female in afternoon, or the other way around. So you need an "A" and a "B" to get fertilization. Growers often graft a Fuente branch onto each Hass so they take care of the issue themselves.

I currently have a 'columnar apple' for cross pollination of my other superdwarf Lil-Big trees. It could be trimmed to keep it within say a 18" to 24" pot and 4' to 7' tall. I let it grow, planted in the yard. I topped it at 12 feet, and it needs topping again. The straight trunk did put out some side branches because I let it do as it wished versus keeping it trimmed of all side branches.

So for any of the trees you choose, try to get a dwarf that will grow in pot culture, and be dedicated to giving the extra care it needs, and you should find some that will work in your intended setup. I will edit when I find that site with the trees I am going to order from after I have a permanent greenhouse...
 
John Eklund
Posts: 19
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Dwarf tree varieties already exist for each mango, avocado and papaya. These can be grown from 4ft tall/wide up to 10+ft tall/wide and they produce full-sized fruit. If properly maintained and harvested on a cycle, you could potentially be eating these fruits all year long when grown in a greenhouse. These trees can grow is separate pots or in your greywater system, especially since you mentioned being very careful about what goes down the drains. Even for those not careful about what goes down the drain, a mycofiltration system (fungal filter) could be added to filter out most chemicals and salts. This filter will still need regular maintenance, but is much less work than most other filters (harder to initially setup, but then needs maintenance less often).

Edit: Just noticed a great thread on mycofiltration found right here at Permies. Mycofiltration

Hope this info helps.
-John
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