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Chayote squash sprouted

The Chayote Squash Dilemma

Interesting things come in the monthly produce exchange, and last month it included one chayote squash. As it sat on the counter, it became more interesting. It sprouted.

I’ve never eaten chayote squash before. It’s usually cooked like summer squash, but the roots, leaves and stems are also edible. A quick glance at Wikipedia yields an abundance of ideas for using it in different ethnic cuisines:

Uses for chayote squash

But wait, there’s more…

Perhaps the most interesting part about chayote is that the seeds don’t germinate well or at all when grown in the traditional fashion (plant seed, water, etc.). According to Elizabeth S. O’Neill, the “almond-sized chayote seeds can’t be dried and saved for planting: It germinates only inside the fruit — and will often do so while still on the vine — so the seed must be planted with its fleshy ‘shell’ intact.”

Guess what we’ll be doing this weekend?

Chayote squash sprouted

To be continued…

Hey gardenerds – do you have experience with growing chayote squash? Share your stories here.

This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. mark

    I had some store bought chayote and i forgot about them and they began to sprout. Any issue with eating them still?
    Thanks best regards

    1. Christy

      Good question. Once that happens, I’d plant them instead. But if you are only interested in eating them, I would inspect for firmness and color change. If they are still firm and not browning inside you can still eat them. The vine growing from the stem is isolated to the pit inside, so you should be able to separate it from the edible part of the plant.

  2. Bryan Lee

    “…the seeds don’t germinate well or at all when grown in the traditional fashion (plant seed, water, etc.)…”

    Well I tried it once and it germinated successfully once. 🙂 It was a little tricky to get the seed out of the fruit, but there are some videos on the web showing people doing that.

    1. Christy

      Glad to hear germinating from seed worked for you. Did you dig out the seed and then germinate it, or was the seed you recovered from one already germinated?

  3. Caroline

    I have my first one on the vine right now – I was actually lucky enough to get 6 sprouted mirliton squash from a gentleman in Lousiana who is attempting to save some of the native varieties. The ones you get in the store are from South America. I’m going to try to sprout this one so I can get another plant going – eventually I’m hoping to have perennial squash coming out my ears twice a year 😉

    1. Christy

      Sounds like a great adventure, Caroline. Keep us posted.

  4. Julianne Idleman

    The one that sprouted on our counter is about 5′ long now and I have no idea if I can plant it outside yet or not. It’s in a pot by a sunny window right now. We’re in the SF Bay Area, in Silicon Valley and we could see frost any time up until Valentine’s Day or so. Can’t wait to see if others have advice for us!

    1. Christy

      From what I’ve read, once it gets 8 inches long, bury it in a pot with some soil so that only the top inch or so is showing. Then give it something to climb. Maybe you could plant it indoors or in a warmer place (covered porch, greenhouse, etc.) that gets light.

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