New Delhi: Everyone loves mangoes and the joy of eating them increases when you have your own garden, trees laden with fresh fruits that too...
New Delhi: Everyone loves mangoes and the joy of eating them increases when you have your own garden, trees laden with fresh fruits that too organically grown! It is generally not common in cities like Lucknow where limited land is available. However, the land available in the parks can be very well utilised to satisfy the appetite for mangoes. In Virat Khand-2 area of the city, guidance of the Central Institute for Subtropical Horticulture has converted a park into a repository of more than 25 mango varieties. The park is named as Gulab Park but it is famous for mango varieties. Apart from old traditional mangoes, it also has trees of newly developed varieties like Arunika and Ambika. "If you want to see several varieties fruiting on a single tree you have not to go to Malihabad but visit Virat Khand-2 Gulab Park for enjoying mango fruiting in the season," Dr Shailendra Rajan, director of the ICAR-Central Institute for Subtropical Horticulture (CISH) Lucknow told. According to Dr Rajan, efforts were initiated by agriculture expert BK Singh who planted grafted mango plants about a decade back but was not satisfied with common varieties. "After seeing red mangoes in a orchard on Sitapur Road, he approached the institute and requested to convert these conventional varieties trees to red colour fruited ones." When the varieties like Ambika and Arunika were not common, scions were topped-worked (an art of converting grown up trees to another varieties) on grown up trees. The young mango trees were converted into Amrapali with few branches of Langra and many branches of Arunika. Gradually in a span of 10 years, about 25 varieties were grafted on well grown trees and every year this activity is continued so that a good number of trees have several varieties on a single tree.
This is a continuous effort as all the grafts are not successful, Dr Rajan said. The park has its own importance when the mango starts flowering in March and coloured red mangoes develop during May and June. "You can find several shades of red coloured fruits on the same tree. Fruiting on the grafted plants started within three years that made BK Singh intelligent enough to prefer varieties like Ambika and Arunika to be grafted on more number of trees as the members of the association found these better in appearance and taste," he added. Mr BK Singh said that a large number of people visit Gulab Park to see these mango varieties. "Not only from Virat Khand-2, we have visitors from other parts of the city during mango fruiting season," he added. "Many foreigners also enjoy seeing fruiting on these mango trees. Few plants in city parks are common but to find dozens of mango plants that too with many varieties is a unique site to see," Mr Singh pointed out. Mango party is a common activity on Sundays when active members of the park join the feast and enjoy various types of the mangoes. "These mangoes are enjoyed by the park members, additionally Ambika and Arunika fruits are gifted to dignitaries. The mango plants have changed the social network of the residents," Dr Rajan said. They enjoy mango eating and make collective efforts for maintaining the park. It is interesting that mangoes are produced without any fertiliser.
The quality and size of the fruits are excellent due to regular use of organic manure. "You will not find insect pests attacking the plants," he stated. To see several varieties fruiting on the same tree one has not to visit orchard of Padamshree Kalimullah and can have idea how a tree looks like when many varieties fruit on the same plant Langra, Dashehari, Amrapali and Chausa are common, you can see Amrapali fruiting in clusters with small to medium fruits and Mallika with large size isolated fruits. Gradually there is high demand of CISH varieties like Ambika and Arunika by the park visitors. This is not an effort of one or two years but regular yearly grafting on trees for such a long time has converted mango trees into unique mango plants. Mr is very much interested to have grafting of new varieties on the tree for bearing fruits of three to four types. Dr Rajan said this is one of the ways by which rare varieties can be conserved in cities that too in the parks where people are mostly interested in ornamental crops. "A park can have a collection of about 50 varieties through to top working several varieties on different branches of the tree. This not only helps in conservation but also make available carbide and insecticide free mangoes available to the members of the society. Regular mango parties are a feature of this park," he said. Dr Rajan said the CISH is receiving requests from many parks to replicate such efforts. This will help Institute to have safety duplicates of many varieties as gradually the craze for non-commercial varieties is increasing. Also, the children visiting park learn about these varieties.