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thank you for the add! I recently moved back to florida from NC and I"m happy to be here! ... See MoreSee Less

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ATTENTION PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE VOLUNTEERS.......

WE NEED 3 VOLUNTEERS TO WORK AT NEXT WEDNESDAY'S FARMER'S MARKET IN DOWNTOWN GAINESVILLE.

We start at 1:30 loading up plants and everything else we need. Arrive no later than 3:00 to setup and begin selling from 4 -7pm. We leave at 7 and head back to unload what is left. This counts towards getting plants in exchange for hours. Just think of all the fun you can have and meet lots of new people! If interested please call 352-222-2489.
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We all had a great time on Sunday with the women from Sigma Sigma Rho. Thank you Ladies for coming and helping out!
We also want to thank the volunteers that came out on their own and pitched right in.

If we continue to have volunteer groups or individuals come out several Sundays every month then the Edible Plant Project will thrive like never before. We need your help to continue to succeed and don't forget, for every 2 hours you work you receive an edible plant!
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Thank you for the add to this group. I will do my best on every visit to help others grow ... See MoreSee Less

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Chaya

Chaya or spinach tree or Tree Spinach (Cnidoscolus chayamansa) is actually about twice as nutritious as spinach. It is a good source of nutrients including protein, calcium, iron, potassium, and vitamin C. It is a fast growing dense shrub, native to Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula. It grows to about 6-8 feet tall.

Soil: Tolerates most soil conditions, but might dislike acid. Liming and fertilizing should benefit Chaya. The leaves contain a lot of protein, calcium, and potassium, so the soil must have it for the plant to extract, if it is to be healthy. (Nitrogen to make protein)
Water: well to somewhat well drained. Tolerates brief flooding and droughts
Sun: full is best, tolerates shade
Cold: Can be killed by a hard freeze, but will usually resprout from the roots. Mulch the base to protect it.
Pruning: Unnecessary, but sometimes used to control height. Crowded internal branches can be removed for propagation or aesthetics.
Propagation: Easily propagated by stem cuttings.
Pests: none
Other problems: It can be slow to get going.

Harvesting, storage, and preparation: Most recommendations say not to harvest until the second year, because the plants are slow to establish before they can grow quickly. Our plants seem to take very quickly to our special potting mix. Never harvest more than 50% of the leaves, except from stems cut for propagation. Leaves must be cooked to release cyanide, which evaporates. Apparently aluminum cookware can cause a diarrhea-causing reaction with the cyanide compounds when cooking. We are not sure if this is true. On principle it’s wise to cook all fruits and vegetables in non-aluminum pans because of their high acidity.
chaya1small-copychaya21

More photos on Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/search?sort=relevance&text=Cnidoscolus%20chayamansa

More information, including recipes:

http://thematrix.sureste.com/cityview/merida2/articulos/chaya.htm

pdf – Chaya Information Sheet
(to print out)


3 comments to Chaya

  • Brian

    Hey everyone,
    So, I planted on of these at the Health Department in Belle Glade ~2 years ago. It’s about 5-6 ft now. I have not tried this until this weekend. I boiled it 2x, then I added them to some mashed potatoes. Not bad.

    For some reason, our ECHO link doesn’t work. This does.

    http://echotech.org/mambo/images/DocMan/Chaya07.pdf

    FYI for nutrition
    http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/proceedings1996/V3-516.html

  • Natalie L.

    I have one for 3 to 4 years that i started from cutting. it just grow by itself in poor sandy soil and part shade with very little watering. I use it like cooked spinach or collards greens and add in in soup or curry. tolarate light frost, drought.

  • Jeanne Ridings Delacruz

    A friend gave me a plant, 12 inches long. I planted in poor soil but building it up. It grew to 6 feet. The branches easily break. I just make a hole and plant them all over, here and there. So far 4 are growing. They do not take much room and are delicious. I mix my greens and cook in coconut milk and spices, so good. Thank you for the pictures and the name. I did not know. The samoan people love this and eat a lot. Aloha from hawaii Jeanne

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