Sunday, April 28, 2013

Checking the perennial winter root crops

With the winter coming up fast I decided to check on how a couple of the root crops are going. The Chinese artichokes are starting to make tubers. I really like the crunch of these in stir-fries, or even raw in salads. They have a crunchy, slightly sweet texture and taste.

The tubers are still very small but they will grow quite a bit over the next few weeks, only stopping when the plant is killed down by frost. They grow to about the size of a thumb.

You have to be careful with these as they spread in good soil and can become invasive to some extent. I find them pretty inoffensive and a run over with chooks will sort them out as the tubers are set just under the surface and scratchable. The plant itself is a low groundcover.

I dug up one of the three Jicama plants that survived the summer and was surprised to see that it had made a tuber, a very tiny one, but an effort nontheless. They have only grown for a month since it was too hot in summer for them to grow more than a few cm in size so having a tuber at all is great.
I will replant it and it might produce a couple of offshoot tubers next year.
I was very surprised at how deep the tubers are under the ground. You have to use a spade rather than your hands to get to them.

I will wait till the Ahipa have completely died down before trying to find tubers under them.

I keep swearing that I will not grow Globe Artichokes anymore since they take up so much room for so little food but I just can't help myself. The artichokes had started sprouting again so I divided them and replanted. Maybe next summer I will pull them all out *sigh*.
At least they make good shade for other plants.

 In other news, I had a visit today from some new friends who came to check out my block and what I am growing. I really enjoyed the visit and am very curious to go to their place and have a stickybeak. They are trying to become as self sufficient as they can and I admire that. People with that kind of passion are a pleasure to learn off. I must try to get over there (to Heywood) sometime in the next couple of months.

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