Sprouting Chayote

I’m coming out of hibernation to ask if anyone has experience of growing a vegetable called Chayote, in Northern Europe or a similar climate.

I was given a plentiful supply of Chayote whilst on holiday in Tenerife recently.  They are a member of the cucumber/squash family and in Tenerife most small holdings and vegetable plots have a large permanent frame erected purely for this plant.  Chayote are apparently quite medicinal and are used widely in the Canary islands in everyday cooking and as a tonic for children.  They are popular in many tropical and subtropical cultures, including Mexico where they apparently form a staple part of the diet.

Since returning from holiday with half a dozen chayote, I haven’t been able to find much information about their medicinal properties but I have found information about how to grow them. I am going to have a go at growing them here in Amsterdam; two are sprouting healthily in my fruit bowl and according to the instructions linked here in a 1980 article from Mother Earth News, they may even produce a crop!  Chayote don’t form hard dry seeds, instead they sprout directly from the centre of the fruit and when the sprout is about 6 inches long, the whole thing can be planted in a pot.

So I am really keen to know if anyone has experience of growing this medicinal tropical perennial vegetable in a climate such as this.  Please email me directly if you have…

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