The Choko plant is a perennial vine that has been popular in Australia for many years, . Fairly easy to grow, chokos can be used in stews, soup or even as a stir fry vegetable.
Chokos (Choko Plants) have been around in Australia for a very long time and are just now being recognised as a easy to grow and valuable vegetable. Chokos are a climbing plant and will grow well on a sunny trellis or fence. Chokos are easy to grow and are almost pest and disease free.
In warmer climates they will fruit prolifically, sometimes over 70 fruit on a single plant.
And why do Chockos have a bad name, in the depression they were used widely, they grow so readily that they were a cheap source of food, they are a little bland by themselves, but so is tofu…..
So if they are so easy to grow why do we find it so difficult to buy the seeds, where are all the choko seed suppliers?. After all in the books it says to ‘grow from seeds sown in spring’. Well this is sort of right choko vines do sort of grow from seeds.
The problem with Chokos is that separating the seed from the fruit is, well, difficult. We suggest you just go and buy a choko and let it sit in a warm dry position until it decides to sprout, which it will. Then just plant the whole fruit where you want it to grow and then thin out if to many vines appear.
These are a little frost tender and do like some warmth. Grow the vines on a fence or trellis in a sunny position and keep the roots well mulched.
Planting time is in the warmer months,in cooler climates, however they do need good warmth for around 5 months. In tropical to sub tropical climates they can be planted at the end of summer.
The flowers appear in summer, and are followed by the fruit.
Plant and Grow Choko Plants
- Wait until the soil has warmed up to around 15C as a minimum.
- You need to plant after the dangers of frost have past.
- Dig in some well rotted compost and cow or sheep manure.
- Individual seeds can be planted at around 80 cm apart. Generally one or two plants will provide adequate fruit for most gardens.
- The plant will need something to climb on, a trellis, fence or outbuilding.
- Keep the soil moist however not wet and soggy.
- You will need a long warm growing season, generally around 5 months from seedling to fruit.
The best fruits are the younger ones, as they age the skin becomes very tough, and also sappy when peeled.
They can be eaten in a number of ways, they take on the flavour of anything they are cooked with, rather than being the main attraction themselves :
- Chopped or diced into stir fries.
- Steam them and eat with salt and pepper.
- Add them to soups.
- Use them to make a Choko pie (Apple pie with Chokos added)
- Roast them.
Always look for the younger fruits, NOT the big old ones