When you buy those beautiful mangos from the supermarket you probably don’t think about the chemicals that have been used to grow them. Generally most mangos trees will have been treated with several kinds of chemical. Firstly there are the hormone sprays that increase the yield from the tree. Then there are fungicide sprays usually used at flowering times and pesticide sprays to control the insect pests. Most fruit are harvested before they are ripe and then treated with chemicals, such as calcium carbide (banned in many countries but still used), to artificially ripen the fruit. Make sure that you wash any fruit that you buy thoroughly to remove any chemicals that may be on the skin.
Many growers are now turning to a more organic approach to reduce or eliminate the use of chemicals in growing the fruit, however these can be quite labor intensive. The two most popular are the use of hormonal insect traps and bagging the fruit.
At Bees Garden we bag all of the fruit when they are very small. Presently we use plastic bags that are washed and reused to minimize waste. Bagging fruit helps prevent insect, fungal and bird damage to the fruit. When using the bags, it is important to cut out a corner to allow any water to drain out. We are looking at finding a source of paper bags or wrapping in newspaper as perhaps a greener alternative to plastic. We allow most of our mangos to ripen on the tree, apart from the ones that we use green for dishes such as mango salad.
In past years we have used organic pesticides such as wood vinegar or sprays made from tobacco to control invasions of pests like black fly, when the tree is flowering.