Red Shoulder Hawk

Red Shoulder Hawk

Thursday, October 29, 2009

A Permie Plant

The chayote is blooming!

It's true California is blessed with an amazing climate. But in my ignorance before embracing permaculture, I thought of winter as an off season. Now I'm enjoying finding crops that are winter crops, like tree tomatoes, fava beans and chayote.

We are using the "edge" of our deck to grow this monster vine. The root is down below next to the gate and fence. I protected it from children, pets, and watered it often and deeply. It took a year to get established well, growing from a spindly, sad little vine (like the sorriest cucumber you've ever grown) to its current glory.

This slim vine is very cold to the touch; on a hot day the effect is almost shocking. I would guess the plant has tapped into the water table and literally gallons of cool water are being transported through this stem every day to nourish all those leaves and developing squash.

I've been told that chayote is a perennial. If so, then this is a great example of permaculture design. I spent a fair amount of effort getting the plant established, it's growing in a margin (edge) adding value, and it offers a stacked function of providing food while enhancing the privacy of the deck.

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