How To Grow Sweet Pawpaws: Improving The Sweetness Of Your Pawpaws

"Kwa nini pawpaw zangu si tamu? (Why are my pawpaws not sweet?)". This is a question we have gotten quite a number of times. Growing pawpaws is easy but producing sweet ones for home consumption or commercial purposes is a dream for many. What many farmers don't know is that growing pawpaws with perfect sweetness is more of a science than an art. Let me walk you through simple steps to make your pawpaws burst with natural sweetness.

A serving of sweet pawpaw from Richfarm Kenya

So to grow sweet pawpaws in Kenya, ensure you do the following: 

1. Choose the right climate

Pawpaws thrive in warm or hot climates, where temperatures range from 21°C to 35°C. While it is possible to grow pawpaws in relatively lower temperatures, providing the a suitable temperature range promotes optimal sugar accumulation and sweetness.

2. Choose the right pawpaw variety

When it comes to growing sweet pawpaws, the choice of the right variety sets the stage for a flavor-filled journey. You know we still have those big traditional pawpaws that are almost bitter, right? Choosing the right variety does not only play a crucial role in determining the sweetness, but also the texture, and overall flavour of your pawpaws. Some varieties are renowned for their sugary profiles, while others offer unique flavor notes. You can read on How to Choose The Best Pawpaw Variety For Your Farm to get more information on that. Get your healthy ready-to-plant sweet pawpaw seedlings and seed varieties from certified nurseries like Richfarm Kenya. Kindly call or WhatsApp 0724698357/0723213602/0798919007 to make your order.

3. Check your soil quality 

The foundation of growing sweet pawpaws or any other fruit or crop lies beneath the surface - in the soil. Choosing the right soil type and ensuring its quality can make all the difference in nurturing a bounty of delicious fruits. Pawpaw trees thrive in well-draining sandy or sandy-loam soils that have a proper balance of essential nutrients. 

The soil should be amended with organic matter like compost, to enhance fertility and structure. A pH level of between 5.5 and 7 is ideal for pawpaw growth. Soil composition directly affects the tree’s ability to absorb essential nutrients for fruit flavour development.

We have given you some details on how to ensure high soil quality for fruit farming in this article: How To Grow Sweet Fruits And Keep Your Customers Coming Back For More 

4. Ensure correct fertilizer application 

We often overlook the need for applying fertilizers on our pawpaw trees because they seem to keep growing with little intervention. However, timely and effective replenishment of the used-up nutrients is one of the key practices in growing irresistibly sweet pawpaws. 

During the early stages - immediately after transplanting - apply fertilizers that are richer in nitrogen. 3 months after transplanting, start applying a balanced fertilizer like NPK 17:17:17 to supply all the nutrients the pawpaw trees need for various developmental needs. During flowering and fruiting, which comes about 6 months after transplanting, give the trees fertilizers that are richer in potassium (element K) such as Multi-K.

5. Ensure correct irrigation schedules

Pawpaw irrigation should be consistent and adequate. While pawpaws do not need a lot of water, they appreciate moist soil but do not tolerate soggy grounds. Allow the soil to dry up slightly between watering sessions to strike the right balance. 

Extreme fluctuations in soil moisture can however impact the fruit quality and general productivity of the tree, so a farmer should strive to ensure a stable water supply. The only way to ensure know that it is time to irrigate, is by physically checking the soil: scoop a handful of soil from just below the surface and squeeze it in your hand. If you are left with soil sticking on your palm, the pawpaw trees still have enough water. 

6. Keep Mealybugs and fungal diseases away at all costs

You can observe steps 1 to 5 of growing sweet pawpaws and have all your efforts go to the drain by simply letting those white wooly pests called mealybugs suck out all the sweetness from your fruits. That is also what fungal diseases do. 

The good thing is that these two challenges are easy to control if the first five steps are well observed. There are  very safe organic and chemical products that are available in agro-vet shops: we shall do a detailed article to guide in this later but if you need help on this, you can always call us on 0724698357 / 0723213602 / 0798919007.

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