Wednesday, 2 November 2011

How to grow Papayas fruits trees (papaws) in Kenya

Papayas fruits trees grow in tropical and subtropical climates and the plants do not tolerate freezing temperatures. Papayas fruits are delicious and grow throughout the year. These fruits are eaten alone or in salad without the skin. The papaws fruits are low in calories and high in potassium, vitamin A and c. Papayas enzymes promote digestion easing constipation and it is efficient in controlling colon infections and colon cancer. The plants are short living perennial trees whose economic life is about 4 years, although the plants have a lifespan of up to 10 years. This means that papaws need to be renewed every 4-5 years for maintenance of an economic orchard. There are three groups of papayas distinguishable by their flowers namely:-
  • Female plants –These fruit trees grows female flowers only
  • Male plants –These grows male flowers only.
  • Hermaphrodites trees –These grows both male and female flowers. Therefore allow 4 plants per hole and later thin out to single trees when flowers appear. You may need to consult your gardening advisor for identification of the flowers.
Papayas require warm to hot climates for growth, and an altitude below 2100m above sea level, with annual rainfall of about 1000mm which is well distributed. The growing soils should be deep, well drained wit adequate moisture, but not waterlogged.
Growing of Papayas is by seed which are extracted from sound papaw fruits and healthy trees. Seeds of Papayas may be direct sown or grown in a nursery first.

Papayas can be directly sown at 6 seeds per hole, and then thinned to four plants per hole after germination and reducing the plants to only one per hole after flowering. In plants where male and female flowers are born on different trees, male trees are allowed at the rate of 25:100 females as pollinators.
Prepare raised beds measuring 1m wide and any convenient length. Papaw seeds are sown at a depth of 1 cm in rows which are 15cm apart. Water the beds heavily before sowing the papaw seed and regularly thereafter. Young plants are ready for transferring to the field at a height of 10-15cm.plants are sown  at a spacing of 3m x 3m in holes measuring 60cm wide and 60cm deep. Mix 18 kg of well decomposed manure with 60 grams of double super phosphate fertilizer and fill the hole with this mixture plus the top  soil, and sow four papaw seedlings per hole which will be thinned out to one per hole at flowering. Firm the soil around the trees seedlings, then Top- dress with 40 grams of CAN fertilizer per hole.
Apply 200g of CAN or ASN on individual papaws once a year at the beginning of rains.
The Average yields of papaw trees are 30-40 tons of marketable fruits per hectare.
The papayas are ready for harvesting when a yellow tinge grows on the blossom end of the fruits. Handle the papaw fruits with care as dropping or bruising lowers the keeping quality.

Value addition
Papaya Jam Making
Ingredients
1kg papayas pulp
½ cup lemon juice
1kg sugar
Procedure
  • Mix all the ingredients and boil together stirring occasionally until thick.
  • Test for readiness by Placing 1 teaspoon of Papayas jam onto a cold plate, once cooled push with a finger; if jam wrinkles setting point has been reached.
  • Pack the  papaw fruits jam  into hot sterilized jars then seal and cool the jam
  • Label the fruits jam and market
  • Growing papaw plants is a worthwhile trees farming activity