[NAFEX] Transplanting paw paws in midsummer

Donna &/or Kieran holycow at cookeville.com
Wed Dec 17 23:29:11 EST 2008


Jerry, thanks for telling something about the fate of those seedlings.  I remember coming back in the room and there was nothing left but the empty pots and some dirt and some great big June bug grubs crawling around the table.  I can't imagine what the kitchen staff thought.  I so seldom hear what happens to plants after they leave my hands.  Those pawpaw seedlings were actually sprouted in those 3 gallon pots.  We'd pitched the seeds in from a nearby bumper crop, there were so many they were growing on top of each other.   
    The reason I believed the transplanting in midsummer story was a good idea is because of pawpaw's membership in an otherwise tropical family.  I've often dug up a few peppers to try to keep them going into the autumn.  Peppers are true tropicals, they shut down below 45 F.  They never recover from the move if I wait till the weather is already chilly.  Only if I move them in August do they do well.    
    Another possibly useful peice of info is the scenario behind that huge bumper crop.  This pawpaw patch surrounds a big sinkhole with a dangerous cave at the bottom.  The property owner actually doesn't want people there because it drops straight down about 50 ft inside the entrance.  People have been badly hurt there.  And no, we haven't looked.  Don't like the dogs even sniffing over near it.  The patch has a few things that most local patches don't have.  First of all they have sunshine.  Mostly we find pawpaws in the woods.  Despite the larger trees overhead, the sinkhole is surrounded by cow pasture, and the sun can shine on the pawpaws at least from the side, if not from the top for every tree.  Second, it obviously is not a single clone.  Seems like one side of the patch matures before the other, and the later clone is a bit better.  Though the fruit are small and seedy, it has the best texture of any pawpaw I have encountered.  More like a banana rather than like pudding.  Third, I am convinced that warm air rises out of the cave when we have late frosts.  Fourth, though this patch seems to produce some fruit every year, the year we picked that huge crop there were cow bones near the edge of the sink.  We'd taken some home for the dog, but when we noticed the fibrous mass from the rumen still there we realized that the animal had probably died in the winter or spring, bringing a great crop of flies for pollination.    Donna 
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