Growing papaya tree in Sydney
Childhood memories of the fruit of mom’s papaya tree was my prime motivation for growing papaya in my backyard. But, you say … the papaya is a tropical fruit … so can it grow in Sydney ?
The answer is YES ! It CAN !.
I loved papayas – juicy, sweet, and delicious papaya !
The papaya can be used as food in many delicious ways. Some examples are listed below:
- As a fruit salad: The ripe papaya is cut into bite size pieces, chilled, and served as an appetiser before meals.
- As a smoothie: Heap chunks of chilled ripe papayas into a blender. Blend with cold milk, wheatgerm, and raw almonds. Pour the mix into a tall glass. Sprinkle with cinnamom dust. Enjoy !
- Papaya titek: A peranakan soup cooked with semi-ripe papaya. I have memories of mum pounding the fresh herbs and spices to cook this dish. I have since discovered that a tablespoon of laksa paste boiled in a good ikan-bilis stock together with the semi-ripe papaya pieces will do the trick !
Sowing the seeds
- Experiment with a few nice ripe papayas from the fruit market. Save the seeds from the juiciest, tastiest fruit.
- Plant the seeds directly into the soil at a spot in your backyard that is sunny, and sheltered from the elements.
- The best time to do this is in early Spring.
- After a week or so, seedlings will appear. Thin out the seedlings after a few weeks.
The young plant
- Male trees bear flowers that contain only stamens (the male reproductive part)
- Female trees bear flowers that contain an ovary (the female reproductive part)
- Hermaphrodite trees bear flowers that have both male and female parts.
Male or Female?
Congratulations …if your tree bears flowers that resembled this picture … your tree is hermaphrodite, bearing flowers that have both male and female parts. What this means is that the flowers are self-pollinating … and we do not need the services of the bees.
When the temperature drops
Winter passed and Spring came. We were busy and “forgot” to remove the dried out papaya tree.
For once, we were glad that we procrastinated, for with the coming of Spring, we noticed that shoots were forming in the dried out stump of a tree.
- New shoots formed … leaves followed…
- The shoots became branches.
- Flowers appeared soon after.
Copyright Belinda Ong 2016
This is part of Belinda’s Lifestyle series of blogs.