Saturday, September 12, 2015

Papayas

I've decided to grow plenty of papayas for livestock feed. They are really easy to grow here. And since me or my friends eat a papaya every day, I have access to scads of seeds. 
Each papaya contains dozens if not hundreds of seeds. The seeds are those round little black things.

By the way, papayas come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. I have the yellow-orange and the pinkish ones growing in my area. The animals like both equally. 

Which livestock animals eat papayas? Every one that I have. Chickens. Rabbits. Pigs. Goats. Sheep. Horse. Donkeys. Only our dogs and cats don't. And quite honestly, I haven't tried it with the dogs. 

I was surprised to find out that the entire plant is edible. Our goat and horse educated me on this score. Leaves, stems, fruits, flowers. They devour them all. The only thing left behind is the woody truck. Of course I wasn't intending to feed my trees to them when they were giving me my papaya lessons. Those scoundrels escaped the pasture and wiped me out, and not just the papayas. The four footed destructo-team also cycloned through a banana patch. That's how I found out that the entire banana tree was edible too, at least as livestock fodder.

So now I grow papaya seedlings for the rabbits and as a treat for the others. And I always leave a few of the most robust seedlings to grow into trees. The fruits are welcomed not only by my animals, but they also make for a good breakfast for me and my friends. 

The little tree above I saved from pulling out because it happened to come up next to a baby coffee tree. It will provide a little intermittent shade while the coffee seedling is taking hold. When the coffee seedling starts growing I will harvest the papaya tree. That will be in a month or two, before the papaya interferes with the little coffee tree. 

Sowing the seeds is easy. I use the seeds fresh out of the papaya. I don't bother to clean them, nor dry them. I'll use a handpick or a trowel to open up the soil, I'll spread in some seeds, then cover them lightly with soil. I don't mind sowing them fairly thick because I have plenty of seeds and not all they seeds germinate. They can be crowded since they get harvested for livestock feed while small. Depending upon when I need them, I'll pull them out or chop them as the soil level when they are anywhere from a foot tall and up.

At times I have too many fresh seeds to deal with planting them my usual way. When I'm busy, I'll just fling them here and there. Any that happen to germinate and survive, so be it. Surprisingly I get quite a lot of young trees that way, but they don't come in thickly like they do when planted in a bed and covered with a tad of soil. But the labor effort is zilch, so that's a  plus. 

Occasionally I find papaya seedlings scattered about the homestead nowhere near where I planted them. I can only assume that the seeds got there via wildlife or via the livestock manure. Either way, it's fine with me. No labor animal fodder! But sometimes I'll allow a volunteer papaya to stay, like the one now growing in the community garden. By the way, it's doing great because of the enhanced soil fertility. 

It's leaves are large and glossy green. The truck thick. It's loves that spot. I hope it turns out to be a good tasting one! 


5 comments:

  1. Hi,
    Can you tell GMO papaya from organic papaya??

    ReplyDelete
  2. There is a lab test that can be done to tell you if a particular tree is GMO or not. You can't tell just by looking at the tree or the fruit. Here on my island the ag extention office in Hilo can do the test. It cost $3 the last time I checked. To do the test they use one of the very young, pale green almost translucent baby leaves from the top of the plant.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Wow, lucky animals. I love papaya. I wonder how long till a new tree fruits. Do you grow mango? I had luck sprouting one by carefully cutting off the shell around the seed with a knife then placing the seed in a glass of water. I used toothpicks to suspend it so it was not completely submerged.

    Twitter @honeytubs

    ReplyDelete
  4. Wow, lucky animals. I love papaya. I wonder how long till a new tree fruits. Do you grow mango? I had luck sprouting one by carefully cutting off the shell around the seed with a knife then placing the seed in a glass of water. I used toothpicks to suspend it so it was not completely submerged.

    Twitter @honeytubs

    ReplyDelete