The papaya (Carica papaya) is one of the important delicious fruit crop grown in the tropical and subtropical parts of the world. It is originated in Mexico and spread to almost all the corners of the tropical world.
The papaya is highly productive and interesting crop. It is easy to grow as short duration crop. As a raw fruit, it is used in cooking and some preparations. Its latex is used as a papain in food and medicine industry. Ripe fruit is very delicious containing vitamin A and Carbohydrates.
Climate and Soil:
The papaya being tropical crop favours high temperature and high humidity. It is very susceptible to frost and hail storm. The long days are favourable for good quality and flavour. During flowering, high rains are injurious and cause heavy damage.
The papaya grows under wide types of soils. However, very shallow and very deep black soils are not suitable medium, fertile, well drained and lime free soils are preferred for papaya cultivation.
Commercially the papaya is propagated by seeds. The tissue culture technique is limited to research laboratories only. The seeds loose viability in a short period and therefore the seeds should not be stored for more than a season. The seedlings in polybags are prepared. Due care is taken to avoid damping off of the newly germinated and young seedlings. The seedlings become ready for transplanting within 6-8 weeks.
Planting and Season:
Planting is done during the flowering seasons:
Spring season (February-March)
Monsoon season (June-July)
Autumn season (October-November)
Heavy rains, hot air, frost, etc are considered while selecting the season for planting in a particular area. The pits of 30 x 30 x 30 are prepared in already selected and prepared field at the distance of 2.5 to 3 meters distance. The pits are fitted with well-decomposed FYM and NPK mixtures. A care is taken not to disturb the roots while transplanting the seedlings.
Interculturing is mainly done to remove the weeds during the early period of growth, weeding and hoeing in between rows also favour better aeration to root zone. Some times pre-emerging weed killer like Basalin is used. Secondly, roughing is done to remove extra plants, weak plants and affected plants. After ensuring one plant per pit, earthing up is done 30 cm in radius around the plants.
Special Horticultural practices
Planting of 3 to 4 seedling at one pit and then removing extra plants and keeping one plant per pit while doing so 10 percent male plants are kept in female plant population to have pollination and to improve the fruit
For better growth, production and quality, the optimum soil moisture is maintained by irrigating the crop judiciously. Irrigation interval well depend on season, crop growth and soil type. In no case, water should be allowed to stagnate causing root and stem rot. Drip system of irrigation is beneficial and the actual quantity of water to be given per plant per day should be worked out critically.
Application of manures and fertilizers
The papaya is a very feeder and requires the application of chemical, organic and biofertilisers. The dose of NPK @ 500 kg each per ha, along with 20-25 tonnes of FYM 50 to 100 kg of ormichemi mirconutrients and ultrazyme sea weed extract granules. 25 kg is found for a crop of about 50 tonnes within 18-20 months. Additional 60% of this dose is again applied for the second flush.
The papaya is susceptible for virus disease, which are spread through insect vector. The rouging off is strictly followed to avoid further spread of the disease, in addition the insecticidal sprays are taken against aphids, white flies and other sucking pests. Powder mildew, downy mildew and stem rot providing wind breaks, well drained conditions to soil avoiding planting papaya after papaya and following a suitable crop rotation keeping the field clean and weed free are some of the measures which will help to keep the papaya crop in good healthy condition