- Lowers cholesterol: Papaya is rich in fibre, Vitamin C and antioxidants which prevent cholesterol build up in the arteries.
- Helps in weight loss: Those looking to lose weight must include papaya in their diet as it is very low in calories. The fibre content in papaya leaves you feeling full and also clears your bowel movement making your weight loss regime easier.
- Boosts your immunity: Your immunity system acts as a shield against various infections that can make you really sick.
- Good for diabetics: Papaya is an excellent food option for diabetics as it has a low-sugar content even though it is sweet to taste.
- Great for your eyes: Papaya is rich in Vitamin A which helps protect your vision from degenerating.
- Protects against arthritis: Arthritis can be a really debilitating disease and people who have it may find their quality of life reduced significantly. Eating papayas are good for your bones as they have anti-inflammatory properties along with Vitamin C which helps in keeping various forms of arthritis at bay.
- Improves digestion: In today’s times, it is near impossible to avoid eating foods that are bad for your digestive system. Often we find ourselves eating junk food or restaurant food prepared in excessive quantities of oil. Eating a papaya daily can make up for such occasional mistakes, as it has a digestive enzyme known as papain along with fibre which helps improve your digestive health.
- Helps ease menstrual pain: Women who are experiencing menstrual pain should help themselves to several servings of papaya, as an enzyme called papain helps in regulating and easing flow during menstrual periods.
- Prevents signs of ageing: All of us would love to stay young forever, but no one in this world has managed to do it. Still, healthy habits like eating a papaya daily will prolong the process and may make you look 5 years younger than you are.
- Prevents cancer: Papaya is a rich source of antioxidants, phytonutrients and flavonoids that prevent your cells from undergoing free radical damage. Some studies have also linked the consumption papaya to reduced risk of colon and prostate cancer.
- Helps reduce stress: After working hard for the whole day, it is a good idea to come home to a plate a papayas. The wonder fruit is rich in several nutrients like Vitamin C which can keep you free from stress.
- Papayas grow best in hot areas.
- They can tolerate mild frost if they are protected from cold winds.
- They can grow in most kinds of soil, but it must be well drained.
- The roots can get diseases if the soil stays too wet.
- Loamy soils are best.
Papayas can be planted at any time of the year, but preferably in late summer
Plant papayas 1.5 metres between plants and 3 to 4 metres between rows.
Growing papayas from seeds
It is easy to grow the ordinary papaya tree from seed.
- Wash the seeds from a ripe papaya.
- Squeeze the seeds from the jelly bag that covers each seed. The seeds will only grow if you remove the bag.
- Dry them in a shady place.
- Store in a tightly closed container and keep them until December.
- Plant the seeds in December. Put 5 seeds to a hole. Do not put any compost or manure into the holes.
- Keep the small plants moist.
- You can only tell which trees are female and which are male when the trees start to flower. Therefore, you should always have more than one tree per hole, because then you can select the female trees.
- closer to the branch than the male flowers
- very small
- there are many flowers which grow on long branches of the stem.
- only female trees give fruit but they need male flowers to pollinate them. Leave 1 male tree for 10 female trees.
- Dig a hole about twice the size of the bag in which the young tree is growing.
- Remove the soil from the hole and add some compost and manure. Mix this with some of the soil that has been dug out.
- Take the plant out of the container. If it is a plastic container you just cut it open at the side.
- Do not disturb the roots.
- Place the tree in the centre of the hole. When you fill up the hole hold the tree so that its base is level with the surrounding ground.
- Raise the soil around the tree to dam the water (rain or irrigation).
- Do not plant the tree deeper than it was in the container.
- Do not cover the stem with soil because it will rot.
- Papayas need little water.
- They will, however, give more and bigger fruit if they are watered every 2 weeks in the dry season. The flowers will drop if they do not get enough water.
- If they are planted in clay soils, make sure that the soil does not stay too wet.
- To avoid waterlogging in clay soil, make a ridge and plant the papayas on the ridge.
Compost or manure
Give the tree:
- 1 bucketful in September,
- 1 bucketful in November
- Another bucketful in January.
- Sprinkle a few handfuls of manure evenly around the tree each month from September to the end of March.
NB: Do not apply chicken manure on trees younger than 2 years as it can burn the young papaya trees.
- Give the trees 4 tablespoonfuls (115 g) of 2:3:2 in September, November and January.
- Sprinkle evenly around the tree, not against the stem.
- Keep the trees mulched all the time (use grass, leaves, etc).
- Do not grow other plants next to the trunk because it is quite soft. If the trunk is damaged the papaya tree can get diseases.
- If the fruit shows humps the tree may be short of boron. Sprinkle 2 tablespoonfuls of borax around the tree.
Pruning and thinning
You can cut the tree (remove top) so that it does not grow too tall. This encourages branching.
- You can pick the fruit when the skin starts to become yellow.
- The fruit will ripen after you have picked it.
- Handle it carefully because it gets bruised easily.