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The Humble Choko

Chokoes and I have a dedicated symbiotic relationship
That's an interaction between two different organisms living in close physical association, typically to the advantage of both.
People question my  support of the humble choko but when you take to the vine like I do my love  is unconditional.

  • They are so easy to grow, anyone can.
  • They are always bountiful.
  • They are low carbohydrate.
  • They can be prepared many different ways.
  • They fruit for a very long season.
  • They offer different cuisine options each stage of their aging.
That said I also think that the ever so 'umble choko is a design delight. As a vigorous vine it can be grown over almost anything to mask, to shade, to decorate ... In that regard it is the most important plant in my backyard. 

Along with an assortment of beans, the choko is the plant that climbs over my trellis to shade the salad plants underneath during hot weather.  A choko vine is so easy to groom and maintain -- snip here and there -- so that I can regulate light and shade as conditions suit.  

Come Winter I simply cut the vines back hard.

Then the vines start to fruit. The young fruits are soft and tasty such that I prefer them to many varieties of zucchini. There's no ready fungal problems like those you get with other squashes and the young fruits keep on coming over a long period of time. As the fruit ages and enlarges your culinary options may change but then  the humble choko may be the most productive plant you have growing. 

I now use choko vines as ground cover to keep the weeds down over new mulch. It's so easy: just dig a small hole with your fingers and embed some  fruit. Then step back. Choko growth in its early stages is always entertaining. It is also these early shoots that offer further culinary options in their own right (as does the tubers which can be prepared like yams).

I mean, seriously, what's not to like? Even the young leaves can be used in salads.

And when you get so many chokoes that you cannot eat them all: they make great fodder for chooks ... and neighbours.



 

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