Saturday, 14 July 2012

Nursery establishment for Passion fruit growing in Kenya

Passion fruit is a climbing plant or vine widely grown in Kenya for fresh consumption and delicious juice extraction and grown from seed or grafting. There are many passion fruit species, nevertheless only two species are edible i.e. Passiflora endulis and the giant granadilla passiflora quandrangularis. Passiflora edulis is more common and has two distinct types namely the purple or yellow passion. The purple passion is more suited for fresh consumption while the yellow passion fruit is more suited for juice production. Two methods of growing used are seed and grafting. Growing from Seed is carried out using fresh seed from the fruit as old seed does not germinate well. Seedlings should bee produced in an area where rain can be kept off.
Growing passion fruit from seed
·        Choose a well developed ripe fruit from the vine. Wash the contents to separate seed and pulp, and then dry the seed in the shade as seed germination can be reduced by drying in the full sun.
·         Germination may be improved by softening the seed coat by allowing the seed together with the pulp to ferment for 1 to 3 days in a plastic container. The passion seed is then thoroughly washed, dried and sown as soon as possible. Germination can also be improved by priming which is soaking the seed in warm water for one hour before planting.
·        Water the seeds using a fine mist from a hand held sprayer or watering can. Continue watering about twice a day ensuring good drainage of excess water.
·        Passion fruit seed can be planted in trays or seedbed. Once germinated and having two true leaves they are transplanted to bags or bigger trays to ensure more space so that the root do not become entangled as the seedling grows.
·        Harden off the final seedlings before they are transplanted to the field by setting them out of the shade in thegrowing area for 2-3 days in advance.
·        Select only the vigorously growing seedlings which are dark green and free from nematodes and fungal diseases. They should not be stunted and leaves should be free of any deformity.  
Graft propagation of passion fruit
Grafting is an important means of perpetuating hybrids as well as reducing pest and diseases damage, by using resistant passion fruit rootstock.
·        Rootstock material should be planted in a separate area to avoid crossing with other fruit cultivars through cross pollination.
·        Scion material is best obtained from young seedlings planted for this purpose
·        Seed to grafting stage can take two months and from grafting to planting one month
Cleft or wedge grafting
This is the most efficient method of grafting.
1.      Select two seedlings to be grafted with the same thickness of stem each about ‘pencil thick’ to make the grafting easier.
2.      Cut off the top of the rootstock seedling at a suitable height about 20-25cm with a sharp knife remove the leaves from the rootstock at the grafting point but retain the leaves below.
3.      Make a split 23-40mm long in the cut end of the rootstock
4.      use tip scions 5-8cm long with the terminal leaves still attached
5.      Cut the scions with the wedge the same length as the split in the stock and insert to the full length of the cut. use grafting tape or plastic to hold the union
6.      Do not remove the binding tape until the union has grown together
7.      It takes about 2 months for the union to grow together and the passion fruit seedling to grown enough for transplanting.
Planting time
 For seed produced seedlings transplant tray grown seedlings to the field at 30 days while those raised in bags are transplanted at 45 days, when they are around 150mm in height.For grafted passion fruit seedlings transplant to the field at 45 days.For more information