Papaya is one of the easiest and widely cultivated delicious fruit which can be used as a vegetable in conjunction with medicine. That is why it is very commonly grown as a garden plant almost in every house of India. It is a single stem growing tree usually of 5 to 10m height especially grown in tropical regions. Production wise India holds top place in the annual turnover with nearly 45% rate. So lets see what are the most favorable conditions to grow this nutritious fruit.
Climate and soil
- Papaya is mostly grown in tropical and sub tropical climatic conditions. It require high temperatures as it is very sensitive to heavy rains and frost.
- According to farming experts water logging can damage the plant with in one day. Hence they suggest anything under 29oF temperature is unsuitable for its growth.
- Mostly sandy soils are preferred but well drained soils are also very much suitable for its cultivation as they can avoid rot diseases.
Cultivars and propagation
- Red papaya and yellow papaya are the two most commonly grown cultivars across the world. It is needless to say that the names are derived from its flesh color.
- There are wide varieties of papayas and mostly they are propagated through seeds even though tissue culture is dominating in recent times.
- The seeds of papaya are sensitive and can lose their essence in quick time. Hence these are germinated for 2 to 3 months in nurseries to get the seedlings.
Land preparation and Planting
- Papaya trees are very sensitive and can break for heavy winds and also it dies if too much water is present. So care should be taken such that the land is free from wind and water storage.
- If not, sufficient wind breakers are adopted and the land should be leveled to avoid any water storage.
- When you are germinating the seeds in the nursery, simultaneously dig the pits with 45cm dimensions and add necessary manure for each pit.
- Usually three seedlings are planted per pit and later at the flowering stage remaining two male plants are removed to avoid weeds.
- Irrigating of these plants depend on the soil type and weather conditions. During rainy and winter seasons watering should be done at an interval of once in two weeks.
- In summer season it is required to provide water at an interval of one week.
- To protect the plants from the frost during winter season the top most part of the plant is covered with polythene cover or gunny bags with holes in it.
- Coming to diseases the most commonly affecting are anthracnose, powdery mildew, stem rot etc. Take the expert advice to cure them and make sure that there is no water logging.
- Stem borer, red spiders, aphids, fruit flies and grasshoppers are the frequently seen insects in this crop. Just remove the affected parts and consult the farming experts to prevent them.
- The fruits turn in to yellow color at the end of the apex indicating the right time for harvesting. At this stage they are fully grown and the latex, instead of being milky turns in to watery.
- Usually this crop lasts for 3 years and hence small crops like tomato can be incorporated as an intercrop to increase the profits.
- At an average the crop yields 200 to 250 tons per hectare depending on the variety used.