Feedback: Tips on growing sweetest papayas

Friday March 3 2017

A farmer inspects his papayas in Igembe.

A farmer inspects his papayas in Igembe. Bitterness in pawpaws occurs when during fruit development, the pawpaw plant undergoes a series of adverse conditions. FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By SEEDS OF GOLD EXPERTS
More by this Author

HOW TO MAKE PAWPAWS SWEET

My pawpaws are bitter, what should I do to sweeten them?

Aquiline Mwangi

Generally, ripe pawpaws are supposed to be sweet with butter-like consistency.

However, raw pawpaws together with their seeds contain papain (an enzyme used to digest proteins), which makes them bitter.

Bitterness in pawpaws occurs when during fruit development, the pawpaw plant underwent some stress as a result of nutrient deficiency, pests and diseases such as mosaic or ring spot, inadequate water and unfavourable temperature.

Therefore, for successful fruit production, guard against the above. On the other hand, sweetness of pawpaws tend to reduce in low temperature areas – you did not specify where you are growing them.

Nitrogen application is important in the fruit yield, but application of a high rate also increases the level of papain.

Apart from nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium are also essential for better performance of pawpaws. Fertiliser application should be done six months to the time of fruit harvesting.

Pawpaws also have different cultivars, therefore, grafting high disease and pest resistant rootstock with a scion of high fruit yielding with sweeter fruit qualities can also solve your problem.

Godfrey Were Juma, Department of Dairy Food Science and Technology, Egerton University.

****

I WANT TO KEEP GOATS

I wish to rear goats for meat on an acre in Kiserian. What would be an appropriate breed and where can I acquire them?

Are there feeds that I can buy for goats?

Muondu

Raising goats for commercial meat production is a great business idea with good returns on investment as consumer tastes change.

It seems you already understand the product market.

Galla and Boer goats both do well for meat production.

Galla and Boer goats both do well for meat production. FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

This, should, thus enable you adopt a suitable production plan with appropriate feeding, breeding, disease control and flock size that sustainably fit within your production resources for profit.

Galla and Boer goats both do well for meat production and with time, you cross them with the Small East African goats which are the most common.

Always when selecting the foundation stock, never start with animals from a sale yard that have been culled by other farmers.

Buy from renowned farms or ranches like in Laikipia or Naivasha Sheep and Goats Station.

Felix Akatch Opinya,
Department of Animal Science, Egerton University.

****
SAUSAGE CASINGS

I would like to request the contact of Linnet Mwangi of Egerton so that I can get to know the source of sausage casings in Kenya.

She published an article on the preparation of home-made sausages on November 12 but did not direct those interested in making sausages where to find casings, which are crucial for preparing sausages.

Beneah Shapaya

Casings are crucial in pork, beef and mutton sausage preparation.

With natural casings, hygiene has to be observed when cleaning and handling to avoid cross contamination of the final product.

Edible collagen casings that are commercially sold can also be used.

However, collagen casings are not processed in Kenya and are mostly imported from companies like FoodChem International, Devro Limited and others.

With natural sausage casings, hygiene has to be observed when cleaning and handling to avoid cross contamination of the final product.

With natural sausage casings, hygiene has to be observed when cleaning and handling to avoid cross contamination of the final product. FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Distributors in Kenya of collagen casings can however be found online.

For more information, contact me on 0735349641 or through Department of Dairy and Food Science and Technology.
Linnet Mwangi,
Department of Dairy and Food Science and Technology, Egerton University.

****

SOIL TESTING

I have a farm in Sipili, Laikipia County. Please advise where I can get people to do a soil test for me.

Edwin Chege

You can get in touch with the Soil Science Laboratory in the Department of Crops, Horticulture and Soils, at Egerton University, Njoro.
Hezekiah Korir,
Department of Crops, Horticulture and Soils, Egerton University.

****

MUSICA POTATO SEEDS

I am interested in buying the Musica potato seed.

Where are they largely available?

Irene Oreta

Musica potato is a “new variety” released in 2014.

The variety was intended and is suitable for production in all major growing regions such as Timau, Tigoni, Molo, Narok, Bomet and Timboroa among others.

Farmers weed potatoes in Mau Narok.

Farmers weed potatoes in Mau Narok. Musica potato is a “new variety” released in 2014. FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

However, due to the popularity of other varieties that have penetrated the market and are now household names, Musica is little known.

Farmers who grow the variety are scattered in these production regions.

Sylvans Ochola,
Department of Crops, Horticulture and Soils, Egerton University.

****

HORTICULTURE FARMING

I want to venture into horticulture farming in Kabonge, Kirinyaga on one acre. Kindly advise which crops I should plant and where I can find agricultural experts.

Lastly, the soil is red volcanic and is it advisable to intercrop with coffee?

Paul Wangari

Tomatoes, sweet potatoes, butternuts, French beans, hot pepper, onions, courgettes, baby corn, maize, bananas, watermelons, papayas, avocados and strawberry will do well in Kirinyaga.

You can get agricultural experts from Kalro Mwea or Ministry of Agriculture offices in your county.

Yes, you can intercrop coffee with other crops like maize. Any crop that matures faster than coffee can be intercropped.

Carol Mutua,
Department of Crops, Horticulture and Soils, Egerton University.

****

POWDERY MILDEW DISEASE ON PEAS

My green peas in Olenguruone have been affected by ash like condition as shown in the photo below.

What name is the disease and which chemicals do I use to control it?

Langat, Kuresoi

That is powdery mildew, a fungal disease which affects the leaves and the stems.

A powdery mildew infested crop.

A powdery mildew infested crop. PHOTO | COURTESY

You can control by growing resistant varieties, spraying with fungicides like Sulfur, Neem oil, removing infected leaves, avoiding overwatering to reduce humidity as the disease is favoured by high humidity and doing crop rotation

Carol Mutua,
Department of Crops, Horticulture and Soils, Egerton University.