Eating is an agricultural act - Wendell Berry

Thursday, December 16, 2010


after cracking the banana code, papayas are next.
we have been planting seeds and saplings since early this year with near total wipe out.
we kept hearing that it is best left to nature. just cast the seeds after eating them and thats that.

so we finally gave up the attempts and followed the above principle.
and that worked from the germination end, but we chose bad areas to drop the seeds and the saplings died out.

then 2 strokes of luck.
one sapling we had forgotten about, survived the early stages and came through very vigourously. it is growing right at the exit of the wash water from the bathroom and get copious water.

the second stroke was from the 2 piles of compost that we bought from the nearby village.
each pile was a veritable papaya jungle. obviously some cow had munched through a papaya and fertilised it thorough its digestive system and dropped it intact and ready to take off.
and boy did they.

so now we are close to cracking the code.
papayas have male plants and female plants. and hence there is only a 50% probability of a fruiting tree.

the girl plant

the boy plant

and our jackpot tree.

as raj mentions, it is one of the least demanding of trees.
now we have a combination garden area with bananas and papayas surrounded by the pit and trench beds.


Raja said...

Hey All,

Thanks for mentioning me here.
I must tell you about one experiment that i have done with the male papaya plants to make them fruit.

Take a small wooden piece, roughly of length 6" and diameter 1" or slightly less. Insert it right in the middle of the papaya plant 6" inches from the bottom and wait for your luck.

I and in fact lot of people in Orissa know of this technique and use it quite often to make the male plants fruit successfully. I have seen the technique work during my childhood days used the technique recently on 2 male papaya plants here in my apartment and the success rate is 100% :) So, try your luck.

Don't ask me for any scientific reasoning though :)


Anonymous said...

Papayas are better than potatoes. Getting to grow the papaya is far beneficial than potatoes and done right is a bigger source of income. Yes even for organic/nature farmers, they have to show that their farms are profitable to get others off the addiction of pesticides and inorganic fertilizers.

Your own experience has shown that papayas need heavy fertilizers, since the seeds through the cow grew best right in the compost pile. I think you can learn from there. Note one male to 12-16 females is a good ratio, and sacrifice a healthy fruit every one year, at the place where it grows best.

Other things you should grow, since you have land (unlike lot of kitchen gardners).,

1. Karvepallai (Or Karepak or Black Neem)

2. Neem. You will find good uses of it.

3. Coconut trees.

Anonymous said...

To the commentor above (Raja)., neem oil is an excellent repellent even for aphids, just use it before or during the initial onset of aphids. Also insects like praying mantis and lady bugs will help. Get a chameleon as well and frogs as well. Nice additions to garden.

csm said...

thanks raja. will give it a shot at some stage. though it does appear to be a bit cruel :-)

anon-agree. check on all 3 trees you listed. surprised that you have not indicated any raw papaya fundas ;-)

Prashant said...

let me tell you the way we have been growing high quality papayas at my home, litearally hundreds of kilos each year .

*Get a very good quality papaya from market.
*Cut it using a sharp wooden piece, no metal knife.
*Get seeds out, put it in ash and let them dry in sunlight.
*Your seeds are ready , plant them and enjooy sweet fruites.

By the way male papays too give lot of fruites... at later stage .

As Raja commented putting a wooden piece at papaya plant do work many times...


madhavi said...

interesting info there, I was gifted a papaya about two years ago - quite a few point I learnt and still many I donot understand. It grew really well - I mean really think trunk and flowered nicely - first crop was bad - then 2 second was OK sometimes bitter and some tasteless. now the third really is good crop. I used to water it a lot and then someone mentioned - papaya does not need a lot of water - still rains were great so not sure about the water stuff. One other positive thing being my home compost bag is right next to the papaya tree so I am thinking all the compost tea or water going to the plant.

madhavi said...

The plant had male and female flowers in the same plant - also one of your plants had a long stem for the flowers - mine the flowers are stuck to the trunk and all three flowers had fruits so they were conjested and were small in size. so long story short not sure about these fruit trees - I guess you have to just grow many of them to gain experience.
one request if you find some code for lemon/lime/bitterlime would be great - I have two plants that have no flower/fruit on them