Chokos and the ‘look-alike’ noxious Moth Plant pest – which have you got?

Chokos and the ‘look-alike’ noxious Moth Plant pest – which have you got?

It’s choko time again! A-n-d the pest moth plant is fruiting too. As the seeds of moth plant are apparently poisonous, please know a real choko from the poisonous alternative.

So how to tell the delicious choko from the look-alike noxious moth plant?!

Which is choko and which is Moth Plant?

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Moth Plant fruit
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Choko fruit

 

The fruit look ‘sorta similar’ from the outside so people can easily confuse the two. Yet the leaves, flowers and seeds are different. 

Here’s how:

The Leaves

Choko

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Choko leaves are similar to grape vine leaves, whereas Moth Plant leaves are different.

Moth Plant:

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Moth Plant leaves and fruit

The Fruits

Choko fruit cut in half. One seed in the middle of the fruit.

 

 

Moth Plant fruit cut in half – showing the many, many seeds in a clump in the center.

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See also the flesh is different – harder, and has a milky sap which can be really irritating so best to not touch it at all [if you must pick this plant, use gloves].

 

The Seeds

The single seed of the choko sprouts a little root and shoot from the fruit to grow one new plant.

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Whereas the Moth Plant fruit produces millions of fluffy seeds as it splits the old, shriveled fruit [so its also called ‘kapok plant’] to fly on the wind far and wide.

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The flowers

Chokos have 2 types of flowers – the little white-petaled  male ones grow in a long group. The female one [which  forms the fruit we eat] is a single one and hangs from a stalk on the small end of the fruit.

 

 

Moth Plant flowers look very different:

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Moth plant fruit hangs from a stalk on the fat end of the fruit.

Here’s a link to a Wikipedia article on Moth Plant [also known as Kapok plant, Common moth vine, Cruel vine, and White bladder] for more info.  Also, here’s a Weed Busters article.

 

I hope this post makes clear the difference between the delicious, edible choko and the noxious, pest Moth Plant.

 

For more about the delicious chokos:

See the post for how we grow the plants and also for recipes using the fruits too.

 

Enjoy!

 

 

Take time out from sowing seeds until after 24th March

Take time out from sowing seeds until after 24th March

Take time out from sowing seeds from Monday 16th March 2020 until after the dark of the moon on Tuesday 24th March 2020. As the moon nears its smallest visible ‘dark of the moon’ phase, this time is associated with spindly, weak growth – wait a week or so.

Do other things instead.

Such as enjoy autumn flowers and seeds in the garden. Or check out what seeds you can save from plants that did well this year.

 If your weather is cold, maybe its a time to:

  • Build a new compost bin – this is a time when lots of annual plants die and are ready to be composted. Big ‘clean-up’ time in our garden.
  • renovate garden beds ready for their next plantings.
  • read up on this next season and seed types to plant for success – they all have their favorite times. Autumn can give great results for sowings.
  • learn more about the optimum conditions to grow GREAT crops of your favorite veg or fruit
  • Plan your next seed sowing, your garden layout, or crop rotation to minimize pest and diseases.

A-N-D the Autumn Equinox occurs on Friday 20th MArch 2020 at 4.50 pm in NZ. When day length equals night length. Then as each day is a little bit shorter and each night a little longer, there is less sunlight for plant growth.

 

May you and your garden flourish
Heather

 

PS

For more ideas about what to sow and when in NZ, have a look at http://gardenate.com

PPS:

For more about planting by the  moon phases,

If you like experiments about when to plant for best results, a great one is to plant the same seeds in rows right beside each other [so all other conditions are identical], and label the rows with the date of planting. Then sow seeds from 1 packet at weekly intervals, each week in a new row.

This way you can see how the recommendations for best/worst seed sowing outcomes from moon-planting guides work for you. Maybe they do, and maybe they don’t.

I enjoy experimenting with such ideas – and if only I can rescue the rows from the snails and black-birds, I might even get some results to share!

Here’s a post I wrote about planting by the moon phases if you like more information and reflections on it.

Moon planting guides remind me to plant SOMETHING, plan a little, and help me have a continuous supply!

 

 —

Sow below-ground crops after 10th March

Sow below-ground crops after 10th March

Recommended best days for sowing seeds to grow great root crops are

Wednesday 11th March through to Saturday 14th March 2020 

Often planting charts talk generally of sowing these seeds during the week after the full moon – which will be on Tuesday 10th March 2020.

Down-under, if you have cooler weather, and moist soil then you have a good possibility to grow good root crops now. Here in south Auckland we’ve not yet had good rain so the ground needs to soak up water before I’m confident to sow small seeds.

There’s time to put in some carrots – I prefer Egmont Gold as it is less affected by carrot fly.

Also beetroot, daikons, radish, parsnip, etc.

Garlic

Garlic can be planted from now with good results. We’ll prepare some areas and start putting the crop in from now onward until the shortest day.

Some years we’ve had great success with this crop – to read how we grew great garlic, go here.

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We’ll choose the biggest bulbs, with the biggest cloves to replant first. The bigger the seed clove, the bigger the food store for the new seedling so it has the best start to grow big and strong.

Then we’ll save the large cloves from smaller bulbs to also plant. [And eat the smaller cloves]

May you and your garden flourish
Heather

 

PS

For more ideas about what to sow and when in NZ, have a look at http://gardenate.com

PPS

For more about planting by the  moon phases,

If you like experiments about when to plant for best results, a great one is to plant the same seeds in rows right beside each other [so all other conditions are identical], and label the rows with the date of planting. Then sow seeds from 1 packet at weekly intervals, each week in a new row.

This way you can see how the recommendations for best/worst seed sowing outcomes from moon-planting guides work for you. Maybe they do, and maybe they don’t.

I enjoy experimenting with such ideas – and if only I can rescue the rows from the snails and black-birds, I might even get some results to share!

Here’s a post I wrote about planting by the moon phases if you like more information and reflections on it.

Moon planting guides remind me to plant SOMETHING, plan a little, and help me have a continuous supply!

Sow seeds for fruits, flowers and seeds before 10th March

Sow seeds for fruits, flowers and seeds before 10th March

Autumn in New Zealand – go for it – sow lots now!

It’s time we can sow seeds for optimum growth of fruits, flowers and seeds this week,

especially Thursday 5th and Friday 15th March 2020 

Before the full moon on Tuesday 10th March 2020.

Down-under, here in New Zealand, the ground is warm and seeds germinate quickly. Good rain? When the ground is quite moist again – hooray!

If you haven’t already planted these and have them growing strongly, another sowing can be good still.

We can still sow seeds throughout the week of

  • beans – if we are lucky [I sow direct and put out snail bait or surround them with plastic cut-off bottles to protect from snails and slugs which love baby seedling legumes]. ‘Prince’ dwarf variety is good to grow now at the end of the season.  Also worth trying other dwarf beans you like. These are purple tee pee and a butter bean.Beans 20170111
  •  Peas! Maybe it’s time to plant peas again now – they like it cooler so will crop when the cooler weather arrives.  Plant the seeds 3x diameter of the seed to keep them down where the soil will be moister than near the surface where they could still dry out. All sorts of peas – snow peas, sugar snap peas, shelling peas. Our favorites are sugar snap peas.
  • Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, brussel-sprouts, etc
  • Flowers – check requirements as they will be in their seedling stage as weather is still  variable – some like it hot, some don’t. Keep them moist. Now we can plant flowers which will over-winter – different types to spring planting. Such as sweet peas! 2013-11-24 08.30.01-1

This week the moon is growing towards full and the days listed are when many aspects line up to give optimum good germination for strong seedlings. Worth a try I think.

May the weather support growing great plants! 
Cheers
Heather

PS:

For more about planting by the  moon phases,

If you like experiments about when to plant for best results, a great one is to plant the same seeds in rows right beside each other [so all other conditions are identical], and label the rows with the date of planting. Then sow seeds from 1 packet at weekly intervals, each week in a new row.

This way you can see how the recommendations for best/worst seed sowing outcomes from moon-planting guides work for you. Maybe they do, and maybe they don’t.

I enjoy experimenting with such ideas – and if only I can rescue the rows from the snails and black-birds, I might even get some results to share!

Here’s a post I wrote about planting by the moon phases if you like more information and reflections on it.

Moon planting guides remind me to plant SOMETHING, plan a little, and help me have a continuous supply!

It’s time to sow seeds of leafy greens after Monday 24th Feb 2020

It’s time to sow seeds of leafy greens after Monday 24th Feb 2020

As we move from Summer into Autumn, it’s time to sow seeds for luscious, tender leafy greens – and best days are:

  • Tuesday 25th February 
  • and again Saturday 29th February [Happy Leap Year!] and Sunday 1st March 2020 [here in New Zealand]

After the heat of summer, the move into March signals to plants that days are getting shorter, weather has less heat overall and its:

Time to grow lovely tender greens again – much more easily than through summer.

Let’s hope for good germination!  I will sow seeds of

  • Lettuce – I left many varieties to seed so hopefully some will do well no matter what the weather does this year – hot/dry/cold/wet.
  • Silver-beet [including rainbow chard/ bright light beets – the ones with vibrant colored stems – so stunning to see in a garden] we left to seed in the garden and they are sprouting up now
  • Rocket [Arugula] is tasty rather than bitter at this time. We plant 2 types – the large leaf annual and the stronger, smaller-leaf perennial rocket [some are even coming up self-sown now – wonderful]
  • Mustard greens, or the giant red mustard is pretty nice early in the season before the heat of summer adds too much pepper bite. [also appearing on their own now]
  • Asian greens [assorted] – here they grow well in the cooler months – they grow so fast! We have Mizuna self-seeding. We grow 2 types – an ordinary green one as well as the deep red one – stunning in the garden [for a short time]
  • Endive  We grow 2 types – a broader leaf variety and a lovely fine, frilly variety. They are lovely and tender in cooler months so we enjoy them now. Both grow more slowly than lettuce. [and are appearing themselves now – we left a lot to seed last year]
  • cilantro [leaf coriander] -maybe it will grow lovely leaves rather than bolting to seed now!

This is a great time to have leafy greens grow well – they love cooler, wetter times.

Enjoy delightful salads with a range of leaf types in these cooler months.

May the weather support growing great plants! 
Cheers
Heather

PS:

For more about planting by the  moon phases,

If you like experiments about when to plant for best results, a great one is to plant the same seeds in rows right beside each other [so all other conditions are identical], and label the rows with the date of planting. Then sow seeds from 1 packet at weekly intervals, each week in a new row.

This way you can see how the recommendations for best/worst seed sowing outcomes from moon-planting guides work for you. Maybe they do, and maybe they don’t.

I enjoy experimenting with such ideas – and if only I can rescue the rows from the snails and black-birds, I might even get some results to share!

Here’s a post I wrote about planting by the moon phases if you like more information and reflections on it.

Moon planting guides remind me to plant SOMETHING, plan a little, and help me have a continuous supply!

Take time out from sowing seeds until after the 3rd July

Take time out from sowing seeds until after the 3rd July

Take time out from sowing seeds until after the dark of the moon on Wednesday 3rd July 2019. As the moon nears its smallest visible ‘dark of the moon’ phase, this time is associated with spindly, weak growth – wait a week or so.

Do other things instead.

  • Have a big ‘clean-up’ time! Build a new compost bin – this is a time when lots of annual plants die and are ready to be composted – a great mix with the carbon from leaves fallen to the ground and some grass clippings or manure.
  • Renovate garden beds ready for their next plantings and give them a covering of leaves over some compost and other nutrients. Stops weeds growing and soil washing away in heavy rain as well as giving the worms and other soil life protection from the cold winter weather.
  • Make some lovely leaf mold from any fallen leaves still around -great for potting mixes in spring.
  • A-n-d – to save seeds of your best plants when the seeds are fully formed and brown/black or otherwise matured so they will keep well. Dry thoroughly and I find winter is a great time to sort the good from the rest, package, label and store them for next season. They are a promise that vibrant, lush growth can happen even when I see cold winter surrounds with dead-looking leafless trees and bushes.

Happy gardening everyone!

May you and your garden flourish
Heather

PS

For more ideas about what to sow and when in NZ, have a look at Tui Planting calendar or at http://gardenate.com    [although I disagree with some of the recommendations as Auckland really is more temperate than sub-tropical we have found]

PPS:

For more about planting by the  moon phases,

If you like experiments about when to plant for best results, a great one is to plant the same seeds in rows right beside each other [so all other conditions are identical], and label the rows with the date of planting. Then sow seeds from 1 packet at weekly intervals, each week in a new row.

This way you can see how the recommendations for best/worst seed sowing outcomes from moon-planting guides work for you. Maybe they do, and maybe they don’t.

I enjoy experimenting with such ideas – and if only I can rescue the rows from the snails and black-birds, I might even get some results to share!

Here’s a post I wrote about planting by the moon phases if you like more information and reflections on it.

Moon planting guides remind me to plant SOMETHING, plan a little, and help me have a continuous supply!

 —

Sow below-ground crops after 19th May

Sow below-ground crops after 19th May

Recommended best days for sowing seeds to grow great root crops are

Wednesday 22nd May to Thursday 23rd May 2019. 

Often planting charts talk generally of sowing these seeds during the week after the full moon – which will be on Sunday 19th May 2019.

Here in south Auckland the ground is moist. I think it’s late to put seeds in, but hey, it could be worth a try! Maybe a plastic cover for warmth and protection?

Carrots, beetroot, daikons, radish, parsnip, etc?

Instead, it’s time to plant bulbs of garlic, onions, shallots and seedlings of leeks and friends. [Allium group, or onion family, of plants]

Garlic

Garlic can be planted  now until the shortest day with good results. We plant into prepared areas – well supplied with compost and rock dust.

Some years we’ve had great success with this crop – to read how we grew great garlic, go here.

20161207_171407

We’ll choose the biggest bulbs, with the biggest cloves to replant first. The bigger the seed clove, the bigger the food store for the new seedling so it has the best start to grow big and strong.

Then we’ll save the large cloves from smaller bulbs to also plant. [And eat the smaller cloves]

May you and your garden flourish
Heather

 

PS

For more ideas about what to sow and when in NZ, have a look at Tui Planting calendar or at http://gardenate.com    [although I disagree with some of the recommendations as Auckland really is more temperate than sub-tropical we have found]

 

PPS

For more about planting by the  moon phases,

If you like experiments about when to plant for best results, a great one is to plant the same seeds in rows right beside each other [so all other conditions are identical], and label the rows with the date of planting. Then sow seeds from 1 packet at weekly intervals, each week in a new row.

This way you can see how the recommendations for best/worst seed sowing outcomes from moon-planting guides work for you. Maybe they do, and maybe they don’t.

I enjoy experimenting with such ideas – and if only I can rescue the rows from the snails and black-birds, I might even get some results to share!

Here’s a post I wrote about planting by the moon phases if you like more information and reflections on it.

Moon planting guides remind me to plant SOMETHING, plan a little, and help me have a continuous supply!