Papaya (Carica papaya) is one of the very popular tropical fruits belongs to the cactus group of plants. While it can tolerate dry and hot environment, it needs adequate water supply through out its life span. It prefers deep loamy soils rich in plant nutrient, well drained, good air flow and plenty of sunlight. Papaya is a fast growing tree-like herb that reaches 3 to 10 meters tall. It is usually without branched during its initial growth, When it reaches maturity usually after one year of production, new shoots appear at the lower trunk that develop into branches when the plant reaches it maximum high or when the main top stem is prune off. The whole plant contain a rich sap or white latex from which the substance called Papain is extracted. The leaves are arranges spirally, greenish or purplish green, measuring 25-27 c, in diameter. The leaves have 7-11 lobes that have prominent vains and are deeply and broadly toothed. Male, female and hermaphrodite (containing both male and female parts) flowers are found in separate plants. The fruits weigh 200 – 300 grams. for solo variety and up to 10 kilograms for the large variety. The flesh is yellow to re-orange when ripe. It tastes from watery blunt to sweet and very sweet with a mild and pleasant flavor and roma. Fruits from female plants are rounded while those from hermaphrodite plants are elongated or oblong. Seeds are numerous and are enveloped by a gelatinous seed coat.
Scientific name: Carica papaya
Common name: Papaya
How to grow and maintain papaya:
Papayas require a light, very much depleted soil. They are effortlessly slaughtered by overabundance dampness. The dirt should be clammy in hot climate and dry in cool climate. Since this is the inverse of California’s rain design, notwithstanding great waste, plastic covers to avert over-wetting in winter may likewise be advantageous. Papayas don’t endure salty water or soil.
Watering is the most basic perspective in raising papayas. The plants ought to be continued to the dry side to stay away from root decay, additionally require enough water to bolster their vast takes off. In winter the plant wants to stay as dry as could reasonably be expected. A plant that has been harmed by ice is especially powerless to root decay.
The quickly developing papaya requires consistent utilizations of nitrogen composts yet the correct rates have not been set up. Bolster month to month and conform as per the plant’s reaction. They can take genuinely hot natural preparing, for example, chicken compost if utilized with profound water system after warm climate has begun. Phosphorus inadequacy casuses dim green foliage with a ruddy purple staining of leaf veins and stalks.
Papayas are ready to harvest when most of the skin is yellow-green. After several days of ripening at room temperature, they will be almost fully yellow and slightly soft to the touch. Dark green fruit will not ripen properly off the tree, even though it may turn yellow on the outside. Mature fruit can be stored at 45° F for about 3 weeks. Papayas are often sliced and eaten by themselves or served with a myriad of other foods. They can also be cooked to make chutney or various desserts. Green papayas should not be eaten raw because of the latex they contain, although they are frequently boiled and eaten as a vegetable.
Pests and diseases:
Thrips, mites and white flies as well as In red spider and fruit spotting bugs are potential problems in some areas. The plants may also be attacked by mildew, anthracnose, root rot and various virus diseases Fruit flies often ruin the fruit in Florida and Hawaii. Nematodes can attack the roots and are often a factor in the decline of individual plant. Gopher damage can be avoided by planting in wire baskets. Papaya plants should probably be replaced every 4 years or so.