As a frequent visitor to organic commercial fruit farms in Latin America, I've learned that the farm's nursery is a key component to the success of the farm.
The nursery serves a bunch of key purposes to the commercial mango farm:
It ensures that the farm has the best adapted commercial genetics for planting.
It decreases costs to the farm (if the farm has to buy the starter plants outside of the farm it can cost a lot).
Pests and diseases can be properly controlled from the onset of the trees life.
Trees can constantly be culled and selected so that only the strongest trees are planted.
It was very interesting to learn about Simply Natural's organic mango grafting and early care techniques. These guys know a lot about mango farming, and it's great to see that the organic mango investments are in good hands.
Andrew Winstead, former farm manager, and current manager of commercial programs walked us through the process of grafting and caring for the plants.
The Simply Natural team first germinates a locally adapted, and very strong root stock. The root stock sprouts, and grows for six months or a year. At this time the seedling is moved, rather forcibly to a new spot in the greenhouse. I asked Andrew why they don't move the seedling with more grace? He explained that by throwing the bag down in its new spot, it shocks the plant, and responds by building a stronger root system.