How to Choose a Suitable Site for Growing Passion Fruit
You’ve finally decided to be part of the success stories. Stories of people growing passion fruit and earning a living out of it.
And that’s a realistic dream.
But when you hit the ground running, you’re slapped with a feeling that your location might not be ideal, killing any creative inkling you may have felt.
It’s daunting enough to just think about establishing your passion fruit orchard – never mind choosing a site that will be used to host your investment 3 to 5 years down the line.
Well, there’s good news.
Choosing a suitable site for growing passionfruit doesn’t have to be that daunting.
With the right information at your disposal, you could easily select a site, that is convenient and cost-effective – all without the help of an expert or pomologist!
Before we dig in, it’s important to note that passion fruits are very sensitive to environmental stress. Therefore, you need to choose your site wisely.
If you grow on an unsuitable site, you’ll get lower yields at a higher cost thus reducing your profit margins.
And that’s not what you want, do you?
Don’t worry, I’ll walk you through how to select a sweet spot for growing passionfruit right now in this very blog post.
When I’m done you’ll know exactly why and how to do that.
Ready? Let’s dive in.
Things to Consider When Choosing a Suitable Site for Growing Passion Fruit
Thing #1. The Soil
The soil is the most important aspect of successful passion fruit farming.
For that matter, avoid wet, poorly drained soils both internal and on the surface. This is because passion fruit vines are very susceptible to various root diseases associated with poor drainage.
For example, collar rot is a problematic disease caused by poor drainage.
I recommend light to heavy sandy loam soil of medium texture and a PH range of 6.5 to 7.5. If your soil’s both internal and surface drainage is poor, you can do the following;
Help improve the surface drainage, by making or mounding raised beds. However, internal drainage will prove to be very expensive to correct and therefore, you should consider this above other.
Thing #2. The Slope
If your soil is suitable, good.
However, it’s time to assess the gradient or the slope of your orchard. If you choose a steep slope, you’ll increase the cost of production.
A steeper slope means more risk of soil erosion. To control soil erosion, you’ll need a higher budget to put in place soil erosion control measures such contouring.
In short, the steeper the slope, the higher the cost of production and the greater the risk of accidents – machines overturning.
If you must establish a passion fruit orchard under such circumstances, consider leveling to a suitable slope.
Thing #3. The Aspect
Choose a spot that receives enough sunlight. Tropical regions don’t have many problems when it comes sunlight duration.
However, the same cannot be said about other regions.
The rule of the thumb is to align your orchard in North-Easterly or Northerly aspects. This ensures that your passion fruit orchard stays warmer for longer and captures the most sunlight.
Thing #4. Row Orientation
The row orientation is closely related to the aspect.
When establishing your orchard, ensure the rows run from North to South. This makes the best use of sunlight and provides better shade to the fallen fruits.
If possible, make the rows long enough to improve on machinery efficiency.
Thing #5. Frost Conditions
Avoid frost conditions at all possible cost. Especially when growing yellow passion fruit which is susceptible to frost.
On the other hand, purple passion fruits are moderately resistant to light frost and may not be killed but will lose their leaves. Losing the leaves will ultimately reduce subsequent yields.
Whatever you do, choose a frost-free location.
Thing #6. Wind Protection
As I mentioned earlier at the beginning, passion fruit vines are very sensitive to environmental stress. But much importantly sensitive to harsh strong winds.
Ensure that you construct a temporary fence or plant fast growing trees around your orchard to serve as wind breaks.
Failure to protect your growing passion fruit vines from the wind will cause irreversible effects. For example, you and I know that the wind carries sand and debris.
When blowing across your orchard, they will leave scratch marks on the fruits which are not good for the fresh market. To be on the safe side, plan for windbreaks.
Thing #7. Proximity to a Water Source/Rainfall
You might have all the other factors, but you’re doomed if your desired site isn’t near a water source. Growing passion fruit requires plenty of water to ensure continuous flowering.
The vines require 3.5 ML/ha of water/year, and up to 10 ML/ha/year. The quality of water should be top with a low salt content of not more than 800mS/cm.
Thing #8. Proximity to Market Outlets
Lastly, but no means least, is the proximity to market outlets. In fact, this is one of the most important to consideration for selecting a location.
The nearer to the market your passion fruit orchard will be, the cheaper your unit cost will be. Some wholesale buyers, for instance, requires that you transport your produce to their location. The nearer your enterprise is to them the better for you.
Also, remember to consider other expenses such the freight costs and transport to the nearest depot or warehouse.
You’re ready to start designing your orchard layout, establish it, and before you know it, start raking in the cash from your hard work.
And you know what the best part is? Next time, choosing a suitable site for growing passion fruit won’t feel quite as daunting. J
Because you’ve read all you need to make the whole process a breeze.
Recommended: Passion Fruit Farming Course