The chayote is native to Latin America, specifically Mexico and Guatemala, and was a staple in the Aztec diet for centuries.
San Diego’s proximity to Mexico often affords us a similar climate, providing a spectacular opportunity to grow one of Mexico’s prized culinary gifts.
Why Grow Chayote?
This tropical squash is a perennial favorite and gardener’s dream as it produces year after year.
Likened to dense cucumbers, chayotes can be consumed raw or cooked. Thinly sliced in fresh ceviche, added to soups, or pickled atop carnitas tacos, chayotes deliver an exceptionally versatile harvest.
Planting and Harvest
Coyotes are opportunists: The hearty vines are enthusiastic climbers, so placement is key.
Select organic chayote from your local farmers’ market and rest it, stem end up, on organic garden soil in full sun.
Within a few weeks, your chayote will sprout (think sprouting potatoes) and begin unfurling small vines. Once the vines are five to six inches long, pop the chayote directly in the ground ensuring the vines are exposed.
This rapid grower wants organic compost, nitrogen, and a layer of mulch.
Water your plant when the soil is dry to the touch, adding diluted fish emulsion every two to three weeks.
Chayote is ready to harvest at four-to six-inches-long and can be stored in your refrigerator for up to a month.