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Article: Vines of Reunion Island, Part 3: growing Solandra Maxima and Chouchou in Malta

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Forum: Article: Vines of Reunion Island, Part 3Replies: 9, Views: 22
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Malteser
Qormi
Malta

October 7, 2009
8:19 PM

Post #7145304

My mother had got me a small cutting of the solandra maxima from a friend. It grew so much that it covered a small glass house and continued on its rampage of the garden wall and invaded my neighbours garden..Had to cut it down and grown only small specimens in pots. The Chouchou I have grown in my garden. Here we call it 'Centinarja'. We use it in soups and also as a vegetable. It is a little difficult to start it going but if if grows it will produce a lot of fruit year after year.

jjacques

jjacques
LE TAMPON
Reunion (French)

October 8, 2009
5:11 PM

Post #7148258

I have never been to Malta but I guess you have a rather favourable climate, probably a little dry for chouchou but watering will do miracles!
Malteser
Qormi
Malta

October 22, 2009
9:21 PM

Post #7197922

Yes a hot summer wind drys out the leaves, but the fruit is OK. For a couple of years just one plant produced dozens of large chou chou's which I cooked, froze, and gave away to family, friends and neighbours. It had an intimate friendship with our grape vines, but after a few years it perished and I have not managed to replace since.

jjacques

jjacques
LE TAMPON
Reunion (French)

October 23, 2009
1:35 PM

Post #7200040

I guess your place is probably too dry, here on Reunion the chouchou is at its best in the Cirque de Salazie which is on the East coast and the most rainy and humid...Now I do not know how long a chouchou tuber is supposed to live but probably not manu year!
Malteser
Qormi
Malta

October 23, 2009
4:51 PM

Post #7200575

Thank you J.Jacques. I have taken a hint. Chou chou has not yet appeared on the vegetable stalls. As usual when they are for sale, I will choose three that are already sprouting and contrary to what I usually do I will put them out in the garden, where they will eventuall perhaps take root. In winter we have adequate rain, and humidity is certain.

jjacques

jjacques
LE TAMPON
Reunion (French)

October 24, 2009
4:22 AM

Post #7202667

You mean you can buy chouchou on your local market? Do you know where it is imported from? I had not understood you grew it in a pot, I am pretty sure you will get better results in the ground, there it will develop a quite large tuber (which is edible as well). It enjoys loose rich soil with good humidity but good drainage as well, especially if you have lots of rain in winter when the plant will be dormant.
Malteser
Qormi
Malta

October 26, 2009
1:22 PM

Post #7209504

It is grown locally, and I do not grow it in a pot but in the ground. Here things do not actually grow in the same season as other countries. As most of our winter is very mild and perhaps more like spring in other countries, some vegetables and flowers are produced during late winter, spring and early summer. I will let you know when I buy my chou chou's. And by the way, I do not have to go to any market, the vegetable man stops with his vegetable and fruit laden van, right in front of my front door, on Monday and Thursday evenings, and if on any of those days I am not at home, he will stop on Tuesday and Friday morning.

jjacques

jjacques
LE TAMPON
Reunion (French)

October 26, 2009
2:54 PM

Post #7209798

Well, although I was born in France and traveled quite a bit in Europe and Mediterranea I never made it to Malta but it seems like I missed something! Sounds like a great place, with chouchou and vegetables delivered at the very door! Do you also grow banana trees? I went to Crete several times as I acompanied teenagers there for vacation and remember they would grow banana trees and protect them under plastic in winter, I also saw once sugar cane.
Malteser
Qormi
Malta

October 26, 2009
6:58 PM

Post #7210608

Yes Bananas do grow here, but not on a commercial basis. In my father's house we had banana's growing in the middle yard (most Maltese houses have an internal yard so all the rooms have a window in it) every year we had one or two big bunches, it was cut down when it was still green, cut the tip of, and tie a bag with sugar in it so it would make it sweet, and then hung up in the loft untill it matures. The trees were then chopped down, as a banana tree only fruits once. But there were a lot of small ones to grow in their place. When I got married we planted a banana sappling in our garden, we had a duck pond, which was emptied into the banana practically every day, and they grew to huge proportions, and also produced fruit regularly. When the ducks eventually passed away, and it missed the manured water, it withered away. of course we do not cover the in winter.

jjacques

jjacques
LE TAMPON
Reunion (French)

October 27, 2009
12:15 PM

Post #7212987

Thanks for this detailed answer!

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