Garden Photography Class
Rainy Day Greens

What's up in the City College Garden

December_07_004_copy What is literally "up" is the new trellis. I plan to plant it with chayote squash, a subtropical vine that should cover it completely in a year or two. Chayote, also known as chayote pear, has pale green fruits that taste rather like a summer squash, but are borne in the winter. A mature plant can produce a couple of hundred fruits a year. That's a lot of food unless you have a lot of eaters, but I am planning to share them with students, and since they will be ready in November and December, finding students to try them shouldn't be a problem. In addition to the fruits, one can eat the young shoots, though there may not be enough of them the first year. (In Guatemala, where there are many of the plants, people pick and eat just the tendrils.)

Chayote plants can reach 30 feet tall, and if there is a tree, or a wall, or a building close by, they will climb it. Better be sure there is nothing near that will let the vine climb so high you can't reach the fruit. This trellis has a defensible space on one side, but on the left side, I want to take out one more section of fence, so the vine can't leap onto it and take off.

At present I have 4 squashes in the greenhouse, set in potting mix, waiting for them to grow. The seed never hardens, you just plant the entire squash and wait for the seedling to emerge. I'm hoping for seedlings I can transplant by March. (I'll plant 2, so they can cross pollinate.)

The chayote trellis is to be the centerpiece of a new planting of Central and South American upland edibles in the garden. Stay tuned for more on this project.

December_07_007_copy Meanwhile, the more ordinary crops are doing fine. These Brussels sprouts, planted in mid-August, were starting to bear by December.

Late_nov_07_023_copy And here is 'January King' cabbage, planted on the same day in August as the Brussels sprouts. I took this photo in late November. As you can see, the head is starting to form, but it isn't ready yet.

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