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My Chayote Squash Journey

 
master pollinator
Posts: 4508
Location: Due to winter mortality, I stubbornly state, zone 7a Tennessee
1904
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betsy wrote:
I grew a massive chayote plant in my greenhouse last year


What USDA grow zone are you in?

My plants did not recover. I just placed a new set of chayote on top of my fridge. Hope springs eternal.
 
pollinator
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Location: Mississippi
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I forgot to mention in the earlier post, that when I first looked into raising chayote some years ago, I was put off by the amount of trouble it required; originally, chayotes are short-day veggies, and directions would say to uncover the plants for 6 hours, then cover them again til the next days, continuing until they flowered and set fruit.

This is important as many have pointed out the diversity of types available; I would love to get my hands on some home-grown ones from LA as I live in nearby MS!!  I have rad recently somewhere that a long-day variety has been released and it is no doubt a LA cultivar.  Anyway, I thought all of this was important to mention.
 
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In reply to Betsy, I've heard that chayote squash need to cross-pollinate. Likely your plant was doing great and just needed a friend!
 
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Thanks Joylynn for starting this thread! I found out that local Walmart had chayote for $1.25 in Nov. Although it was months away from the next planting season, I bought one to get the idea of how it might grow indoor. It was surprisingly easy to germinate and it has been growing quickly by the sunny window. I pinched the tops regularly to encourage lateral shoots and to keep the size under control. It may help with fruiting too, as I read somewhere that chayote produces more male flowers from the secondary shoots and female flowers occur in tertiary shoots.

Here are some pictures with approximate dates to show the progress. I may start from fresh chayote again in March if there are stocks in store by then.
P1180752.JPG
Early November Leaf appeared after 10 days on the counter
Early November Leaf appeared after 10 days on the counter
P1180886.JPG
Early December planted in pots, snipped off tips after every four leaves
Early December planted in pots, snipped off tips after every four leaves
P1180971.JPG
Early January. Well branched near 3ft tall
Early January. Well branched near 3ft tall
P1180968.JPG
Fruit rotting away.
Fruit rotting away.
 
Joylynn Hardesty
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Location: Due to winter mortality, I stubbornly state, zone 7a Tennessee
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Hmmm... I just skimmed the thread again, I think I failed to report that I managed to kill those plants before that summerwas over.. Bummer. We're creeping up to a new spring. Chayote is in season at Walmart.

L Johnson wrote: They grow on the east side of the trees primarily.



About how many hours of sun do they tend to get? My new proposed spot might only get 4 hours of sun.
 
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Very hard to judge... Especially since I'm not even sure where the vines ate coming out of the ground from now. I think they do alright in some shade though since they are climbers. They try to get to the top of whatever is shading them out.
 
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I've got one growing under the rabbit cage. They will creep around until they can climb into full sun, even if it's only a wee bit.
 
Joylynn Hardesty
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My poor stressed plant did not survive the winter. Sigh.

So this late spring, I purchased two Chayotte from the store, put them on top of the fridge, same as last time. One just sat there, and lost it's volume. Dead Chayotte. The other one did not sprout roots. Weird. But it did send out a spindly vine with no leaves. My kitchen is kinda dark.

So I took a chance and planted it in the garden, with a tomato cage for support. Voila! Leaves!
20230606_121330.jpg
[Thumbnail for 20230606_121330.jpg]
 
May Lotito
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Update on my chayote plant above.
I planted it out in mid May when the weather got warm. It looked quite sad being potbound and some leaves devoured by my chickens. But once its roots found the soil,it's growing crazy. I popped up a 16ft cattle panel 5ft off the ground as trellis. Here's the plant staring to climb on it.
20230628_101511.jpg
Chayote and cattle panel trellis
Chayote and cattle panel trellis
 
May Lotito
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It's almost day neutral now and my chayote is still full of leaves with no flower insight. The same plant had a few male flowers in Feburary to March indoors. For people living in low latitude area, what's the day length your chayote/choko starts to flower?

Edit to add: I looked closely this morning 9/22/23 and I saw clusters of tiny male flowers on new growth.  Good luck to other chayote growers here! Fingers crossed for a late first frost!
 
May Lotito
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I bought a daylight neutral variety of chayote online last fall. It's supposed to flower in the summer and has a better chance to get fruits before frost than the tropical kind. I received it in October and kept it in the fridge wrapped in a paper bag. It shrunk a bit but started to sprout 10 days after being out of the fridge. I cut it open carefully and only planted the seedling part since the rotting fruit attracted fungus gnats.
20231204_072928.jpg
1.5 lb green prickly chayote
1.5 lb green prickly chayote
20240119_090941.jpg
Sprouted chayote cut open
Sprouted chayote cut open
20240202_074651.jpg
Planted vertically
Planted vertically
 
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