I love chokos! The rest of the family tolerate chokos. They are not easy to find here in Adelaide so I have been wanting to grow my own for quite a while. I searched the organic seed catalogues on many occasions, but could never find chokos. So I asked the great god Google and discovered that to grow a choko all you needed was a choko!
According to this article “Choko plants are easily grown from seed, which means planting the whole fruit, because the seed cannot be separated from the fruit. Just collect a fruit from friends or other gardeners, sit it on a warm window sill until it begins to grow a shoot from one end, then half-bury the fruit with the leafy shoot end above soil level.”
So I waited for them to turn up at the green grocers and in the third week of April they did.
I placed my precious choko on the big bay window in the kitchen. It gets filtered sun; enough to keep my indoor plants and fighting fish alive so I hoped it would be enough.
After two weeks of the choko sitting and doing nothing I found a sprout on 1/5. I was very excited!
Two weeks later the sprout was definitely getting bigger.
Two more weeks and it looked like this.
The choko itself slowly withered as all the goodness within was fed to the new vine. I was advised by a gardening friend not to plant the choko until the first leaves appeared. Ten weeks later I was still waiting for leaves, but the vine itself was now around 50 centimetres high.
It seemed to like life on the kitchen windowsill.
I decided the choko should grow in the empty garden bed in the dog’s run. Rory had already begun to dig it up for me!
My plan was to dig the section over with some fresh compost and have Jamie build me a barrier from chicken wire so the dogs can’t get at my precious vine. There will still be plenty of room for the dogs to do their business.
On 6/7 the choko was really withered and starting to turn brown so I decided it was time to plant even though there was still no sign of a leaf!
As the weather had been quite wet the area I had chosen was very muddy, so I decided the choko should go in a pot filled with fresh compost first.
I put the pot next to the pool where it would be protected but still get plenty of sunshine.
It seemed to like it there; a month later it had leaves and was beginning to climb the fence.
Six weeks later (14/9) the leaves were big and beautiful.
Unfortunately, even though it was clearly ready to plant, life got in the way and I couldn’t seem to find a spare couple of hours to plant it. And then yesterday I got a shock. Adelaide experienced a 37° day, pretty hot for early November, and my choko didn’t like it one bit! Some of the leaves curled up and went crunchy and it was very limp. After a big drink and a cool night it was looking much better, so I decided today was the day to dig a hole. The clay soil was full of rocks but surprisingly easy to dig. I even discovered an old watering system a previous owner must have put in, shame it doesn’t work!
When I first put the choko along the pool fence it was empty as the grape had lost all its leaves. It is now gloriously green again so I had to carefully untangle the choko vine from its many branches and leaves.
I nailed some plastic trellis we had in the shed to the fence to give the vine something to grab onto. Jamie cut back the next-door neighbour’s creeper after I took the photo.
I then filled the hole with about 20 litres of compost and planted my precious choko.
Jamie constructed a (hopefully) dog-proof barrier from chicken wire and tent pegs.
Fingers crossed we get some fruit!