Chayote or chayote squash is often found in many local and imported dishes. It can be fried, sautéed, eaten raw or cooked however you prefer to. Cooking with chayote would seem effortless yet it brings out a flavorful taste. It is somehow crispy and juicy and its mild sweetness lingers on your every bite. The taste is a bit like between a cucumber and potato and sort of a crisp pear. Incredibly delish!
If you love chayote as much as I do, you might be wondering how you can grow it in your own yard. Planting and gardening might require more of your time, but does not mean it’s always tough. The process can be trouble-free. And if you are planning to plant a chayote, there are definitely simple and easy ways to do so.
- What is Chayote?
- How to Grow Chayote in Your Own Yard
- Benefits of Chayote
What is Chayote?
Chayote is a perennial plant that belongs to the family of squash, melons and cucumbers. It is green, shaped like a pear and has rough texture. The inside is a combination of pale green and white shades which gives off a slightly bland yet nutty-flavored taste. It typically grows during summer or whenever the weather temperature is hot or warm. And to grow a chayote, it takes 120 to 150 frost-free days before the harvest.
How to Grow Chayote in Your Own Yard
Planting a chayote is simple and easy. You can even just buy a chayote fruit and plant under the soil. That’s it! However, to make sure these chayote fruits would grow healthy and delicious, here are some ways you can follow.
1. PICK A MATURE CHAYOTE FRUIT
Mature chayote fruits are the ones that are ready to be planted in a soil. So, how would you know if it is the mature one? You will know if they are hard to touch and hairy. The ones that have a sprout at the crack end would also do.
If you cannot find one, you can pick any chayote that seems mature enough. Put it in a zip lock bag or plastic bag, seal it tightly and store it in a dark and cool area for 2 to 3 days. You will know it’s ready if you see a sprout at the crack end.
2. CHOOSE A HEALTHY SOIL
Once you have the chayote ready, the next thing you’ll do is plant it in a garden soil. You can just place it in a pot or in your yard, but you have to make sure the soil is moisture-retentive and rich in organic matter. A soil with a mixture of coconut fiber or rice hulls will do.
Plant the chayote fruit for about 4 to 6 inches deep, crack end down and should be in an angle. The angle allows the stem end to level with the soil surface.
3. PLANTING TIME
As what was mentioned earlier, chayote grows best during summer or whenever the weather temperature is warm or very hot. The soil temperature should be at least 65°F.
4. PLACE IT NEAR A WALL OR FENCE
Chayote is a climbing plant and it grows on anything and can be as high as 12 meters. Hence, it needs a strong support. So, if you are going to plant one, it is much better if you place it near a wall, fence or trellis so that it can have something to climb to.
If you are planning to plant more than one chayote, you should keep each fruit 10 feet apart from the other.
5. PROVIDE PROPER CARE AND MAINTENANCE
Chayote is one of the low-maintenance plants and so does not require too much supervision. You should always keep the moisture in the soil. Like any other plants, you must water it every now and then, but it should not be waterlogged. Every 4 to 6 weeks, renew the soil and add organic fertilizer on top of the soil. Vermicast will do too.
Pests or insects might also come around in the process of growing the fruit. Aphids or plant lice, usually attack chayote plants. You can get rid of them by removing them with your hands or just spray them off with water.
6. THE HARVEST
It usually takes 120 to 150 days before the harvest. By that time, the fruit is already tender and about 4 to 6 inches in size. Use a knife and carefully cut the chayote fruit from the vine. You should harvest the fruits as much and as quick as possible before the flesh gets too hard.
Benefits of Chayote
Chayote is indeed a healthy with an abundance of health benefits. No wonder plenty of people grow chayote in their very own yard.
Take a look at some of these health benefits.
- Rich in Fiber
Normalizes bowel movements and digestion and treats constipation.
- Helps Control Blood Sugar Levels
Due to its fiber content, chayote helps control blood sugar levels in your body. Particularly for those who have diabetes, chayote is one of the best options for your diet.
- Contains Essential Vitamins
It contains Vitamin C and folate. Folate can prevent cancer and neural tube defects in the baby during pregnancy. Vitamin C, on the other hand, reduces the risk of heart diseases and cancer. Aside from those vitamins, chayote also contains B-complex and minerals such as copper, zinc, riboflavin, thiamin, pyridoxine, iron and manganese. These minerals keep your immune system and metabolism healthy.
- Helps Lose Weight
If you are on a diet and are planning to lose some weight, eating chayote is a good way to go. It only has 38.6 calories, 0.1 grams of fat and a high content of water. It also includes fiber. With such substances, you can eat as much chayote as you want and feel full without putting in too many calories in your body. You can add it on your salad, on your smoothie or just a snack whenever you go hungry.
- Keeps Your Bones and Muscles Strong
Chayote can be your alternative for milk or could be another effective way to keep your bones healthy and strong. It contains calcium and magnesium that both works to strengthen your bones and muscles. It also has potassium content that strengthens your muscles and nerves.
There are certainly a lot of ways on how to grow chayote in your yard. Mentioned above are the simple and easy steps that you can follow and they are guaranteed effective.
Chayote truly is beneficial to one’s health and so, growing one in your yard is one great decision. But if you want to grow more fruits and vegetables together with your chayote, here are some ideas you might want to know.