By Spy Uganda
Kampala: Most farmers are embracing high horticultural value crops such as passion fruits and avocados ditching crops with unreliable markets for maize, sugarcane and beans among others.
But before kicking off this farming, note and consider the following factors
Before cultivating, examine the soil for type, texture, depth, chemical analysis, nutrient and nematode levels. Light to heavy sandy loams of medium texture with good drainage are most suitable. Passion fruits do well in a pH range of 5.5 – 6.5.
Land preparation is done two to three months before planting with a hardpan within 80cm being broken.
At planting, make holes measuring 45cm wide and 45cm deep spaced at 1.8m between plants and two meters between rows.
Apply at least 10kg of well rotten manure to the plants and mix with the soil
Apply 125g or triple superphosphate (TSP) or diammonium phosphate (DAP) per hole.
Two weeks after planting, apply calcium ammonium nitrate (CAN) at the rate of 125g per plant.
Regularly weed the plants to remove unwanted plants which may act as hosts for diseases such as mosaic viruses. It also minimizes nutrient competition among plants.
Since passion fruit is a climber, the plant needs support. In this, dig holes to a depth of 50cm with a spacing of six meters apart along the passion seedling rows. Use poles with a height of 2.7m long.
Pruning in passion fruits is done to remove overgrown growth and keep the vines under control. It encourages new growth through the removal of the weak and dead parts. This eases pest and disease management.
Interestingly, the fruit isn’t harvested from the vine but is actually ready to eat when it falls off the plant. Fruits ripen at different times of the year in regard to planting zone. Other things to consider are species and site. The two varieties of fruit each have different maturity times, with purple fruits ripening earlier than yellow fruits. The best test for ripeness and passion fruit harvest time is the taste test.