The custard apple, Annonareticulata L., is commonly ranked among the influential representatives of this family, both in the tree and in the berries. Its descriptive English name has been widely misapplied to particular species and the hybrid ATEMOYA, and it is often incorrectly referred to as “sugar apple,” “sweetsop” and, by Spanish-speaking men, “anon” or “onion,” in India as “Ramphal.”
It also received very few appropriate geographic titles. Most widely used as an alternative term in English-speaking regions is bullock’s heart or bull’s heart.
The custard apple tree isn’t pretty. It’s upright with a rounded or spreading crown and 10-14 in (25-35 cm) thick base. Height from 15-35 ft (4.5-10 m). The poorly smelling leaves are evergreen, alternating, oblong or narrow-lanceolate, 10-20 cm long, 2-5 cm thick, with visible veins. The flowers are fragrant, small, with three outer fleshy, thin petals up to 2-3 cm long, light green outside and pale-yellow with a dark-red or purple patch within in the middle. Never completely open bulbs.
Origin of the Custard Apple
The custard apple is thought to be native to the West Indies but was brought to southern Mexico in early times from Central America. Fostered and naturalized as far south as Peru and Brazil. It is usually grown in the Bahamas, often in Bermuda and southern Florida. It was planted in South Africa in the early 17th century and is cultivated as a fruit tree in South Africa.
The tree grows in India, particularly around Calcutta, and runs wild in other places. It has become relatively popular on Malaya’s east coast, and across Southeast Asia and the Philippines, though especially esteemed nowhere. This was stated extensively naturalized in Guam eighty years ago. It’s unclear in Hawaii.
Custard Apple Quality
No named cultivars are registered, but the fruit quality from various trees differs considerably. The yellow-skinned forms are preferable to the brownish and have smoother, juicier meat when well packed. Seeds of a purple-skinned, purple-fleshed type were planted in Florida, and the tree developed unremarkable quality fruit. Keep the quality factor in mind when planning about custard apple farming.
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Custard apples can be propagated in three ways: gene, budding, and grafting processes. Seed: seeds usually produce custard Apple. Budding: Chip-and-shield budding will even spread it. Budding happens in spring as the sap begins flowering. Grafting: Whip grafting succeeded in increasing yield and efficiency. Plants usually propagate custard apples.
For rain-fed conditions, when they attain a height of around 20-25 cm, seedlings can be grown in polythene bags packed with garden soil and planted in the field when the monsoon begins.
Custard Apple farming zone
The custard apple prefers low-lying, dark, fertile soil with enough moisture and durable drainage. It develops to full size on oolitic calcareous in south Florida and grows wild in light sand, and numerous other soil types in the New and Old-World tropics but is undoubtedly less competitive in less suitable locations.
Custard Apple Farming: Planting Custard Apple
Here we are going to discuss various steps associated with custard apple farming, and in other words, agriculture begins with the planting. So, let’s explore it step by step.
1. Getting seeds
You can get sugar apple seeds from your nearest garden center or, if you have a friend, you can get seeds from the flesh with the help of your friend. You can also order seeds from the online retailer. If you get seeds from the flesh of a custard apple, you will have to wait a week before planting the seeds from the fruit. They don’t germinate well if you immediately place them in the dirt.
Cut the custard apple fruit and extract the big, black seeds. Put them in a seed envelope, wait a week before planting. If you bought seeds from a garden center, you need not wait until planting.
2. Soak the seeds
While germination can take thirty days, soaking your seeds will speed the process. Wrap the seeds in a paper towel. Soak seeds with some water. Place the paper towel seeds in a bag. Let your seeds soak three days before planting.
3. Finding a sunny spot
Because custard apple is a tropical tree, you want a bright spot to start seedlings. You’ll want to place your seedling tray in front of a window facing south, so the seed gets more than enough warmth and light. If you don’t have a window facing south, you will grow lights. So, all in all, you need a sunny spot for custard apple farming.
4. Putting potting soil in a seedling tray
You’ll need at least two to three inches deep seeding tray with drainage holes that you can find at a garden store. Fill the seed tray with new compost from the garden shop, as opposed to garden soil. You would like to moisten the soil until planting the seeds.
5. Put the seeds in the soil
Plant two or three centimeters deep in your seedling tray. They will be one-and-a-half cm apart. The plants will germinate within 30 days.
Moving to the next step
Now it’s time to move outside. And transplant the seed out there.
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1. Choose warm climates
In hot or near-tropical weather, plant your custard apple tree. Since sugar apples can survive drought, you can plant it in a dryer environment. Cooler temperatures are not anticipated, so stop planting it outdoors in winter or night cold areas.
2. Transplant in the spring
In spring, you can transplant your custard apple tree or whenever the climate reaches between 23-24 Celsius. You will consider a place with a wind cover, plenty of suns, and not prone to waterlogging.
3. Choose the sunny area
Custard apple is a tropical plant growing well in South America, Asia, and Africa, so enjoy the sun! You will plant it in a warm, wind-protected spot.
4. Soil should get good drainage
Use fertile, well-draining apple-tree soil. You can grow it in sandy, calcareous or hard loam soil because it tolerates a variety of soil types. However, avoid waterlogged soil and ensure proper drainage.
5. Dig a hole
As custard apple trees have deep root systems, the planting hole should be twice as full as the seedling root ball. The hole depth will suit the root ball size. Place the root ball in the hole, cover and cover the seedling
6. Watering the plant
Water your tree rarely but extensively. Custard apples have mild watering requirements and withstand drought, although they drop leaves if the drought is severe.
7. Using organic fertilizer
To get the tree started, you’ll want a full fertilizer. Using organic fertilizer to boost root system growth.Using 3-10-10 fertilizer to increase yield in later years.
8. Giving shape
To shape your custard apple tree, you’ll want to trim it in spring. You’ll find it grows in several parts, which can get very unwieldy. You’ll want to trim back to shape the tree and extract any old berries.
Irrigation of Custard Apple
Custard apple cultivation does not require watering to grow relatively good crops if successful water storage is impaired by micro catchment in the rainy season. Irrigation during flowering and fruit production is essential.
However, in the absence of water harvesting in the post-monsoon season, two or three irrigations aid in fruit quality and higher growth. Fruit collection yield per field and consistency are superior in pulp/segment irrigated plantations.
With each carrying, plants receiving daily water thrive. Pruning, fertilization, and irrigation are essential for optimum production. For regions with water-limiting schemes, pool, trickle or drip irrigation help in the judicious usage of water. Fruits are grown in low rainfall zones.
Land forming may be used to drain rainwater around the plantation. Contour terraces, contourite, and micro-catchments often help effectively using water. Plowing and mulching during rainy season allows retaining moisture further
Custard Apple Varieties
Some custard apple fruits are tiny and produce plenty of seeds and nothing to consume. On the other side, certain custard apple varieties grow broad fruits with just 5-7 seeds and all substance to enjoy. Custard apples are two major types, both short, juicy and flavored. Break them in two, pinch the meat with a tablespoon and enjoy.
- Pink Mammoth: Good quality fruits are enormous. It may weigh up to 3 kg and have very few seeds, nearly seedless. This is custard apple’s most popular commercial form.
- African Pride: The fruits are smaller up to 500-800 gm. But this type of variety of custard Apple has more seeds than the Pink Mammoth. This fruit starts growing sooner. Skin blackening and other fruit issues are susceptible.
Custard Apple Cultivation: Seed benefits and business opportunities
We know that the benefits of the seed of custard apple have nothing a lot to do with its cultivation. But when you plan for custard apple cultivation, you must be aware of the benefits of its seeds. The reason is straightforward, its seeds are in massive demand in the market.
So, more needs will create more opportunities for you in terms of business. For say, through custard apple farming, you will not only be able to sell the product but also its seeds can give you some good company. So, without wasting any time, let’s quickly get to know about the same.
1. Eradication of head lice
Are you sick to scratch your head because of the insects and nit? Has everything failed, such as the dandruff shampoos? Seek the seeds of the custard apple. Only take some, grind in powdered shape and blend into a paste with a little water. Apply on the head and give 10 minutes to rest.
Wash with sparkling, clear water. This process will yield great results twice a week for a month and leave your head entirely safe.
2. Works as a pesticide
The same blend can also be used for your home garden as a pesticide. Regularly spray a few of the riddled plants for 10 to 15 days, to avoid leaf-eating insects.
3. Use in pharmaceuticals
Its seeds are commonly used by drug makers because of their emergency contraceptive properties that have been scientifically confirmed. It’s used to manufacture drugs to cause abortion.
4. Use in Biogas
Countries like Germany and several other European countries use these few wonders to generate biogas for commercial purposes. The grains of this fruit contains methyl-ester-rich trapped fatty acids that cause gas production.
5. Commercial pesticides farming
The custard apple seeds are also combined with neem seeds to create a new powerful bacterial pesticide used in industrial agriculture. The pesticide produced from such seeds is natural and ecologically harmless. The use of custard apple seed pesticide is perfect for human health.
We have not mentioned these benefits for the sake of mentioning. Instead, we have tried to broaden your idea about the business opportunities you can develop out of these benefits. You can transform any of the benefits into a profit-making business when it comes to custard apple cultivation.
The custard fruit is excellent, but the seeds are very poisonous, and unintentional ingestion can lead to abortion, as it is slightly hazardous. The insecticides developed from the grains should be kept from the eyes because they are capable of even temporarily blinding a person. So although you enjoy a dish packed with this healthful fruit, first take care to take off all the seeds.