6 MONTHS AND YOU HAVE YOUR YUMMY FRUITS

Passion fruits are the most widely adaptable of the fruits and can be grown throughout Kenya. The wide variation in climates within the Country and the wide adaptation of the passion plant permit production, harvesting, and marketing throughout the year.

Propagation

Sweet Yellow passion is propagated by the use of seedlings/ cuttings that take 6 months to maturity.

Factors to Consider When Growing sweet yellow passion.

The establishment of an orchard is a long-term investment and deserves very critical planning. The primary consideration before setting up an orchard is to analyze the available resources in the context of those, which are essential for successful fruit production. Careful planning results in optimum production, high returns, and long tree life. Poor initial decisions can be costly and difficult to correct later. All available pertinent information should therefore be sought out before final commitments are made. Site selection is one of the most important decisions a grower will make over the life of an orchard. Virtually every aspect of production and marketing is, to a degree, affected by the site. It affects cropping consistency, fruit quality, pest pressures, and marketing success.

Site Selection

Vines require full sunlight for proper growth. It is best grown in areas with an annual rainfall of at least 900 mm. Passion fruit may be grown on a wide range of soil types, but the best-suited soils are light to heavy sandy loam of medium texture having a pH range of 6.5 to 7.5. The plant needs good drainage. Vines will not tolerate waterlogged conditions for long periods. The passion fruit vine grows better in areas that are protected from the wind. Flat and smoothly undulated lands (gradients less than 8%) are most suitable, on steeper slopes (in the range of 8 to 30%) irrigation and/or fertigation are more difficult while in very steep areas, passion fruit should be grown individually with good natural soil covering.

Land Preparation

Land preparation may be conducted one to two months before planting the vines. The land must first be cleared. This produces green mulch that can be incorporated back into the soil when plowing and rotovating. This ensures a quick and even establishment of vines. Soil analysis should be conducted and all necessary adjustments made before planting. Plowing organic matter into the soil is beneficial. Organic mulch can be added around these vines because they are shallow-rooted.

Land preparation aims to improve the soil conditions for root development, by way of increasing aeration and water infiltration and reducing soil resistance to root growth. Manual soil preparation starts with clearing existing vegetation and using it as mulch or burning it. Soil preparation is limited to the manual opening of the pits for planting the vines. Mechanical preparation is done by machine, taking care to not remove the superficial layer of soil, which is rich in organic material. This is followed by plowing and then pit digging or creating furrows for planting. Surface scarifying may substitute for plowing for minimum soil preparation.

Soil

Passion fruit vines grow on many soil types but light to heavy sandy loam with a pH of 6.5 to 7.5 is the most suitable. Also, the soil should be rich in organic matter and low in salts. If the soil is too acidic, lime must be applied. Because the vines are shallow-rooted, they will benefit from a thick layer of organic mulch. Well-drained soil is essential. Otherwise, root problems develop that soon destroy these plants. . Passion fruit can be grown on a range of soils, sandy to clay loam. In general, it is recommended that the soil should be deep, relatively fertile, and well-drained. Poorly permeable soils with high clay content, subject to flooding, are not recommended. For clay soils, it is advisable to use organic matter in the ratio of 2 parts to one part of the soil to improve fertility, reduce leaching of nutrients below roots level.

Trellis Construction

Trellises are required for the commercial production of passion fruit. Trellises contribute most to the cost of production of the crop and should be constructed properly. Trellises should be constructed in the same direction as the wind wherever possible. On sloping terrain, trellises should be constructed across the slope. Although the passion fruit is more productive if allowed to climb a tall tree, trellising is recommended for many reasons. Trellis rows should be oriented north-south for maximum exposure to sunlight, and the vines should be allowed to grow together along the trellises to promote cross-pollination. Trellises can be horizontal or vertical. Horizontal trellises have cross-pieces at the top of each post with 2-4 wires strung horizontally 60 cm (2 ft.) apart along the top of each cross-piece. Vertical trellises consist of heavy posts without cross-pieces, with 2 or 3 wires strung along the row like barbed wire fencing, attached to the posts from the top down at intervals about 30-40 cm (12-16 in.) apart.

Trellis wires should be No. 9 or 10 galvanized steel. The posts need to be stout enough to withstand the weight of the vines throughout a season that normally includes the buffeting of strong winds. Ideally, they should be long enough to provide a trellis height of 1.5 m (5 ft.), with 45-75 cm (18-30 in.) in the ground.

Training

Temporary support at each plant is necessary to train it to get a good hold on the wires of the trellis, after which it takes care of itself and needs no other support. The principal objective is to get the vine to the trellis wires in the simplest, quickest, and least expensive manner. If the young vine is supported in an upright position, with a strong wire or light pole to grasp, it usually will grow quickly to the trellis wire with a minimum of lateral branching. A terminal branched portion of bamboo, inverted and hung over the trellis wire, provides excellent support for the vine and eliminates the necessity for frequent tying. Four to six laterals may be trained in both directions onto the overhead wire, and the sooner they come to a horizontal position on the trellis the more quickly they will flower and fruit. Young vines are trained by aiming a growing up toward the top of the trellis and once there, allowing a shoot to grow along each wire in each direction. A 2-wire trellis provides 4 sprouts growing along the trellis away from the vine’s trunk. Once started, the vine should be allowed to grow without pruning throughout the season, since the more vine there is, the more bearing surface there will be.

Weed control

Weed control can be done manually in the rows and mechanically between the rows. During harvest weed control needs to be especially well done in the rows parallel to the planting lines because the fruits are usually collected from the ground. Mechanical weeding (close to the plant less than one meter) is not recommended to prevent damages to the roots, which are largely concentrated within 15 to 45 cm from the stem.  Chemical weeding, using selective herbicides eliminates not only the weeds but reduces operational costs and simplifies the work

Manuring/Fertilization

Passion vines are heavy feeders, but over-fertilization will damage the roots, and possibly destroy the plant. The amount to apply depends on the size of the plant and can be determined by experience. No more than 10 g  each NPK/plant should be applied at one time until it has been determined that more can be applied safely. It should be evenly spread in a circle of about 45 cm radius about the stem, and then irrigated

Irrigation.

Passion fruit develops continuously and so needs a constant supply of water. The water demand varies from 800 to 1750 mm and must be well distributed throughout the year, preferably with 60 to 120 mm of water each month, by rain complemented when necessary with irrigation. Generally, annual rainfall should be at least 900 mm. Although the plant withstands droughts relatively well, prolonged drought damages its vegetative development, causing, in severe cases, leaf fall and the formation of smaller and lighter fruits. On the other hand, intense rains in the flowering period also damage production, because they inhibit pollination by diminishing the activity of pollinating insects and causing pollen grains to burst. In regions where the rains occur in specific periods, resulting in shortages for a few months, irrigation is indispensable to guarantee good production and fruit quality.

Pruning

The pruning of passion fruit vines is conducted to reduce the level of pests and diseases and to encourage new vine growth. Heavy pruning should only be performed once per year, after the July to September crop. Since pruning tools are means by which diseases are spread they should therefore be kept clean. Generally, pruning is done while the vine is dormant and consists of removing any growth that is weak or trailing on the ground, and shortening strong canes by about one-third. Regular pruning is necessary because the fruit is borne on new shoots arising from old canes. This pruning encourages new growth and removes unproductive wood.

Harvesting

After planting, passion fruit only takes an average of six months. When ready for harvesting, the skin of the fruit is deep yellow. Its pulpy interior is bright yellow, filled with small black seeds. For fresh market or use, the fruit is picked when color changes occur. For processing, the fruit is allowed to drop to the ground and picked at least every second day. At this stage, the fruit is shriveled but quite suitable for processing.

For more information on Sweet Yellow passion fruits, kindly contact us on 0706222888/0769623300 or Whatsapp link https://wa.me/c/254706222888

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