The summer harvest this year had a little twist.
There were the yearly reliable staples like the peppers. But this time, I had a wonderful tropical surprise.
It actually started off as a casual experiment. After eating a papaya, I felt like putting a few seeds in the ground and see if any would grow. As the months went by, a plant took hold and grew bigger. Then there were cream-colored flowers, and then, an exciting sight, a bunch of papaya fruits.
When the fruits ripened, I plucked and cut them, and was surprised to find that they were seedless! Initially,I was a little apprehensive about this. But from information from the Master Gardeners of Orange County and from the Internet, I found out that there could be different reasons for the seedlessness, and that the seedless papaya is not such an unusual occurrence for papaya trees grown in the United States.
There could be several reasons why the fruit is seedless. One is that many fruit trees produce seedless fruit for dozens of years. However, once they mature, they start to produce seeded fruit.
Another is that the seedless fruit is the result of parthenocarpy, which is defined as the development of fruit without fertilization.
Suffice to say that the fruits are safe to eat. I enjoyed the creamy, sweet taste of the papayas throughout the summer, and there were more than enough to share with my neighbor. It looks like this year, my backyard garden gave me a bit of an adventure.