Category: Food

Unripe papayas get a green light for taste

Although I have a flourishing garden, I rarely buy plants. Instead, I beg and gather seeds or wait to see what “volunteers” grow in my yard. A few months ago, I was surprised to see what looked like a papaya tree. I figured either birds had dropped seeds, or they were in the homemade compost I had recently spread. Either way, the tree was a welcome addition to my backyard “fruit salad” that also includes mangoes, figs, and pineapples. My first step was to check the internet to see what I needed to know about growing papayas. And the first warning I found was to not transplant them. They have deep roots that can be destroyed by digging. Despite the warning, I realized mine was in a shady spot with no room to grow. It had to be moved. My guess is, I got to it when the roots were still small because the move didn’t seem to bother it. After two weeks of hand-watering, it settled in and started to grow … and grow and grow. Today, it is over 15 feet tall. My next question was whether I had a male or female plant. Yes, you need one of each for papayas to fruit. Turns out, I had a female, but there must have been a male hovering nearby because I soon had long green fruits dangling...

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