Anybody here growing Mirliton or Chayote Squash?

Jonesboro, GA(Zone 7b)

I started this thread in the Veggie forum back in May. Have such a huge plant now, but no blooms. Is it just going to be a pretty vine? It's like the squash that ate Jonesboro.
http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/851626/

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Cleveland,GA/Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

I've not grown them, but do love to cook and eat them. They take a very long time to set fruit (like 150 days). Think of them more like winter squash than summer squash.

Jonesboro, GA(Zone 7b)

I am a little encouraged now, I read on the Veggie Forum that they may not bloom til Aug or Sept. I sure hope it doesn't get a cut worm or some other critter attacking it. I put some foil around the base to prevent them.

Cleveland,GA/Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

Pickleworm will probably be your biggest challenge. They are a huge problem as our summers progress. They bore the fruit of squashes and cukes. Vine borers are a possible problem too, but they are more prevalent earlier in the veggie garden season (May/June). Cut worm is usually a problem with young, emerging plants. You may want to consider removing the foil. I heel squashes along the way (mound soil around the bases). They grow more roots and stay cooler. Good luck.
Laurel

Jonesboro, GA(Zone 7b)

I am still waiting for the first bloom, this monster vine has now taken over the trellis and even got up into a crepe myrtle tree. It will be sad for all this beautiful vine and no fruit as I have read with others. It's ben an interesting experiment anyway.

Jonesboro, GA(Zone 7b)

Someone told me that this thing can be a perennial and not to pull it up after frost. I wonder if this is true. Do they really come back the next year??

Cleveland,GA/Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

Hmm, I've not heard this, but I'd be surprised. It's zone is pretty temperate, so maybe the growing time can extend over several seasons under the right conditions.

Jonesboro, GA(Zone 7b)

Here is this monster plant now in late sept. It has completely taken over my trellis. Today I pulled several 4ft long shoots off my Butterfly Gingers and tried to tuck them back into the main plant. I sure hope it will be worth all the anticipation of fruit soon.

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Jonesboro, GA(Zone 7b)

Today for the first time tho - I think I found tiny buds forming and even a couple of pea sized fruit - now I am getting excited. If all these little buds mature, I will have to open a "Squash stand" to get rid of them. You can see a group of the little bud blossoms if you look closely - and there are MANY of these clusters all over the vines.

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Austell, GA(Zone 7a)

Cool! Hey PJ

Brenda

Cleveland,GA/Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

Might need to find some six ml plastic and start designing a cover. I read your link. Perhaps some others who posted experience growing it, and are not in year around heat, can tell you how cold tolerant it is. Sometimes it's not enough to avoid frosts. It looks like it might tolerate an even earlier start than March indoors. Keep us posted.

Hahira, GA(Zone 8b)

Azalea - How much sun/shade does yours get ? I have tried several times to grow them, but mine always end up fried by the summer heat, I think. I would love to grow some, though - I love to eat them! Samantha

Jonesboro, GA(Zone 7b)

Hopefully it will make some fruit before frost?? MaypopLaurel suggested that this is more of a winter squash than summer - so maybe it's tougher than we think??

It is in shade til about noon, then it does get afternoon sun till about 6:00. I am just amazed how this thing grew although I use a lot of compost. I will be fun to see what happens.

Covington, LA(Zone 8b)

Many people buy mirliton at a grocery store and plant them at home. Years ago I used to grow huge vines that made zillions of mirliton. In recent years we have had no luck. A local plant expert said that our native american mirliton has hybridized with oriental species brought here by immigrants. These hybrids do not grow well in our soils. He has even asked if people who have good producing vines would send him the fruit. He is trying to gather samples of out native mirliton in case these disappear. They are hard to find now.
Keep a few of your mirliton seeds if these are good producers!

Hahira, GA(Zone 8b)

Well -that explains a lot!! That is my excuse for why I can't grow them! I'll keep trying, though!!

Jonesboro, GA(Zone 7b)

Flicker - how would I keep the seed - would the whole thing sprout or rot??

Covington, LA(Zone 8b)

Around here people plant the whole mirliton in a pot of dirt. The wide half of the fruit is in the soil. The narrow half is out of the ground pointing upward. This is where the vine will sprout.
Can anyone else tell how the mirliton fruit is over wintered? In zone 8a the vine always came back from the previous year. Any fruit left on the ground sprouted if it was in enough soil under my ligustrums.
In New Orleans mirlitons are kept in a dry refrigerator drawer all winter. They will wrinkle a little. In February the fruit is planted in a gal. pot but kept in a warm environment. After frost passes, put them in the ground.
People kept their vines going for years this way.

Jonesboro, GA(Zone 7b)

Thanks for the info - I have an old fridge in the basemen I can store them in if we get any! All I have so far are hundreds if tiny pea sized fruit. I got my original one at the store.

Jonesboro, GA(Zone 7b)

Well I have been watching my tiny fruit finally start to grow. I have 2 now that are about half grown, I fear that we will have a freeze in the next week or two before they are ready. I did get a pic today of one that is hanging below a frond on a Windmill palm. Ithe vine is laying on top of the palm frond. It is about 3" long.
I decided to cut back seveal long stalks and many of the tiny buds to give these few more strength. There were many just pea size, but I knew they did not have time to mature. I think next year, I will just start mine in January inside rather than March.

This message was edited Nov 6, 2009 9:19 PM

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Dacula, GA(Zone 7b)

Hi PJ. Just found this article. It says that fruit set and growth are day length dependent. So it may not help to plant earlier. http://www.rain.org/greennet/docs/exoticveggies/html/chayote.htm I haven't had this squash, so I was curious. One seed per plant is pretty limiting for propagation. Becky

Jonesboro, GA(Zone 7b)

Interesting article, Thanks Becky. It's an odd thing to me that with all that thick growth, the only fruit that has really grown is near the ends of the newer vines. There were never any blooms on the older stalks.

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