Passion fruit production is constrained by several insect pests, diseases and inadequate knowledge on the
management of the crop among other factors. A grower needs to know a few basic facts about the crop.
The two types of commercially grown passion fruit in Kenya.
1) The purple passion (Passiflora edulis f. edulis) This type of passion fruit is most suited to upper midland
and highlands (1,100 to 2,500m above sea level). It has purple colored superior fruits of 4-5 cm in diameter
which have an aromatic flavor. It is good for fresh market and Juice extraction for local and export markets
2) Yellow passion fruit (Passifl ora edulis f. fl avicarpa) This passion fruit is most suited to the coastal lowlands. It is more vigorous and has a larger fruit of 5-7cm. It is more acidic and used for juice extraction. Yellow passionfruit is resistant to Fusarium; wilt, tolerant to Phytophthora blight, nematodes and brown spot.
It is used as rootstock to purple passion fruit.
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Seed extraction, planting and grafting
Step 1: Seed extraction
Healthy mature fruits of yellow passion fruit with a history of good bearing capacity are collected from parent plant. Seeds are scooped from the fruits.
• Extracted seeds are put in water for at least 3 days to ferment and ease separation of pulp and seed.
- The seeds are then dried under shade. Seeds lose viability rapidly if not stored in a dry, dark cool place.
Step 2: Planting
Seeds are planted into prepared beds or into 6 cm wide by 22.5cm high polyethylene bags filled with sterilized soil to eliminate root knot nematodes, soil borne diseases and other harmful organisms.
• Sterilization may be through solarization (using sun) or by use of steam.
• Germination starts after about 17 days.
Step 3: Grafting
Seedling rootstocks of yellow passion fruit are grown until they are at least 50cm high and 3-4 mm thick.
• Healthy seedlings with dark green leaves are selected for grafting.
• Scions from healthy high yielding true-to-type vines of purple passion fruit are collected preferably when the plants have flowered. Scion mother plants should be raised in areas protected against sucking insects, to reduce incidences of disease.
• Sterilization of grafting equipment between grafts must be practiced (use jik).
• Two methods of grafting are used. These are cleft (most common) and splice.
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- Seedlings should be watered regularly and protected from insects.
• All shoots from the rootstocks must be removed.
• Harden-off seedlings by exposing them to the sun gradually when scion shoot is about 10cm long.
• Remove grafting tape from the union and transplant seedling in the field one month after grafting
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The apricot favors well drained soil but doesn’t like to be too dry especially in the summer. Providing a happy medium between the two will be key to success and it is up to you to judge the type of soil you already have and influence the structure as much as you can. Too light or sandy then pep it up with lots and lots of organic rich material. Too weighty or sluggish then alleviate it with lots of grit, sharp sand and leaf mold.
The soil should be well cultivated and friable; double dig-it over if it has not been cultivated before. Clear away all perennial weeds because the last thing you want is added competition from them when your trees are in settled, and growing.
Prepare a hole large enough to take the roots. Apricots are vigorous growers and you may find the root system larger than that of other trees. Set the tree to the same depth as it was at the nursery previously – examination of the stem should reveal the soil mark still identifiable and this will tell you how deeply it was set in the ground before. In any event the grafting point should sit above the soil level and the roots buried in not less than 2” of soil.
Dry mulches should be used to retain moisture while heavy banana stems should be supported to avoid damage. Old diseased leaves should be removed while de-leafing is important to ensure healthy growth. Harvesting begins after 15-18 months, and a light shiny appearance means that the banana is ready for harvest. Harvesting should be delicate to avoid bruising of the bananas. The bananas should be temporarily stored in a cool, dry place and should be wrapped in banana leaves or grass to avoid bruising. If for export, they should be washed using a disinfectant and might require branding.
Plums are excellent fresh but also make a wonderful jam or jelly. Plums require full sun and well-drained, sandy soil to thrive. They prefer a soil with a pH that ranges from 5.5 to 6.5. It is always a good idea to have your soil tested before planting any fruit tree to be sure that they pH is appropriate. You should also work the appropriate amendments into your soil before planting. Their overall size may also need to be considered. Most plum trees will reach 16 feet at maturity or 14 feet if they are a dwarf variety.
Plums have quite high moisture demands, so they are best planted on good clay or loamy soils. But sites also need to be well drained as plums, and gages in particular, hate waterlogged soils. Add bulky organic matter to sandy or shallow chalky soils prior to planting.
Plant plum trees in well-drained, moderately fertile soil in full sun. Avoid planting in low areas where frost may settle, as the frost will damage your trees. If possible, find a sheltered position, such as a south- or west-facing spot out of the wind. This will help the plum tree set fruit. For grafted trees, keep the graft union 1 inch above the soil line when planting. Dig a hole that is a few inches deeper and wider than the spread of the roots. Set the tree on top of a small mound of soil in the middle of the hole. Be sure to spread the roots away from the trunk without excessively bending them. Space standard-size trees 20 to 25 feet apart. Space dwarf trees 15 to 20 feet apart.
Plums develop their best flavor if left to ripen on the tree. If they feel soft when gently squeezed, they are ripe. Trees will generally need picking over several times. Harvest fruits carefully so as not to bruise them, then eat fresh, destone and freeze, or make the fruits into preserves.