Passion fruit farming is a very lucrative business that can earn very handsome income to the farmer. Nonetheless, it is possible only if good care is taken of the plant to enable healthy crop.
Passion fruit farming can give good yield if the vines are well cared for. The plant thrives well if there are no weeds around it. Thus, weeding from time to time is essential so that the soil moisture is reserved for the vine and not used up by the weeds.
While weeding or loosening the soil for aeration, care should be taken to keep the roots and basal stem intact and not damage them by hoe; else, the vine gets weak and rots, destroying the crop.
Good crop is obtained by periodically pruning the plant. Dead leaves or rotten vine parts can destroy the health of the plant. It is also essential to prune some live parts in order to cut down the overall growth and get good nourishment for the plant. This ensures that the vine bears good yield and lasts longer.
Pruning has another advantage too. It exposes the leaves and fruits to bright sunshine that helps in controlling plant diseases and gives rich color to fruit and sufficient scope for photosynthesis for healthy foliage.
Pruning is necessary to free the vines from entangling and the tendrils twining into other plant thus retarding the growth of both the vines. The pruning process helps to expose the fruit for harvesting.
Since the vine is trimmed to give space for new growth, the flowers and fruits are of good quality.
For a healthy growth of plant there needs to be proper nourishment. This is only possible if the soil is fertile and rich in minerals. However, if there is lack of natural nutrients in the soil, it is advisable to supplement the nourishment by adding good quality chemical fertilizers. Some natural manure like farm rot manure or poultry manure can be equally effective.
The addition of fertilizer to soil is needed at planting stage if the soil is not of good quality. However, in case of fertile land, the process can be undertaken after a year or so, but later needs to be a continued process after the soil loses its bulk of natural nutrients.
A recommended dose of ½ lb of single super-phosphate applied per plant is good at planting stage.
Passion fruit is a vine and thus planted in rows with trellis support or that of fencing. Thus there is enough open space to plant other varieties of plants and vegetables to get a continuous yield. Actually, this inter-planting process should be carried out in the first year, when the passion fruit vine is just settling in the soil. Some plants that can be considered are annual crops like egg plants, carrots, onions or even a few short term growing vegetables that do not interfere with overall growth of the passion fruit vine.
Inter-planting help the farmer earn additional income, prevents wastage of space and after the crop is harvested, the remains of the plant and roots add as manure after decaying. The only care needed is not planting crops that have a tendency of sucking the nutrients from the soil.
Insects are beneficial for pollination. However, all insects are not good for the crop and some can pose danger in the healthy growth of passion fruit plant. Some of them are Mealy Bugs, Aphids, Fruit Flies and Passion Fruit Mite. These can cause severe damage to the vine or the fruit and should be treated in timely manner.
Passion fruit vine can suffer from diseases like Brown Spots, Fusariam Wilt and Woodiness Disease. Brown spots cause the vine to dry and rot. The tissues that carry the food get damaged and thus the plant does not get proper nutrition. Pruning and spraying with mixture of 30 gm Dithane M45 in 10 liters water helps to control the disease.
Woodiness disease destroys the quality of fruit and the best remedy is to uproot the vine and burn it.
Fusariam Wilt is soil-borne disease and affects the plant root upwards and gradually since the roots are affected and the plant is devoid of nutrition, it withers and dies. This disease affects purple variety of passion fruit and the yellow barely gets affected.
Harvesting, packing & marketing
Passion fruit matures within 70 days after setting. The mature fruit falls off to the ground and can be collected. It is essential to shake the vine while plucking the fruit to free the entangled fruit from foliage. The best time to harvest is morning when the scorching sun heat is not out. A good yield of passion fruit is considered as 15000 to 18000 kg per hectare.
The packing should be ideally done after drying the wet fruit after picking. The crop has good potential in local as well as export market.