Bermuda has long been known for its delicious juicy citrus; however, the same success can be achieved with many other varieties of soft fruits, such as peaches, nectarines, apples and sweet pears, just to name a few.
Growing your own fruit can be very rewarding, but to be successful and reap the benefits, lots of time must be spent maintaining your trees with the proper care.
Most home gardeners want small fruit trees that produce enough fruit for their own needs and some to give away to friends. Through deliberate pruning, it is possible to control the size and shape of your fruit trees regardless of the type.
With the average homeowner limited in space, keeping fruit trees small allows for several varieties to be accommodated rather than just a single tree. Planting several different varieties can also extend the fruiting and harvesting season for many weeks.
Bonita: Medium to large fruit. Red-blushed skin. Yellow flesh. Ripens later in the season.
Florida Prince: A popular, proven peach. Medium-sized fruit. Red-blushed skin with dark red stripes over yellow. Firm, yellow flavourful flesh. Heavy producer. Ripens mid-May.
Tropic Snow: Skin is white with red blush. White sweet flesh. Ripens early season.
Earligrande: Large fruit. Yellow skin with red blush. Firm excellent flavour, fine texture, yellow flesh. Ripens late April to late May.
Early Amber: Medium-sized fruit with a yellow flesh. Ripens early- to mid-May.
Sunred: right red skin. Firm yellow flesh, sweet, good flavour. Semi-freestone. Ripens mid-May to early June.
Snow Queen: Sweet, juicy, early season, white-fleshed freestone. Self-fertile. Ripens late June.
Mangoes have been cultivated in India for over 4,000 years and are another fruit tree that is quickly gaining popularity with Bermuda’s home gardener. Several large fruiting trees can be found around the island producing an abundant harvest of delicious red-gold fruit. Varieties to consider are haden, lippens, keitt, valencia pride, gouveia, and gomeroa, all of which are available for purchase at Aberfeldy.
A mango tree can mature into a 30–45-foot tree and perform as an attractive shade tree. The roots are not invasive or destructive in nature. Mangos can be pruned and shaped to a much more manageable size and certain varieties (such as the keitt) can be container grown.
Mangos adapt well to most conditions and will grow in almost any type of well-drained soil. You should avoid heavy, wet soil and planting at a time of year when the weather is cold. You want your mango tree to be able to enjoy lots of sunshine.
If you’re transplanting a fruit tree from a container to the ground, slit the container down the sides and avoid causing disruption to the root ball.
Dig a hole the same depth as the container and three times as wide. Slide the tree out of the pot and into the centre of the hole. Fill the spaces around the tree with a mixture of three parts Bermuda soil and one part compost. Tamp the ground gently but firmly, without compacting the soil, to remove any air pockets. Water thoroughly.
Water your tree every three to four days after planting. Continue to water regularly for the first four to five months.
Feeding Your Fruit Trees
There are many conflicting thoughts on the fertilizer programme for mangos. Fertilise when the tree is actively growing. A light dressing of a granular fertilizer, such as Aberfeldy Citrus Food 7-5-6, will provide the necessary manganese, copper, zinc and boron required to produce a healthy tree grown in Bermuda’s alkaline soil. Iron can be applied in chelated form as a soil drench twice a year. Too much nitrogen can cause shriveling (called “soft nose”) at the fruit apex.
Established trees will benefit from a feeding of potassium sulphate. Potassum sulphate improves the ability of the plant to withstand stress conditions such as drought, cold, salinity and disease. It also improves fruit quality, skin colour, aroma, size and shelf life.