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  • Achocha

    I'm not sure why I'm so attracted to these because they are not my favourite to eat by a long way! But I do love how they look and their production, plus I usually get a one or two volunteer seedlings popping up somewhere on the plot, either in the poly-tunnel or outside. I'm trying the Bolivian giant ones from Real Seeds this year, I don't think the fruits on mine are very giant, maybe not the best year for them?

    One of the seeds I received was far more rounded than the other seeds but apparently this is normal. The seeds are larger and chunkier than the smaller fruiting Slipper variety. The plants are only just coming into their own, which seems a bit later than usual. I have started picking some for seed, plus some to eat.

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  • #2
    When I first had Achocha many years ago, they were still very daylength sensitive, ie they would only fruit after the autumn equinox. But they were fine outdoors. HSL at the time said to grow them in the greenhouse, because they need such a long growing season that they are unlikely to succeed outdoors. From their seed it was a bit of a race to get a harvest in before first frost. These were Lady's Slippers. Then I received Fat Baby and they are earlier fruiting. Then I received a swap 'extra' of Lady's Slippers (again originally from HSL), but from somebody who had grown them year after year. And grown from his seeds they were much earlier here too. The Lady's Slipper that I added to the seed circle were the earlier type. Now quite a few generations away from their home in South America, they get earlier and better adapted to UK conditions.

    Looks like Real Seeds got these from Bolivia possibly recently, and, like the Lady's Slippers from HSL, it may take several generations more before these too will be much better adapted to UK conditions. As you intend passing on seeds in the seed circle, these also hopefully will get better within just a few generations, both in size and earliness.

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    • #3
      I would not read very much into the rounder seed. From what it says on the packet I don't think it is a very tightly defined 'variety' more of a large landrace achocha. With selection possibilities including, as they state, for more or fewer spines.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Galina View Post
        I would not read very much into the rounder seed. From what it says on the packet I don't think it is a very tightly defined 'variety' more of a large landrace achocha. With selection possibilities including, as they state, for more or fewer spines.

        Good points, I missed or had forgotten it is more of a landrace. I haven't had any round seeds but one was light coloured in an otherwise black ripe seeded pod, but perhaps it's not fully formed.
        I did sow the round one as I couldn't resist seeing if there would be any differences, haven't noticed anything as yet. The plants I have are producing fruit with very few to no spines.

        Yes, it's good to hope for better adaptation, mine are growing in a poly tunnel, but they are almost in the entrance and the doors stay open pretty much all year.

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        • #5
          Lighter seed colour just means it hasn't fully matured yet. They form, then start out light, then turn black. I often find one that hasn't turned fully black. Had a look on RealSeeds website and their's do look larger. But I guess like their 7inch pea pods in another picture, they do photograph the most impressive and their averages are shorter too.
          We are eating Fat Baby at the moment in our salads.

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          • #6
            No it was just one white seed amongst the black ripe ones, a bit like a reverse bean looks. I'm pretty sure the seeds/pod was ripe.
            I had a Fat Baby spring up in the new little bed of Asparagus I planted this year, I know I should have pulled it up but I didn't have the heart. Luckily it was on the end of the bed and has grown across the path into the Artichokes! I haven't grown any in that area for several years!

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            • Galina
              Galina commented
              Editing a comment
              Interesting - keep it and see whether it either turns black eventually or whether it germinates next year. I have seen white ones and just assumed they were immature and ditched them. Maybe not ..........

              You get volunteer Achocha? Amazing and after several years too? Glad they could be directed out of the way.

              I planted close to the hedge and they have jumped over to the hedge and up it and along. I wonder what the neighbours make of the invader because before long it will probably go down the other side and cover the hedge their side with all the side shoots.

            • Galina
              Galina commented
              Editing a comment
              Well the neighbour did notice them, although they did not really go all the way down his side. I ended up introducing him to achocha and giving him some seed. We also chatted about his beans - nice conversation.

            • jayb
              jayb commented
              Editing a comment
              I'm glad he was interested by the 'invader'

          • #7
            I'm growing this this year. I tried previously and rabbits (I presume) chipped through the base of three achochas, gnoring beans nearby.
            I'm going to shield with chicken wire this year as particularly want to grow this.

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            • #8
              Good luck. I never had anything go after achocha and there is usually plenty of damage on other plants. I'd just protect them like I do with beans and peas and push a bottle around a small plant, which then grows out of the bottle neck. The bottle stays in place all season.

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              • #9
                Galina, do you think it could be voles? We put a " fence" of debris netting around the perimeter of our climbing crops until they get going......usually sorts bunnies....but Fat Baby and normal Achocha all got nibbled at base of plant level.

                Thanks, will try that. Good idea

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                • Galina
                  Galina commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Voles usually leave a stump of about an inch, they don't nibble down to the base. Could be slugs perhaps? Whatever it is, bottles will in most cases sort it. The only casualties here are dwarf beans and dwarf peas, where I usually lose quite a few. I have hundreds of bottles but in the end always run out, but I don't know a better plan.

                  Jayb asked about getting a cat - unfortunately OH is asthmatic and around some cats (or when they lose fur) he gets so breathless that he has to stop twice getting up the stairs, unless he has just used his inhaler. Not so good. DIL is the same, both are just about ok with non-shedding dog Sophie, but not with most animals. He even suffered when we holiday sat a hamster. Sorry - side-track. Hector are you ok for more Achocha seed?

                • jayb
                  jayb commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Sorry I'd forgotten, I think you mentioned before when I was asking about sophie. I'm pretty sure there is a hairless cat and also some doggie varieties? Maybe they would be health friendly?

              • #10
                I have sown two seeds and got one 5 inch Bolivian Giant with a nice set of true leaves above the cots. The other seed still looks nice, hope it will germinate soon.

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                • Galina
                  Galina commented
                  Editing a comment
                  By afternoon the second tier of true leaves was visible. I'll have to move this plant into a bigger pot soon, maybe I can risk planting it in the greenhouse?

                • jayb
                  jayb commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Nice one

              • #11
                Yes , I still have some. Thanks for offer, though

                I was similarly thempted to try one undercover but nervous in case too rampant!


                I am thinking of growing over one of those Wilkos Rose trellis I got for a fiver.

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                • #12
                  My little greenhouse exotic always gets planted next to the door, just in case it isn't so little. When I had the Kiwano, they needed firm guiding out of the door or everything else would have been swamped. Last year's litchi tomato is quite well behaved in a corner (bar the scratchy bits , which is why I tied it to the structure). Depending on the type of achocha it may stay in the corner or again be 'shown the door'. Glad you have seeds left for a new start.

                  Lady's slipper and especially Fat Baby don't need a greenhouse, they are pretty tough once frosts are gone.
                  Last edited by Galina; 04-04-2016, 21:55.

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                  • #13
                    I grew Bolivian Giant in a poly-tunnel last year, I don't know if they will do as well as Lady's Slipper or Fat Baby being grown outside. I believe Real seeds grew them inside too? They are worth it though, better taste and more usable sized fruits. I'll start a new thread for Bolivian Giant, intrested how they do and what shape seeds.

                    I've another Lady's Slipper to try this year, which is meant to be 'giant' too.

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                    • #14
                      Anyone growing Caigua this year, I see Real Seeds don't have it in their catalogue this time. I've a couple of older seeds I'm going to give it a try with. They are not meant to be as daylight sensitive according to packet

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                      • #15
                        Tempted to frow inside poly and grow over path/along a trellis arrangement above me

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