How to grow Sayote or Chayote

Chayote or Sayote in Filipino (Sechium edule), is also known as christophene, vegetable pear, mirliton, choko (in Australia and New Zealand), starprecianté, citrayota, citrayote (Ecuador and Colombia), chuchu (Brazil), chow chow (India), cho cho (Jamaica), is an edible plant that belongs to the gourd family Cucurbitaceae. It is a relative of the melons, cucumbers and squash. Chayote is a plant that can climb as high as 12 meters. Its leaves are heart-shaped, 10-25 cm wide and with tendrils on the stem. The flowers are cream-colored or greenish that comes out beneath a leaf or branch. Male flowers of chayote are in clusters; when female, the flowers come singly.

The young leaves and tips are eaten as vegetable salad, the roots grow like yam (ubi) and are also edible when cooked as sweets or fried like sweet potato (camote que). When abundant, it is cheaper to use it as food for pigs as alternative to commercial feeds. Chayote prefers a cool climate with rains that are even during the year. It grows well in loose soil with fertilizer and likes rich volcanic soil.

Planting

1. Plant the matured fruit. This is allowed to germinate, first in a nursery. Upon reaching about 30 cm, it can now be transferred to the field.
2. Make holes about 30 cm wide and 3-5 meters apart from one another. Mix the soil with compost and put it back into the hole.
3. One to three seedlings can be planted in each hole. Cover with soil. Always clear the surroundings of weeds – until about 2 meters away from the plants. When the plant spreads and fill the trellises, the growth of weeds will be controlled.
4. Put trellises on every plant when these are about 30 cm high. Compost is the best fertilizer, but at 7-8 weeks, apply complete fertilizer before and after every rain.

Harvesting

If the chayote plant is planted for its fruits, do not prune the plant to get shoots; allow the big vine to spread so as to get the most sunshine and dew. But if the purpose is for shoots only, the plant gets pruned while the young leaves are gathered.

1. Manually pick the fruits when the desired size is reached.
2. Place the container of the harvested chayote in shade to keep them fresh for a longer time.

Pests and Diseases

Chayote is not beset with enemies of diseases like other plants. All it needs is care from weeds and adequate watering.

Here is a video guide:



Here is a Chayote Recipe:

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