Photo: AP

Papaya had disappeared from our courtyards a few years back, but now it has come back grandly. Its aroma, sweetness and cream like consistency makes papaya so popular. No wonder Christopher Columbus had called papaya ‘the fruit of the angels’.

Papaya grows in any season and bears fruit all year around. It is a rich source of vitamins C, A, E, K and B. Also it contains calcium, magnesium, potassium, copper and minerals in plenty. Apart from being an aromatic and delicious fruit, papaya is also an ideal tonic for skin.

The nutritious fruit boosts blood circulation and prevents intestinal cancer. An element called acetogenin in papaya prevents dengue fever, malaria and cancer. Papaya is also good to control arteriosclerosis, diabetes, heart diseases, cholesterol and digestive disorders.

Photo: Mathrubhumi

As papaya bears fruit in all seasons, it can be grown as a garden plant or on industrial scale. The ideal time to plant papaya seeds is during the time between February and April. Collect the seeds from fully ripe papayas and sow them in grow bags after mixing with ash and cow dung powder. The saplings can be replanted after the leaves grow fully. Each sapling should be planted in a distance of 1 ½ metre.

Adding cow dung or other organic fertilizers is good for better growth of the plant. If the yield is too heavy, the plant is more likely to fall down. So, it has to be given proper support. Irrigation is necessary, but too much water leads to decay of the plant. Though not on industrial scale, a papaya is essential for a home garden. We can sustain health by having its nutritious fruit regularly.