"The chief feature about the passion-vine, however, is its habit of producing two crops per annum. The summer crop comes in about February or March, and prices are necessarily low. The winter crop is ready for pulling when other fruits are not so plentiful on the market. The practice of the growers, has, therefore, been to secure a heavy winter crop by pruning away the summer crop when about half grown; or generally speaking, about the month of November. This stimulates the vines to throw out fresh fruiting laterals for the winter.
"The next point of importance is to put the land in thorough order before planting, and in places where it is very sour and deficient in lime, which it mostly is on our coastal country where the passion-fruit is grown, it would be advantageous to give the land at least hah' a ton of good lime to the acre.
"The vines should be planted out about August or September, when the ground is in good condition.
"The seed is sown in February. The rows should be 30 inches to three feet apart, and the seed every inch or so in the row, afterwards thinning out to three inches apart to make good stocky plants.
"In erecting the trellis, the posts should be six feet and a half long, firmly set in the ground to a depth of 18 inches, and placed at distances of about 24 feet apart, or at farthest 32 feet in the row. On the tops of these posts are tightly stretched, at a distance of six inches apart, two strong No. 8 galvanized iron wires. The rows should run north and south, so that they get the sunlight on both sides. The rows are placed in the center of the tree-rows, or when alone, 10 feet apart, with the vines 12 feet in the row, thus requiring about 362 plants to the acre.
"The young vine is trained with a single stem up the stakes until it reaches the wires, when it is allowed to throw out from two to four leaders, which are trained to run either way on the wires. As the vine puts forth further growth, the main leaders and laterals are trained along the wires.
"Without judicious manuring there are very few districts where the growing of this fruit would prove highly satisfactory, while, on the other hand, those growers who are giving the most attention to this important adjunct are the ones who are making the greatest profits out of the industry. It has become a recognized fact that liberal dressings of manure must be used from the time of planting until the plants cease to be productive.
"On making inquiry among the different growers, I found that scarcely any two of them were using the same mixture. Some, on the lighter soils, were using considerable quantities of blood and bone with a little potash; others were using bone, superphosphate, and potash; while others were using a mixture of nitrate of soda, dried blood, and superphosphate and sulphate of potash, etc., etc.; and judging from the appearance of the different vines, all with very gratifying results.
"When the fruit begins to ripen it should be picked at least twice a week. It will keep well in a cool dry place, but I would recommend marketing every week.
"All badly formed and inferior fruit is discarded, and the better fruit is mostly packed in layers, so that when opened at the markets it presents a good appearance. In grading, color as well as size is taken into consideration, any badly colored fruits being sorted out and packed separately."
The Sweet Granadilla (Fig. 30) (Passiflora ligularis, A. Juss.)
Next in importance to the purple granadilla or passion-fruit comes the sweet granadilla, a species extensively used by the inhabitants of the mountainous parts of Mexico and Central America. In flavor it is perhaps the best of the genus, and it certainly merits a wider distribution than it enjoys at present.
Henry Pittier speaks of this fruit as "neither a food nor a beverage." Its white pulp is almost liquid, acidulous, and perfumed in taste. Among the Indians of Central America it is a favorite, and figures prominently in many of the markets. The plant is a vigorous climber, scrambling over buildings and trees of considerable size. The leaves are cordate and acuminate, and commonly about 6 inches long. The flowers are solitary, with the petals and sepals greenish, and the corona white with zones of red-purple. The fruit is somewhat larger than that of P. edulis, oval or slightly elliptic in form, and orange to orange-brown, sometimes purplish, in color. The shell is strong, so that the fruit can be transported long distances without injury. The seeds are numerous and each surrounded by translucent whitish pulp. The Indians eat the fruit out of hand. The species is a native of tropical America and does not seem to be known in other regions. Recently it has been introduced into California and Florida by the United States Department of Agriculture, but so far as is known, it has not yet fruited in either state. Since it grows in Central America at elevations of 6000 to 7000 feet, it should be sufficiently cold-resistant to withstand light frosts, although it is doubtful whether it will survive temperatures more than two or three degrees below freezing-point.
Its requirements in regard to soil and cultural attention are probably about the same as those of P. edulis. It does not fruit quite so abundantly as the latter, nor has it been observed to produce more than one crop a year in Central America. Propagation is usually by seed.
Fig. 30. The sweet granadilla (Passiflora lig-ularis), one of the best-flavored fruits of its genus. (X1/3)