On my post about growing papaya in North Florida, Peggy shares some accidental success on growing papaya from seed:
“Thank you for your article! I live in 9b (Citrus Springs) and never thought of growing papayas. We were in the grocery department of WalMart one day and they had these beautiful papayas that I couldn’t resist getting one. We ate and loved it, I even put some in the freezer for morning smoothies. The skin and seeds I put in my compost tub, not thinking anything of it. Months later, to my surprise, there were a BUNCH of plants growing out of the compost! By the time they were a foot tall, I realized I had a lot of papaya trees! I transplanted them again and again into pots. Not all especially the tiny ones transplanted well, but I ended up with more plants than I remember having seeds 🙂 . Now they range between 2′ and 5′ tall. We took them inside a shed for the horrible weather this winter for 2 weeks. I’m so happy to see the success you’ve had with them!”
I’ve had the best success with accidental compost pile fruit trees.
I’ve considered just throwing a bunch of compost and seeds into a bed on purpose, and keeping what grows out of it.
We’ve let pumpkins grow from the compost pile a bunch of times. This can be a problem, however, as now I usually save seeds from good pumpkins and get rid of seeds from poor specimens. This is important as we create a pumpkin landrace, since the inferior plants will pollinate the superior vines in my garden.
I have to remember not to let them grow anymore, but it’s hard to pull pretty pumpkin vines.
As for papaya, we used to grow a lot of them. They’re a plant I miss. It’s not easy to make them live in Alabama, but in the tropics they were a wonderful and productive garden favorite.
We grew them in North Florida, too, as I wrote in the post Peggy was commenting on. It was really fun seeing big, graceful papayas along the back of the house.
We could see them out our bedroom window. We didn’t get a lot of ripe fruit, but we had plenty of green ones for Thai papaya salad.