Carica papaya is a species of fruit-bearing tree that is native to the tropical regions of the Americas. It is most commonly known as papaya or pawpaw.
The papaya tree is a fast-growing, herbaceous plant that can reach heights of up to 30 feet. It has a single, smooth trunk with large, deeply lobed leaves that grow at the top of the plant. The tree produces large, melon-like fruit that has soft, orange, or yellow flesh and smooth, edible skin. The fruit is rich in vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium, and calcium.
Papaya trees are propagated through seeds, which can be collected from the fruit or purchased from a nursery. They are easy to grow and are often found in home gardens and on small farms throughout the tropics. Papaya trees prefer a warm, humid climate and well-draining soil. They are generally drought-resistant and can be grown in a variety of soil types, although they prefer a soil pH between 5.5 and 7.0.
Papaya fruit is often eaten fresh, either on its own or as part of a fruit salad. It can also be used in a variety of cooked dishes, including soups, stews, and curries. The leaves of the papaya tree are also edible and are often used in traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments, including digestive problems and infections.
In addition to its culinary and medicinal uses, papaya has several other practical uses. The papaya plant produces a latex-like substance that is used in the production of rubber and other industrial products. The fruit is also a popular ingredient in beauty products, as it is believed to have skin-softening and rejuvenating properties.
Papaya is a valuable agricultural crop in many tropical countries and is grown for both domestic consumption and export. Some of the major papaya-producing countries include Brazil, India, Indonesia, and the Philippines.
Varieties: CO 1, CO 2, CO 3, CO 4, CO 5, CO 6, and CO 7. CO 3 and CO 7 are gynodioecious (bisexual + female) types highly suitable for table purposes and CO 2, CO 5, and CO 6 are dual-purpose varieties for table and papain production.
Soil and climate: It is a tropical fruit and grows well in regions where summer temperature ranges from 350°C – 380°C.
Tolerates frost and comes up to an elevation of 1200 m. Well-drained soils of uniform texture are preferable. If drainage is not adequate, the collar-rot disease may occur.
Sowing: 500 g of seeds are required for planting one ha. June-September is the best season for planting. Avoid planting in the rainy season.
Nursery: Treat the seeds with Captan @ 2 g/kg of seeds. Dibble four seeds in polythene bags at a depth not exceeding one cm. Provide partial shade, and water the bags in a rose can. The seedlings will be ready in about 60 days.
Planting: Plant the seedlings at 1.8 m either way in pits of 45 cm x 45 cm x 45 cm size.
Irrigation: Irrigate copiously after planting. Irrigate the field once a week.
Application of fertilizers: Apply FYM 10 Kg/plant as basal. Apply 50 g in each of N, P, and K per plant at bi-monthly intervals from the third month of planting after removing unwanted sex forms.
Apply 20 g in each of Azospirillum and Phosphobacterium at planting, again six months after planting.
After cultivation: Male trees should be removed after the emergence of inflorescence maintaining one male tree for every 20 female trees for proper fruit set.
In each pit, only one vigorously growing female/hermaphrodite tree should be retained and other plants should be removed. In gynodioecious types like (CO 3, & CO 7) keep one hermaphrodite type/pit and remove female trees.
Micronutrients: Spray ZnSO4
0.5% + H2 BO3 0.1% during the 4th and 8th months to increase growth and yield characters.
Plant Protection (PEST & DISEASES)
Nematodes: To control in the nursery, apply carbofuran 3 G @ 1 g/polythene bag after
Root rot and wilt: In water-stagnated areas, root rot may appear. It is advisable to drench the soil with 1 % Bordeaux mixture or Metalaxyl 0.2%, 2 or 4 times at fortnightly intervals. Good drainage is vital.
Crop duration: 24 – 30 months.
Harvest & Yield
Harvest: Fruits should be picked at the color break stage.
Yield: The average yield is as follows
CO 2: 200-250 t/ha
CO 3: 100-120 t/ha
CO 5: 200-250 t/ha
CO 6: 120-160 t/ha
CO 7: 200-225 t/ha.
(This research was carried out directly at the Tamil Nadu University of Agriculture in India).
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