By MEREDITH KIRTON
Papaya, or Pawpaw (Carica papaya), are easily grown fruit trees for the backyard. Although they need a basically frost free position, they can be grown in a wider range of climates if placed on the north side of homes, against brick walls, to offer some overnight warmth from the reflected heat of the house.
Papaw have interesting sex lives. Basically, there are girl plants and boys plants, and the two have to meet via the bees and the butterflies…you know the story. But wait, there’s a twist, you can actually save yourself the trouble of planting two trees and cross pollinating by buying a bisexual plant, which will fertilise itself.
Plant your specimen in a well drained position, as they can get root rot easily, and stand back. They are so fast growing you’ll have fruit probably forming the next season. In fact, they only take 18 months to fruit from seed. Papaw also have the weird ability to be able to develop their fruits, and if the weather isn’t favourable for ripening, they can put themselves into a holding pattern and wait for more temperate conditions. This means that cropping is variable, depending on when and where you have your tree growing.
Papaw can be eaten green, or allowed to change colour to either red, orange or golden, depending on the variety. If you are ripening your papaw in fruit fly prone areas, slipping over a specially designed cloth bag is a good idea to exclude this troublesome fly and stop it laying maggots into your crop.
Photography by SUE STUBBS | Blog designed by RED PEPPER GRAPHICS