HOW TO GROW POMEGRANATES
In San Fernando, Pampanga, a longtime gardener grows a wide variety of fruits and vegetables in her residence.
Among the crops that Medge de Vera, 56, grows is pomegranate (Punica granatum).
When you see her garden, you’ll know that de Vera loves pomegranates. Her food forest grows a lot of them, varying from dwarf to regular fruit sizes.
She bought her first tree and propagated it through air-layering. The rest were grown from seeds.
Due to space constraints, de Vera planted two trees in one hole, but this helped with cross-pollination and ensured more fruits from each tree. They also appear bushier this way, making them more attractive, said de Vera.
Growing pomegranates from seeds, according to this longtime gardener, is easy.
One only needs ripe pomegranate seeds and good soil. Garden soil or other high-quality potting media can be used. They also need moist soil to germinate.
“Once mature, they can tolerate drought, but to encourage bigger fruits and heavy fruiting, I water them deeply.” When the pomegranates are almost mature, de Vera carefully waters the tree to prevent the fruits from breaking.
She also prunes the branches that have previously produced fruit to ensure that they will continue bearing fruits throughout the year.
“Here in the tropics, pomegranates take about four months from bud to harvest, but leaving them longer on the tree makes them sweeter since they don’t ripen further when picked.”
The gardener grows pomegranates mainly to harness their nutritional benefits. She said, “You can leave them on the kitchen counter for months so you’re ensured of a good source of antioxidants, fiber, vitamins A, B, C, minerals like calcium, potassium, and iron to boost your immune system ”
Aside from the common fruits and vegetables that her family consumes, de Vera loves growing varieties that can rarely be bought in the market such as purple sugar apple.
Manila Bulletin Publishing Corp