Grow thorny squash: from seeds to harvest. All information on thecultivation of chayote and on the properties of this vegetable.
Spiny gourd or chayote, properties
Thechayote, in our part known asthorny pumpkin, is a vegetable of the Cucurbitaceae family, a distant relative of melons and cucumbers.
Its botanical name isSechium edule and a in the world is known by the names ofchayote, pumpkin pear, vegetable pear, choko, christophine, cho-cho, pipinola and ichintal in Mexico. Here in Italy we call it thorny pumpkin.
Thechayoteit is used in cooking mainly cooked. In some food and wine cultures it is used raw, drizzled with oil and lemon juice, added to fresh salads or chopped into sauces. Therethorny pumpkinpresents notableantioxidant propertiesbecause it is an excellent source of vitamin C. The fruits are rich in vegetable proteins with an interesting amino acid profile.
In Asia, not only fleshy fruits are consumed but also the most tender shoots and leaves. Not only that, even the tuberous roots are eaten, especially raw or just blanched.
The leaves and fruits have importantpropertydiuretic and anti-inflammatory, they have benefits on the cardiovascular system, kidneys and improve blood pressure.
Chayote seeds or thorny pumpkin
When is the thorny pumpkin harvested? It is harvested between October and November and some vegetables are set aside for re-sowing next spring. Yep, thechayoteshe has notseedsto be extracted like all other vegetables, but the vegetable itself represents the seed to be planted.
How to grow thorny squash or chayote
There thorny pumpkin or chayote, an ovoid-shaped vegetable, can be grown in any area of Italy as long as the temperatures are not too rigid.
It is characterized by a whiter inner part, which represents its seed, even if the definition is somewhat improper since the seed is one with the vegetable and cannot be separated and replanted in any way unless it is plant the whole vegetable.
The characteristic of the thorny pumpkin it is the reproduction that does not occur through the seed but through the fruit itself, which must be buried just below the surface of the earth. The plant is climbing and can also cover spaces of tens of square meters. Here are all the directions for the cultivation of thorny pumpkin.
Spiny pumpkin, cultivation
To grow thorny squash, just follow our advice.
There cultivationit can start with a thorny gourd picked from a friend's plant or bought commercially. Slightly plant it, less than half as soon as it has released the leaf bud.When to plant thorny gourd? The ideal period is May.
In this first step, water thechayoteonly rarely, in order not to cause seed rot.
To avoid problems with mold and rot, you canplant the thorny gourdin pot, keeping it sheltered from the rains. Abstention from water must last for about 20 days, just the time for germination, which is necessary for the production of the leaf bud. If you continue with the planting in pot, you can then move on to the final planting as soon as the plant has reached 30/40 cm.
To ensure good growth, fertilize with fertilizer based on phosphorus and potassium, only a little nitrogenous.
For the entire duration of the cultivation, thethorny pumpkinmust be supported with special tutors.
Flowering begins during the summer and the fruits are harvested in October November and kept in a cool place until the beginning of spring.
The plant, with the first cold winters, dries up, but the root system remains active and resumes vegetation with the increase in temperature during the following spring. The plant is quite long-lived, so it will resume vegetation for several years in a row, until you have to repeat the plant. As a precaution, each year, set aside a couple ofchayoteready for planting.
How to cure thorny gourd from diseases
The plant can be attacked by red spider and aphids, both pests can be treated with pyrethrum. During the flowering period, it is necessary to control the attacks of ants that are greedy of the small fruits just sprouting from the flower.