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CHERRY


237


Chayote Cucurbitaceae


PERENNIAL VINE OFTEN GROWN AS ANNUAL


ZZONES 14–16, 19–24; H1, H2; ANYWHERE AS ANNUAL


FFULL SUN O REGULAR WATER


Chenopodium


Amaranthaceae ANNUALS AND PERENNIALS


ZZONES VARY BY SPECIES FFULL SUN O REGULAR WATER


Cherimoya,


Custard Apple Annonaceae BRIEFLY DECIDUOUS SHRUB OR TREE


ZZONES 21–24; H1, H2 FFULL SUN O REGULAR WATER


X TOXIC SEEDS CAUSE GASTRIC UPSET


exceptionally fl avorful ‘El Bumpo’, ‘Honeyhart’, ‘Pierce’, ‘McPher- son’ (self-fruitful), and ‘Sabor’ (best fl avor) in California. In Hawaii, where cherimoyas grow best above 1,000 ft., ‘McPher- son’ (also sold as ‘Spain’) is the best choice.


Locate tree where you can


enjoy fragrance. After 4 or 5 years, begin pruning yearly to produce fruiting wood. To ensure fruit set, gather freshly opened fl owers and place in a small jar. Keep in a cool place 12 to 24 hours, by which time the pollen will shed. Use a small paintbrush to polli- nate freshly opened fl owers.


Cherry Rosaceae


DECIDUOUS FRUIT TREES Chenopodium quinoa Chayote


Native to central Mexico, chayote (Sechium edule) plants look like related squashes, though their fl owers are inconspicuous. Each vine can grow 20–30 ft. in the fi rst year, 40–50 ft. in the second. Fruit is 3–8 in. long, green or yellow-green, irregularly oval, grooved, with a large edi- ble seed surrounded by meaty fl esh. Eat young fruit raw or cooked (tastes like summer squash); boil or bake mature fruit. Large, fl eshy tuberous roots can also be eaten, but at the cost of the plant.


CARE


You can start plants from fruit sold in stores (check Latino markets). Buy in fall and let the fruit sprout in a cupboard; then plant in rich soil next to a fence or trellis, which it will climb by tendrils. Set fruit in the ground edgewise and slanted, with the sprouted end at the lowest point, narrow end exposed. If the shoot is long, cut it back to 1–2 in. In mild climates, plant in late winter; in areas where roots may freeze, pot in a 5- gal. container and store in a dark, cool spot until frost danger is past. Tops die down in frost. Bloom starts when day length shortens in fall; fruit is ripe within a month.


Cheiranthus. See Erysimum


Most of these spinach relations are weeds, but some are eaten. Individual fl owers are greenish, insignifi cant. C. album. PIGWEED, LAMB’S QUARTERS. Annual. Zones 1–24. Leaves of this tall, common weed can reach 4 in. long; whitish underneath, smooth pale green above. They can be cooked like spinach. C. ambrosioides. EPAZOTE, MEXICAN TEA. Perennial. Zones 8, 9, 14–24; H1, H2; Zones 1– 7 as annual. Strongly scented leaves to 5 in. long, deeply toothed. Sometimes grown or collected roadside as season- ing for Mexican dishes. C. quinoa. QUINOA. Annual. Zones 1–24, but see below. Pronounced KEEN-wa, quinoa grows to 5 ft. tall and produces dense fl ower and seed clusters. A traditional high-protein Andean grain; resembles sesame seed.


CARE


Plant in late spring and harvest in fall. Needs short days and mild weather to bloom and set seed; takes light frost. After harvest, seeds are rinsed to remove surface bitterness, then cooked like rice. (The saponins in unwashed quinoa trigger an allergic reaction in some peo- ple.) Excellent production in high Rocky Mountain valleys. Strains that yield at low ele- vation are also available.


Cherimoya


Native to the high-elevation American tropics, this small tree (Annona cherimola) yields yellow-green fruits whose cus- tardy fl esh tastes like pineapple crossed with banana. Hardy to about 25°F (–4°C). Grows fast the fi rst 3 to 4 years, then slows, eventually forming a tree 12–15 ft. tall and wide, or 30 ft. unpruned. Leaves are 4–10 in. long, dull green above, velvety- hairy beneath; they drop in late spring, but tree quickly replaces them. Thick, fl eshy, 1-in., hairy brownish or yellow fl owers with a fruity fragrance open for 3 to 4 months beginning around leaf drop. Large fruits weigh 1⁄2–11⁄2 lb., and trees can bear 25 to 100 fruits per year. Harvest fruit in late fall or winter, when it turns yellowish green. Thin, tender skin of most varieties resem- bles short overlapping leaves of artichokes; can be warty. Let fruit mature indoors at room temperature; when ripe, it turns a dull brownish green (some varieties show tan freckles) and yields to gentle pressure like a ripe peach. Refrigerate ripe fruit, which tastes best cold. Creamy white fl esh contains large black seeds and is almost custardlike; eat it with a spoon. Specialty nurseries offer several improved varieties, including


ZZONES VARY BY TYPE FFULL SUN


O REGULAR WATER THROUGH GROWING SEASON


C


‘Sweetheart’ cherries


Both sweet and sour cherries perform well in gardens that have frosty winters and mild to moderate summer tempera- tures. For fl owering cherry trees, see Prunus.


Sweet cherries. The most common market cherries, these are bred from Prunus avium, which is native to Europe, North Africa, and Southwest Asia, and naturalized in North America. They are at their best in Zones 2, 3, 6–9, 14, 15; and they are possible in adjacent zones (except desert). All need many winter hours below 45°F (7°C) to set fruit, so they don’t do well in mild-winter areas of Southern California, the coastal strip, or low desert. Can’t take


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