Growing soursop fruit from seed

0

Annona muricata, known as soursop, is an evergreen tree in the family Annonaceae grown in the tropics. The fruits that grow on the trees are large and oval in shape.

The green exterior that bears thorns covers a white, fibrous flesh. They measure up to eight inches and can weigh up to three kilograms.

The fruit tree does well in the tropics and in Uganda it grows wild but a number of people usually plant them on farms

However, experts say that since the fruit has a number of health benefits, it is important for farmers to adopt it as a commercial plant.

Background
Soursop belongs to a unique plant family, Annonaceae, whose members include cherimoya, custard apple and sugar apple. The trees bear strange fruits and are native to the tropical regions of the Americas.

Soursop has many uses in traditional medicine and it has been used to treat a wide range of health conditions and ailments. With its strong nutritional profile, it offers a variety of health benefits.

People in the Americas are known to consume a lot of it and use its fruit to treat parasitic infections, as they believe it contains chemicals that could help fight cancer, as well as bacteria, viruses, and parasites.

Benefits of Eating Soursop

Experts say the plant is high in vitamin C, an antioxidant known to boost immune health. The vitamin strengthens the body’s immune system, improving its ability to defend itself against pathogens.
It also promotes the destruction of free radicals, which can help protect skin and cells from environmental oxidative damage.

Common varieties
In a Safari Guide publication on general agronomy that a farmer should observe while growing the tree, experts observe that the fruit tree grows well in a tropical climate and in Uganda it can grow well in any regions of the country although there are selected varieties that have been adopted by growers nationwide. There are no named varieties in Uganda but these are some of the internationally named varieties which include Bennet, Cuban fiberless and Morada which is of Brazilian origin.

Soil requirements
Soursop will grow in a wide variety of soils ranging from sandy loams to clay loams, but it prefers deep soils with good aeration with a soil pH between 6.0 and 6.5.

Good drainage is necessary for good root development and especially to avoid root disease problems.

How to propagate
Soursop can be propagated by seed and vegetatively by grafting. However, the seeds should be washed and dried before planting and when the seeds are planted within 30 days of harvest, the germination rate is 90% in a period of 15-30 days.

how to plant
Proper planting is one of the important steps in the successful growth of the fruit tree.
Farmers are advised to preferably use cuttings from two-year-old trees and cut straight twigs 8 to 10 inches at a time when the tree is dormant.
Next, the cutting is placed in a rooting hormone and then in a well-prepared potting soil.

As usual, use water to keep the cuttings moist and in 8-16 weeks the cuttings will have rooted.

At this time, farmers can plant the sprouted cuttings as an individual landscape shrub or in rows of 8 to 10 feet per part for fruit production or even as a windbreak.

Fruiting
Fast-growing soursop plants produce their first crop three to five years after sowing. Seeds remain viable for up to six months, but best success is achieved by planting within 30 days of harvest and seeds will germinate within 15-30 days. Propagation is usually by seed, but fiberless varieties can be grafted.

Pests and diseases
Soursop is commonly attacked by pests such as mealybugs, scale insects and fruit flies. And farmers are advised to use the recommended pesticides to spray the plant. Its common diseases are root rot and anthracnose. These can be treated with fungicides.

Harvest
The unripe dark green fruit is covered with an inedible skin with thorns. Harvest should be done when the color lightens and turns slightly yellowish green.

At this point the spines will have softened and the fruit will appear swollen with segmented margins becoming smooth and less noticeable.

Post-harvest consideration should be taken once the fruits are harvested. This is because the fruit softens between four and seven days and has a shelf life of an additional three to five days.

Market
Soursop is a relatively rare fruit in Uganda, which makes its prices a bit high compared to other fruits in the market. The pulp is also used to make fruit nectars, smoothies, fruit juice drinks as well as candies, sorbets and ice cream flavorings.

The seeds are normally left in the preparation and removed when consumed, unless a blender is used for processing. In some countries, they use the leaf to tenderize meat.

Health Benefits
The soursop fruit contains energy content, protein, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, vitamins A and C, and phosphorus, among others. These properties are intended to strengthen the immune system.
Experts claim that one whole soursop fruit contains around 83% of the body’s daily recommended fiber intake, an essential nutrient for digestive health.

While most research is limited to test-tube studies, soursop may be beneficial in helping to fight and prevent cancer. The extract could reduce the size of breast cancer tumors and kill cancer cells as well as stop the formation of leukemic cells.

Since it contains antioxidants, they help fight free radicals, thereby reducing cell damage caused by oxidative stress.

One of the side effects of oxidative stress is inflammation. The antioxidants in soursop can therefore help reduce inflammation in the body.

It also helps to minimize high blood pressure which otherwise could lead to serious heart disease issues.

Soursop may provide antibacterial effects, including strains that cause gum disease and cholera.

Planting
Proper planting is one of the important steps in the successful growth of the fruit tree.

Farmers are advised to preferably use cuttings from two-year-old trees and cut straight twigs 8 to 10 inches at a time when the tree is dormant.

Then the cutting is placed in a rooting hormone and then in a well-prepared potting soil.

Share.

About Author

Comments are closed.