The hot summer is over ~ thank goodness!
Finally, the Papaya trees are showing their joy … and I mean real joy. So far, there are 6 trees bearing fruit (at different stages) and 5 with blooms.
Tree no. 1, right by my backdoor.
Tree no. 2, a little further away.
Yes, I’ve run out of hosiery for my poor fruits & definitely need more. 😦
A female tree bearing her 1st round of fruits.
“Baby” Tree only about 4ft tall ~ definitely needs extra care for winter.
To give an idea of their average size, I took a photo with my hand sort of holding the base of the fruit.
They average 5-6lbs per fruit.
And now come the questions ~ Does anyone know where I can get really cheap knee length hosiery? Internet? Walmart? Or is there a better way of protecting papaya from fruitflies & wasps, yet allowing each fruit to get to its maximum size? (I estimate needing about 30 pairs of nylon stockings, heck! I don’t buy that many even for myself!) All advice will be really appreciated.
The Papayas are now speeding up their growth as warm weather approaches. I usually use Knee-length hoisery to protect them against fruit-flies but Walmart has run out them for awhile now, so I’ve had to make my own out of frost blankets.
BUT yesterday, I discovered … oops! wrong size
Undersized “protective gear” which had to be cut a little, to remove
Lesson learned: Treat Papayas like growing kids ~ safer to sew their “wear” 2 sizes bigger, when slipping them on after confirmed pollination, just in case.
Early pre-Spring harvest
The next time I see knee length hoisery on sale, I’m going to buy them by the dozens!! Nothing like the good old knit to fit.
Papaya in stockings, knit to fit, any shape, any size.
Yes, they’ve found my backyard full of Papaya “babies”. I actually lost 6 nicely growing ones, so after some thought, I’ve decided to Bag my Babes.
Home made papaya bags
I made these bags from used odd sized frost sheets with jute twine ties. I’m using jute as they are fibrous and will not loosen or slip open when simply pulled/tightened around the fruit stem.
Healthy, green baby Papaya
A bagged baby papaya
Frost sheets allows the fruit to get some sun and me to see its progress. When it gets to 80% of its full-size, I will use a stretchable knee-length hose over it as the fruit size will then be able to hold it up nicely.
Babes in Bags
For information, the Papaya Fruit Fly (Toxotrypana curvicauda Gerstaecker) is vicious and University of Florida site has details and some very good pics to give an idea.
If you have small yellow ones, get rid of them. I’ve decided to boil them to kill all in there, for safety’s sake (so no re-hatching) and to help reduce their population with no chemicals.
I actually managed to get a photo of this nasty fly sitting on my protective bag.
Papaya fruit fly which will also attack mangoes, plums, etc.