The fruit can be used raw as a vegetable and when ripe as desert. Papaya fruit is delicious and digestive. It is a rich source of vitamin A. Papaya is also an important medicinal plant used in constipation, indigestion, piles, skin diseases etc. Papain obtained from papaya is used in various cosmetic, leather, fabric, food & pharmaceutical industries.
Steps for growing papaya plant by seeds:
- The papaya is propagated through seeds of desirable variety. Buy Papaya seeds online in India.
- Select the seeds of sweet fruit with good flavor, in the absence of seeds of recognized variety.
- Seeds may be sown anytime during summer. Seeds can be sown in polythene bags. Seeds germinate in about 2-3 weeks.
- Papaya can be grown only in well drained light loamy soil rich in organic matter.
- The seedlings when 15-20 cm (6-9 inches) high may be transplanted in pits of 60 cm (2 ft) Diameter after about two months, in the beginning of rains or earlier, depending on irrigation facilities.
- It is better to plant 2 seedlings per pit. As soon as the buds appear, male plants should be removed leaving only 5% of the male plants needed for pollination.
- Provide good quality compost and cow dung manure to plant every 2 months.
- No need to water papaya plant in rainy season. Water papaya tree every 8-10 days in winter and twice a week in summers.
- Drainage is very essential, water logging may cause collar root. Earth up the base of the tree and drain off excess water.
- The papaya starts bearing fruits within a year of transplanting.
- The life of papaya tree is about 3 years. It may continue to give fruits thereafter but the yield will be poor and the quality may also be affected.
- Harvesting papaya fruit: Pick fruit when fully developed but green and lay it on soft straw to ripen. It is sometimes necessary to thin out some fruits to prevent overcrowding. Plant gives fruits all year round under mild tropical conditions.
Growing papaya in containers:
- Select a large sized container; a drum, wooden box or a big grow bag with drainage holes can be selected.
- Add good quality potting mixture like organic veggie mix in the container.
- Plant 2-3 month old papaya seedling of a dwarf, hybrid variety. Avoid planting ordinary unisexual plant with unknown gender.
- If regular variety is grown in containers, it is recommended to plant more than 5 plants in a garden and new trees should be planted every year to keep the plants dwarf.
- Place the container in open sunny location, Regular watering is needed. Read about tips on watering houseplants.
- Rest of the procedure and harvesting can be same as growing papaya on field.
For more details read the Marathi book: ‘Papaychi Lagvad’.