Papayas in Winter

I have two brick planters out in front of my house (approx. 1 ft. x 5 feet total planting space) where the future of Yoshida Papayas, Ltd., lies. Last summer, on a whim, Nam threw some papaya pits on the soil we’ve seen trying to enrich for the past few years (it was rock-hard dirt when we moved in), and much to my surprise, sprouts appeared after a couple weeks. By fall, they had grown into 3 foot saplings and sprouted very healthy and broad tropical leaves. I became quite fond of them because they looked so out of place in my old neighborhood; vibrant green in a sea of brown and aging wooden houses. I began referring to them as my “papaya forest,” and cleared away all the other plants we had out there.
When the first frost came with winter, they perished in a very ugly fashion – eveything turned black and mushy, and I didn’t even have to clear their corpses as they melted into the earth. I was sad. However, I have had similar experiences with jasmine and other warm-loving, beautiful, wimpy plants in the past, so I knew it was just a matter of trying again this year.
Since we already have learned to transfer the jasmine into pots and bring them in for the winter, I figure it should work just as well for the papaya trees, although they are a bit deeper rooted.
I asked my brother to transfer the papayas today, but I’m secretly hoping he forgets. I miss the feeling of dirt under my fingernails and the moist earth drying on my palms.

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