Posted by: puebloman | February 23, 2014

Farming in Southern Spain: the Mango in winter

Young mangos wrapped for the winter

Young mangos wrapped for the winter

We are now in deep winter. I am thinking of putting on a long sleeved shirt. Every other day though it seems like spring, with bright sunshine. Next day howling winds and a spit of rain. The trees don’t get much rest round here. They’ve hardly slipped into their winter sleep and its time to wake up again and grow flowers.

Cold is the enemy of the mango. Slip below ten degrees C and they start to suffer. When unforgiving winds whip the hills and lower temperatures, the mango leaves start to scorch, but this happens rarely. We never have frost and hardly ever snow.

Apart from the cold, mangoes are hard as nails, at least ours are. They are about twenty years old and have struck their roots deep into the red crumbly rock they stand in. Baby mangoes however, like all babies, need to be cossetted. Fleece bags in the winter and little green plastic sleeves for their trunks so they don’t get roasted by the summer sun. Later, whitewashing will reflect the summer sunlight and prevent the trunks from getting too hot.

The landscape of our part of the Axarquia is changing. Hill upon hill of almond, plum, pomegranate, olive, orange, grape fruit, lemon and, yes, even the great muscatel grape that dominated the landscape for centuries, are being bulldozed to make way for the mango, the latest fashionable easy cash crop, and the only place in Europe where this fruit can be produced.

A hill of baby mangoes with a first flush of Bermuda buttercups

A hill of baby mangoes with a first flush of Bermuda buttercups


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