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Passion fruits Can Thrive Anywhere

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Passion fruits can grow anywhere. They thrive in a variety of soils, including loam and clay soil.

Apart from being relatively low capital-intensive, passion fruits also fetch high returns.

Local varieties have a better scent than hybrids. Hybrids last for more years than the local variety because they are not susceptible to root and collar rot diseases.

Hybrids also produce more fruits, which is why commercial farmers choose them. Local varieties are also less capital–intensive as they do not require wires for constructing beds on which the vines creep.

However, hybrids need the beds. Passion fruits are mainly grown from seeds, which can be bought from a farm supply shop or better still, the seeds can be got from a healthy passion fruit.

A dark purple colour is a sign that a fruit has good seeds. After drying, the seeds are planted in a nursery bed with soil mixed with compost manure.

In the first week, the seedbed should be covered with mulch to provide warmth, which is vital for germination.

Later, a shelter is erected using leaves to provide a shade for the nursery bed. The shelter should allow free circulation of air and the bed must be watered regularly, although farmers must guard against over watering the seedlings as this might cause root rot.

On average, each seedling requires 50ml of water per day.

After germinating, the seedlings should be put into polythene seedling bags, filled with black, fertile soils.

After one month, the seedlings should be transferred to the garden. But before transferring them to the garden, holes of 3 x 3ft should be dug a month earlier and manure put in them. Passion fruits should be planted 8 x 8ft apart.

Passion fruits start flowering at four months and a farmer can start harvesting ripe fruits by the sixth month. One should only pick the fruits that have fallen on the ground, because dropping is a sign that the fruits are mature.

To increase the fruit’s shelf life, harvest it with its stalk, because this increases the shelf life by more than a month.

Six to seven hundred passion fruits can be planted in an acre and a farmer can harvest three sacks of local or hybrid fruit per week from an acre if all goes well.

During this period, a farmer will be picking fruits at regular intervals. The average price of a sack is between sh300,000 and sh400,000.

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