Guavas are both sweet and sour varieties. However, one is likely to find a guava tree in almost every compound. There are not many people who have taken on growing them on a large scale.
Joseph Bukenya who owns two plants in his compound says guavas grow up to 8m (25ft), spreading wide to about 7m(22ft). The guava grows best under temperatures of 220 C-280 C, with humidity levels of 70% or less.
Loquats (eriobotrya japonica)
According to Bukenya, this is locally known as enkomamawanga, a favourite for young children. These are attractive evergreen plants, growing up to 7m (40ft) tall, with a spread of about five metres. They flower and fruit regularly.
He says there are few guavas on the market because many people are not interested in growing them.
According to World Agroforestry Centre, the guava tree can bear fruits for 15-25 years. Bukenya says the more fertile the soil is, the faster the guava tree will grow. It could take between two and three years to produce fruits and one tree can produce over 100 guavas in season.
Bukenya says the season for guavas is always in the middle of the year and end of the year, but because they grow in different areas, many times the guavas don’t sprout at the same time.
He says he realised that guavas can grow anywhere and yet they fetch good money on the market. “There are few guavas during the dry season. For example, between January and March, a kilo went for as much as sh4,000 in most markets around the city.
Although the fruit is grown all year round, Bukenya says its major season is from September running through to November. Sometimes it could run until December.
Dan Ntale, who works at Kalerwe Market says when guavas are off-season, they could even go for sh5,000 a kilo.
Irene Nabirye, who vends salads, says guavas are mostly bought by people who make juices.
Fruit salads are a big business in town. Along the streets, there will be a number of vendors selling these guavas.
Care and management of fruit trees
Isam Kambugu, a gardening expert in Kampala says fruit trees need to be cared for, just like any other plant in the compound, at least during the first three years.
All fruits need to be provided with fertilisers, which include medium potassium and high nitrogen levels at a rate of 1-1.5kg per tree per year.
This should be applied in three or four phases during the growing season. Watering is vital during the dry season, particularly in the first three years of their life, since they may not have fully established themselves in the ground.
You can spray, in case of pests and diseases, but experts recommend use of natural formulas other than chemicals. Pruning is also essential to keep the tree in shape and bear quality fruits. Just like for any other plant, it is important to keep weeds off the tree so they do not compete for nutrients.