Papaya farming in Polyhouse
Are you ready to grow Papaya in controlled environment like polyhouse or greenhouse? here is the some basic information of Papaya farming in polyhouse. Papaya plant belongs to the family Caricaceae. Botanically Papaya called as Carica papaya and it is also known as papaw or pawpaw. Papaya originated from tropical America, has become very popular fruit due to its fast growth, high yield, and high nutrient value as well. Papaya is mainly cultivated in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Gujarat, Orissa, West Bengal, Assam, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, and Maharashtra.
Climate and soil condition for Papaya framing in Polyhouse:
Papaya trees grow in tropical climates. Optimum temperature is 25 to 30°C and minimum 16°C. The suitable pH value for Papaya is between 6 and 6.5. The well-drained or sandy loam soil with adequate organic matter is the main important for the Papaya cultivation in Polyhouse. In high rainfall area, if drainage is poor and roots are continuously drenched for 24 – 48 hours, it may cause the death of the plants. Sticky and calcareous soils are not good as rainwater can accumulate in the soil even only for a few hours. In this case, higher raised bed and drainage ditch are mainly recommended.
The growing field must be irrigable and kept at suitable soil moisture which is necessary for the growth of Papaya plants, although dry climate at the time of ripening is good for the Papaya fruit quality.
Continuous cropping in the same field can result in poor growth and cause disease problem of Papaya trees. A papaya tree does not like the strong, cool, hot, dry or salty wind. Papaya is better to grow in sheltered but full sunshine place. Staking and windbreak can decrease the damage to plants under strong wind.
Land preparation for Papaya farming:
A well-drained upland is selected for Papaya cultivation. In open and high lying areas Papaya plants are exposed to strong winds or storm. Therefore, for the proper establishment of Papaya plantation, appropriate windbreak should be planted at the orchard boundary.
The seed should be from a dependable source and sown as soon as possible. The remaining seeds should be sealed tightly and kept at cool (5 -10°C) and dry (under relative humidity 40%) place. 500 g of seeds are required for planting one hectare.
The season for Papaya farming in Polyhouse:
Papaya trees are planted during monsoon, autumn, and spring season. It is not planted during the winter season as the frost can cause damage or injury to the crop. In other words, Papaya trees are planted during the months of June-July (monsoon), October-November (autumn) or February-March (summer). The first few things to be considered while Papaya farming is rain, frost and hot air since all three cause injury to the plant.
Papayas are commonly grown from seed. Germination can take 3 to 5 weeks. It is expedited to 2 to 3 weeks and the percentage of germination process increased by washing off the aril. Then the seeds want to be dried and dusted with fungicide to avoid damping-off, a common cause of loss of seedlings.
Well-prepared seeds can be stored for as long as three years but the percentage of germination declines with age. Dipping for 15 seconds in hot water at 158ºF (70º C) and then soaking for 24 hrs in distilled water after removal from storage will develop the germination rate. If germination is slow at some seasons, treatment with gibberellic acid can be needed to get quicker results.
Seeds can be planted directly in the field, or seedlings raised in beds or pots may be transplanted when 6 weeks old or even up to 6 months of age. Though there should be great care in handling and the longer the delay the greater the risk of dehydrated or twisted roots. Also, transplanting often results in trunk-curvature in windy locations.
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Seed germination process of Papaya:
The optimum temperature range is 21 – 27°C, and of radical emergence is 19 – 29°C. It takes 1 to 4 weeks from sowing to emerge depending on the temperature. The seed can be treated with Thiram (TMTD) W.P. before sowing to control the fungus diseases at young plant stage.
Some facts of Papaya farming in Polyhouse:
- A Polyhouse is normally made of transparent, tight, cheap and flexible polythene. In these houses, fruit crops can be grown in any season of the year, because temperature and humidity can easily be controlled in Polyhouse. Polythene conserves the thermal radiation, which increases the temperature and provides enough energy for the photosynthesis process.
- Papaya trees grown under the Polyhouse are safe from unfavorable environment and hailstorm, heavy rains or scorching sunshine. They are saved from birds and other wild animals.
- The humidity of the Polyhouse farming is not adversely affected by evaporation resulting in less requirement of water. In the limited area of the Polyhouse, insect and pest control is easy and less expensive.
- Before sowing the Papaya seeds, rotten manure is filled in polythene bags of 10 x 15 centimeters size, along with the equal quantity of soil and sand. Then, water is sprinkled on the bags and seeds are sown in the bags. Small holes are produced in the bags for easy aeration. These bags are kept inside the Polyhouse till the Papaya plants grow to about 10-15 centimeters and are then transferred to pots or earth. These plants must be given manure and water from time to time.
- Generally, the disease does not spread, if at all, a little spray can be required. In about one month the formation of fruits will be started.
- For earning maximum profit through maximum production from the Papaya crops grown in the Polyhouse, it is not only necessary to pay proper attention to the supply of manure and water to the plants and protects them from disease but their cleanliness and pruning is also important.
Manuring and Fertilization:
A Papaya tree needs more nutrition due to its short juvenile period. It prefers soils with excellent organic matter. Apply 20kg of farmyard manure by mixing with 200g of urea 400g of muriate of potash in February month or March every year per plant. The manure and fertilizer mixture must be mixed within a radius of 40cm around the plants.
Water requirement for Papaya farming in polyhouse
Water requirement for Papaya farming depends on the environmental factors of the area like light, temperature, wind, soil type, etc. It differs with the age of the plant. A young Papaya plant would want more moisture than the older trees. This is because older Papaya trees have slower vegetative growth. Hence the seedlings are irrigated once or twice a week while fruit-bearing trees want irrigation once in every 15 days.
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Normally, watering Papaya every 10 days in winter or every week in summer, but practice varies according to the soil, climatic conditions, and irrigation methods. Ring method, furrow method or drip irrigation can be done. Though, be sure to prevent the water from coming in contact with the stem. Irrigation can prevent the plants from the damage of frost.
Transplanting of Papaya seedlings:
Seedlings are ready for transplanting into the field about 6 to 8 weeks after germination. Transport the seedlings to the field 3 to 4 days before the proposed planting date to reduce stress at planting. When transporting to the field, protect them from the winds. Avoid holding the seedlings by the stem when they are in the plastic bags. This can cause severe stem and root damage and the plants do not establish simply in the field.
Pests and diseases:
The main diseases that affect Papaya trees are anthracnose, powdery mildew, stem rot and damping off. Water logging around the roots is the main reason for rots to occur. Wettable Sulphur, carbendazim, and mancozeb are most effective in controlling these diseases.
Aphids, red spider mite, stem borer, fruit flies, grey weevils and grasshoppers are the insects attacking Papaya trees. Destroying the infected part and spraying prophylactic spray like 0.3% dimethoate would help to control them.
Papaya harvesting procedure:
In general, Papaya takes 6 months to flower and another 5 months for harvesting; but it may vary according to the climate conditions and management. For shipping to the distant markets, the fruits must be harvested when the apical and starts turning yellow and the latex is no longer milky. During the cold months, the Papaya fruits can be left on the tree to develop deeper color and obtain better flavor.
Papaya fruits are harvested when they are of full size, light green with a tinge of yellow at the apical end. On ripening, Papaya fruits of certain varieties turn yellow while some of them remain green. When the latex ceases to be milky and become watery, the Papaya fruits are suitable for harvesting.
The economic life of the Papaya plant is 3 to 4 years. The Papaya yield varies widely according to variety, soil, climate and management of the orchard.
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