Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Harvesting water chestnuts today

Brrrr, I am not used to the chilliness that comes from being close to winter so today I have been rugged up in a coat, beanie and scarf - not really any different from normal to those who know me. It has been beautifully showering lightly for much of the day.

Between showers I went out to harvest my water chestnuts. I had been experimenting with them in plastic 45 litre tubs to see if they were worth growing that way. Only two tubs grew chestnuts but that was my fault with the soil I think.

 The leaves had died down a few weeks ago so I thought it was about time to have a look. They had certainly filled up the tubs (I had put only one tuber in each tub).
 I tipped them out and was very disappointed in the size of the tubers and especially the yield. I was expecting to harvest around 1.5kg of tubers from each tub but I ended up with only 400g from one and 280g from the other.
I will try them again in the spring but am guessing that I will have to add more manure next time. The soil mix I used here was too sandy, an even mix of compost, garden soil and sand. I think that a heavier and more fertile soil will up the harvest.

I was hoping for some bigger tubers also but this is the size I got. I did peel, cook (microwaved) and ate one though and it was delicious. 500% MUCH better than canned and tasted like artichoke hearts - I am going to have to find out why so many foods, especially unusual foods, taste like artichoke. It is beginning to be a curious puzzle.

I have a few ideas for getting a bigger harvest next year so this year wasn't much of a waste.

I also managed to do some other work between rain showers like thinning and replanting the thinnings of a bed of celtuce and weeding a couple of other beds. Not too bad for such a miserable day.

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