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  • #31
    Ah yes, thanks for the links. I hadn’t read quite that far. Im assuming my photo above is round seeded as I have very few square seeded fruit. So far the only square seeds I’ve found are from fruit beginning to go rotten at one end so I haven’t got photos at the moment of square seeded fruit.

    But generally, I’d say that my round seeded fruit are the same shape as jayb’s square-seeded ones but with far fewer spines.

    The strong preponderance of round-seeded fruit makes me wonder whether my square seed plant has produced some round seeded fruit. There seemed to be some speculation in the BG discussion that the seed types might not always remain constant and a feeling that square seeds might be likely to dominate. My experience tends more towards round seeds dominating but as my plants shared the same stretch of fence I can’t be sure exactly what has happened. I might be more aware of how many square seeded fruit I’ve got when I start to use more of them. But certainly so far, square seeded fruit are very few and far between.

    I’ll have to see whether I can grow the two types on separate bits of fence next year to keep them more separate.

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    • #32
      There also seems to be variation in the seed shape of the ‘regular’ type. Jayb’s seem more rounded and mine
      more square

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      • #33
        PS. Decided to cut into the fruit photographed above. Definitely round seeded -16 seeds

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        • #34
          That is very interesting Jang. And different from what we experienced. The tiny fruits that started developing on my square seeded plant and then stalled, possibly affected by frost were spikey. Maybe there has been more intermixing between round and square seeded achocha at Realseeds in the interim. That would answer a lot of questions. And I was just lucky to get the same type for several years from a round seed. And if, as you say, the round seeded is earlier, chances are natural selection in UK is for round seeded. The original thinking was that the round seeded are the rare ones, certainly in Jayb's original packet https://www.growingfoodsavingseeds.c...-achocha/page2

          We also believed that the round seeded type produces at most 14 seeds, when yours show up to 16! We were thinking that the longer type is square seeded with more seeds. Your experiences have turned a lot of what we thought we 'knew' on its head. Yes your square seeds do look a bit fatter and squarer than Jayb's, but they also have the characteristic cross on them that the round seeds lack.

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          • #35
            Yes, I’m no longer sure about earliness, but it’s odd that most of the square seeded ones are in fact rotting much faster. It could be a coincidence that they’ve been more damaged from their position, slight bruising perhaps from being on and near a gate. I haven’t found a particularly large one with square seeds yet, so for me they have been smaller on the whole.
            I guess mixing and crossing between square and round seeded would explain a lot.
            Both types here have had predominantly smooth skins. I only have a very small number of spiky ones and probably only a couple as spiky as the ones Jayb shows above.
            Random selection:

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            • #36
              From experience here (which probably needs revising) I would have said that the large one on top of the others bottom left and the one next to it at six o` clock would be round seeded, also the one bottom right. But the one at 10`o clock which is hanging over the bowl I would have said was the square seeded type. When you come to deseed them, we will know a lot more. And we will have learned a lot.

              That first year with the round seeded achocha, I kept my harvested fruit for post harvest ripening on the windowsill well into the new year, hoping for more black seeds. The next year they were much earlier and the year after that I wondered what the problem had been as they seemed to adapt. Only this year trying the square seeded one, was I reminded that they are tricky, despite the Lady's slipper achocha being early.

              I am glad that you got good seeds of both types. Very curious to see what the seeds in the mentioned fruits will turn out to be. But please do not cut them earlier than you would, just to satisfy my curiosity. That can wait. Nice harvest.

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              • #37
                Unfortunately, before I read your message yesterday, I was into making 10lbs of achocha and apple chutney, taking your advice of adapting any cucumber recipe. It turned out very well I think. It did mean though that the configuration on the photo above is no longer there so I'm afraid I can't test your prediction
                However what I can say, after finding some more square seeded fruits, is that the square seeded ones are always shorter and have a characteristic shape - as in this fruit. I also now have plenty of seed of both types if anyone would like some.

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                • #38
                  After 2 years without the Giant Bolivian Achocha which I love, this year I started in January. Now have a 3ft houseplant, which is developing flowers. Will I get fruit this year? The last two years I would have needed an extra month or two, had baby fruit then hard frost finished the growing season even in the greenhouse. This year I will grow outside and with the extra early start - well finger's crossed.

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                  • Jang
                    Jang commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Good luck indeed with this.
                    When have your earliest and latest frost dates been?
                    And I hope your indoor achocha doesn’t take over your house before you can safely plant it out!

                  • Galina
                    Galina commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Very similar to Rushden as dates go, however very different in terms of frost properties. There is not that benign time a f t e r the first frost where the achocha somewhat protected between the greenhouse and the fence keeps going. When frost happens, it very soon becomes what the Americans call a killing frost. Even in the greenhouse. And likewise in spring. We now finally have our first daffs out and forsythia is in flower, but two nights ago it was still -7.8C. In Rushden the greenhouse would be frost free by now or at least suitable for salad plants which would be thriving and we would be harvesting. Here I struggle to overwinter Taunton Deene and other kale. Strangely Sicilian Purple has survived under fleece and is producing now. Leftover carrots are as good as new, Black Winter radish and turnips are fine too. While we are not harvesting the usual spring salads (apart from lamb's lettuce and now American landcress and rocket), we are still harvesting other things. It is a steeeeeeeeeeeeep learning curve.
                    Last edited by Galina; 07-04-2022, 06:55.

                  • Jang
                    Jang commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Yes, I can imagine it’s very interesting/challenging managing that. We’ve had an unusual number of nights on zero or -1. The night before last it was -1.6 and I feared for the top growth of the first early potatoes I had in the polytunnel, but it was fine. So not too killing.

                    Asian salads - mizuna and various mustards - are our mainstay from the polytunnel in winter. They seem to happily survive frosts under cover, as does lamb’s lettuce. Are they also daunted by nights of constant lows though? I guess its quite a number of winters since we’ve had -8, so I’m struggling to remember what managed to hang on and what gave up. But even then it wasn’t weeks on end of course.

                    Good that you can leave carrots in the ground. Here they’re mostly empty shells by November because of rodents. Beetroot too. I lift them and keep them in sand in an ancient metal trunk.

                    I haven’t met Sicilian Purple kale. Taunton Deene is a bit purplish. Is SP a little similar?

                • #39
                  In Rushden, where it was much colder than in coastal regions, we always had a good crop of various salad stuff including lettuce early in spring from the greenhouse. I used to do my lettuce seed winnowing into the greenhouse with tomato plants still in situ - and the seeds germinated as they wanted to. A few seeds extra later in the year as the tomato plants were composted for luck. Glad you got salad ingredients throughout from your greenhouse Jan.

                  I think that a single night or a few nights of minus temperatures are fine, but here there seems to be a persistent level of freeze drying going on. This is how I explain it to myself. The plants dry up in the cold rather than freezing as such, even though the ground is moist. The tall kales did not get the triple fleece that the Sicilian Purple lower growing broccoli had, as sheets of fleece are only so wide and more difficult to fix. Maybe it needs a triple layer to counter the freeze drying effect on Taunton Deene. The shorter variegated Daubenton at the fence did have a double layer of fleece.

                  I was very amazed to find purple broccoli heads on those Sicilian Purple plants. They were an afterthought last year, a very old and out of date seed packet was given a last chance late in the year and just thrown into an impromptu little drill, planted up properly early in autumn when some of the seeds had still produced plants and finally given a fleece after Christmas. And now early, smallish broccoli heads as a surprise, as well as two dead plants that did not make it. Other Sicilian Purple plants, sown at the proper time in spring, were the last to perish in autumn. I had left them after harvesting the head in case they would produce side shoots, which they did not. But the plants stayed alive for a long time. Needless to say, there will be several batches sown this year.

                  Red mustard definitely died off in the greenhouse, tried that. And Mizuna was great during autumn outside, but perished soon after the first frosts. Lamb's lettuce and American Landcress, as well as turnips, rocket and black winter radish survived without fleece. Unfortunately leeks and onions are difficult to grow here and I haven't worked out yet why. They don't fatten up as they should. Twice now my leeks have ended up more like spring onions. On the other hand, green sorrel is a weed here (nice fresh leaves appearing now) and the cultivated red veined garden variety also grows well.

                  To get back to the topic, I hope to learn better what makes Giant Bolivian achocha tick here. The smaller Ladies Slipper variety performed without any special measures, so there is hope for better adaptation in future years, once we get seeds that were grown here. In the early years of growing them in Rushden it also was a little difficult to get black seeds, although we did get fruit much more easily than here.
                  Last edited by Galina; 09-04-2022, 07:58.

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                  • Jang
                    Jang commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Interesting to have this further detail.I now understand more fully the spring equinox trick! Do let us know if the flowers do produce fruit and whether the plant continues to flourish, flower and fruit. Fingers crossed. 🤞

                  • Galina
                    Galina commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Couldn't quite believe it yesterday, but obvious today. We have 2 tiny fruit. Only a couple of weeks before they can go out.

                  • Jang
                    Jang commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Congratulations! Looks like you’ve got the achocha problem sorted.

                    I guess the only risk now is that the drop in temperature when your plant goes outside might upset it. But hopefully only temporarily.

                • #40
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                  The houseplant Giant Bolivian Achocha has been transplanted outside. Fingers crossed. It certainly did well as a giant houseplant and produced flowers and fruit. Let us hope it continues outside where I have transplanted it inside an obelisk.

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                  • Galina
                    Galina commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Not home and dry yet, I'm afraid to report. After the longest sulk in the history of plants sulking after planting out, the achocha has now grown like mad to the top of the obelisk with very good foliage, and it is still producing flowers all the way. And these flowers have baby fruit at their base, like they do. And there they stay. And don't grow any bigger, none of them. The fruit I had growing at planting out did nothing more and perished, most of the original leaves perished too. Plenty of bees and other insects, but no fruit. I had such hopes for this method. Well they can do what they will and should they suddenly start producing fruit, I would be well pleased. But I am no longer banking on it.

                  • Jang
                    Jang commented
                    Editing a comment
                    What a pity and rather perplexing. I imagine day length and temperatures are not too dissimilar at the moment from middle Britain?

                  • Galina
                    Galina commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Days are very slightly shorter in summer and slightly longer in winter, temperatures generally significantly hotter and daylight is just so much brighter. We have UV7 most days unlike UV5 in Britain on a very good day. Unless it rains in a thunderstorm it is usually very sunny, rather than cloudy. So the level of brightness is dramatically different. If achocha is a shady rainforest type of plant, then the sustained sulk is not surprising.

                • #41
                  A month later and things have not improved. An impressive plant fully topping and outgrowing its 2m height obelisk covered in flowers with pollinating bees right next door and no fruit!

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                  • Jang
                    Jang commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Commiserations! It does still seem puzzling. I’m not growing achocha this year but I’d have thought that here achocha sets fruit in quite hot sunny conditions. I’ve grown it on a fully exposed wire fence and I believe you grew it in a greenhouse in Rushden so difficult to think of it as dependent on a shady rainforest environment.
                    Are you thinking that in England it would do all its fruit setting on the damper cloudier days?

                  • Galina
                    Galina commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Yes indeed. Used to flower and set at around the autumn equinox. We managed to circumvent that with getting it to flower at the spring equinox and initially also set fruit, which the plant has since dropped off, but it may still need the autumn equinox to start fruiting. Which may be too late.
                    Last edited by Galina; 22-07-2022, 05:07.
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