Papaya - Red Thai
Papaya – Red Thai

That killing freeze last winter did quite a job on our papaya garden. Is that what you call it? or is it more correct to say ‘grove’? Doesn’t much matter because every one of the 13 plants just turned to mush, from the top down. Dad said to cut them back and keep cutting until I reached a solid trunk and that they would grow back from there. And so I sharpened the old machete and started whacking.

That didn’t help at all. The stumps just kept turning to mush and I finally gave up and ignored them. I had better things to do in the garden.
Next time I checked, 3 of the stumps had little green sprouts! One of them ultimately died but the remaining two stumps grew like mad. We didn’t have just two papaya trees, though. Each stump produced four ‘arms’, and of the four, two on each stump were super vigerous and two were slower and smaller. I probably should have pruned out the smaller branches but I didn’t. Mostly, I just left it all alone and let Nature do her thing.
And so we now have papaya again and as you can see from the picture, there’s certainly no shortage of it. The fruit started about 18″ from the ground and just kept on going. There’s a row of fruit around the tree, then a row of flowers which ultimately turned into another row of fruit… on and on. And the trees are still blooming and setting more little fruits!
I’m looking at the calendar now. Hopefully, we’ll have a “normal” season and most of the fruit will be able to ripen. Heaven knows, I’m certainly ready for some fresh, home-grown papaya fruit! 

Frost on the Pumpkin?

Yep, there has been frost on the pumpkin patch the past few mornings. And yep, I still live in Southwest Florida. The pumpkins weren’t grown here this year but were purchased from a roadside stand to make a display for Halloween, followed by the harvest display for Thanksgiving. And three days ago, there was frost on them! The day after that, the frost was a bit heavier, clearly visible all across the field, turning the grass into a field of sparkling diamonds as the sun rose. This morning, the frost was only in the shaded areas and only on the taller blades of grass in the chicken yard. I don’t care what anyone says, either. Frost is frost, even if it’s only on a single blade of grass! And… it ain’t s’posed to be this far south!

We are under a freeze warning for tonight and tomorrow night. Yikes! Predicted temperatures are in the upper 20s to low 30s… with wind chills dipping into the low 20s.

Tomato plants are in bloom, tiny cucumbers are on the vines and the papaya trees are loaded with big green fruits. We won’t even think about all the plumeria and desert rose plants, or the poinsettias and yellow sweet potato vines growing in the half-barrels at the end of the driveway. Or even the hibiscus that are blooming, for that matter. If the temperatures drop as predicted, it will all be gone by morning.