Monday, June 23, 2008

Planting Papayas

Yes, I've started to plant a fruit tree from a nursery for the first time, and its Papaya!

Papayas are found to be an anti-ageing fruit, as one article remarked which I uploaded in my blog on Beautiful Skin. Therefore I am making a point to have a few servings weekly of this wonderful fruit. Apart from being juicy and tasty, it is rich in vitamin C, an antioxidant great for the skin.

So, after enjoying a slice of delicious 'solo papaya', a small sized species about the size of an Indian Mango, I saved some of the seeds, and try to follow the instructions I copied from a website on how to plant a papaya from seed. Fellow friend blogger, Jaflam also gave some similiar tips, but this one include a comprehensive step by step instruction for those who are actually interested to plant it too.

Ok, don't laugh at my nusery pot, as I ran out of nursery bags. My papaya seed is planted in this recycled flower pot.

Growing Papayas
Source: ARC of Tropical and Sub-tropical Crops, South Africa

The fruit of papayas is high in vitamin C. You can also pick the fruit when it is green and cook it like a marrow.

Female and male flowers do not grow on the same tree, so you must have male and female trees in the garden.

Papayas grow best in hot areas.
They can tolerate mild frost if they are protected from cold winds.
Soil requirements
They can grow in most kinds of soil, but it must be well drained.
The roots can get diseases if the soil stays too wet.
Loamy soils are best.
Planting date. Papayas can be planted at any time of the year, but preferably in late summer.

Plant papayas 1,5 metres between plants and
3 to 4 metres between rows.

Growing papayas from seeds
It is easy to grow the ordinary papaya tree from seed.

Wash the seeds from a ripe papaya.
Squeeze the seeds from the jelly bag that covers each seed. The seeds will only grow if you remove the bag.
Dry them in a shady place.
Store in a tightly closed container and keep them until December.
Plant the seeds in December. Put 5 seeds to a hole. Do not put any compost or manure into the holes.
Keep the small plants moist.
You can only tell which trees are female and which are male when the trees start to flower. Therefore, you should always have more than one tree per hole, because then you can select the female trees.

Female flowers
bigger, closer to the branch than the male flowers

Male flowers
very small, there are many flowers which grow on long branches of the stem.

Only female trees give fruit but they need male flowers to pollinate them. Leave 1 male tree for 10 female trees.

Dig a hole about twice the size of the bag in which the young tree is growing.
Remove the soil from the hole and add some compost and manure. Mix this with some of the soil that has been dug out.
Take the plant out of the container. If it is a plastic container you just cut it open at the side.
Do not disturb the roots.
Place the tree in the centre of the hole. When you fill up the hole hold the tree so that its base is level with the surrounding ground.

Raise the soil around the tree to dam the water (rain or irrigation).
Do not plant the tree deeper than it was in the container.
Do not cover the stem with soil because it will rot.

Papayas need little water.
They will, however, give more and bigger fruit if they are watered every 2 weeks in the dry season. The flowers will drop if they do not get enough water.
If they are planted in clay soils, make sure that the soil does not stay too wet.
To avoid waterlogging in clay soil, make a ridge and plant the papayas on the ridge.

Compost or manure
Give the tree:
1 bucketful in September,
1 bucketful in November
another bucketful in January.
Sprinkle a few handfuls of manure evenly around the tree each month from September to the end of March.
NB: Do not apply chicken manure on trees younger than 2 years as it can burn the young papaya trees.

Artificial fertiliser
Give the trees 4 tablespoonfuls (115 g) of 2:3:2 in September, November and January.
Sprinkle evenly around the tree, not against the stem.
Keep the trees mulched all the time (use grass, leaves, etc).
Do not grow other plants next to the trunk because it is quite soft. If the trunk is damaged the papaya tree can get diseases.
If the fruit shows humps the tree may be short of boron. Sprinkle 2 tablespoonfuls of borax around the tree.

Pruning and thinning
You can cut the tree (remove top) so that it does not grow too tall. This encourages branching. Cut into winter wood, where leaf scars are close together. Paint the cut with a sealant.

You can pick the fruit when the skin starts to become yellow.
The fruit will ripen after you have picked it.
Handle it carefully because it gets bruised easily.

Papaya trees easily get black leafspot. Your nearest extension officer or cooperative will be able to tell you how to treat this disease.

Okie, good luck!


U.Lee said...

Hi YDiana, interesting and lively posting. I love papays and pineapples...we get ours from Hawaii, Thailand etc.
Old days I used to eat papayas and spit the seeds in the garden...then walk over them...and yes, we had tiny plants coming out, I select the biggest and replant in a proper location...still have a picture in my kitchen of my wife holding one about 15 pounds! Huge one! And sweet. Ha ha.

By the way, if free, go look up 'Bee Pollen' on the Net.
Lots of Hollywood actresses, actors and those who know take Bee Pollen prevents lots of body ailments etc as well, it slows down again, and good complexion.
My wife is 62, looks 45, still with a body to die for, and her lady friends younger than her has more wrinkles, look older. She drinks lots of Chinese green tea, soya bean, and every weekend take an hour nap.
I too take the Bee Pollen...both of us, past 30 years taking one a day before breakfast. We don't take any other whatever suppliments as Bee Pollen has all.
Go check it out, Ydiana. You keep well and have a nice day, Lee.

Ydiana said...

Hello Lee

That's another version I heard about planting papayas. Just throw the seed in the ground, and they'll grow easily. I guess it'll work in a climate like Malaysia. For me, I just want to make sure that this particular species grow, and at the right spot so I can arrange them nicely at my 'kebun'. Hahaha...

Wow, the one you grown is really big, and can be shared by at least 10 servings. The one I chose is a mini or 'solo' and can be eaten by one person in a serving. Convenience! :)

Thanks for the tip on bee pollen. I used to take it once, but did not continue. Wow, must salute your wife. Actually if we find the right diet and nutrition, our body will not age as fast over the years, Just like a well-maintained car..!

I will look up more info on bee polen and share with everyone soon.

TQ Lee!

Kirstz said...

I love to eat papaya and this information is a big help for me to know how to planting a Papaya Tree. I am thankful for those such a wonderful tips. Keep it up.