Saturday, December 7, 2013

Queen Fabiola bulbs and Chinese yams

Although it got quite warm later in the day, and it is still 27c outside now, I managed to get a lot of weeding done this morning. It looks like I am finally getting on top of the weeds in places, lol. At least as summer progresses all the weeds will die off and it will look neat and tidy again, at least for a while.

You may remember that I have a bed of Brodiaea laxa 'Queen Fabiola' planted in the back block to see how it goes as an edible crop. These are a native North American bulb that is sold in stores as a garden ornamental.
They are starting to die off now, they die off as they flower, and I will soon be able to lift and store them.

I was impressed at their production with every bulb I planted producing about 8 offsets so it won't be long till I will have enough to sell. 

I found that the bulbs grow about twice the size if I pick of the flower stems early as you can see in this picture which is handy to know as they aren't that big anyway.

When I have more to take up I will do a taste test though from what I have read they are tasty both raw and cooked.

 My Chinese yams are not growing quite as fast as I expected but they are healthy looking and at least they are alive.
Last year I planted them in two raised beds but the summer burnt them off when they were tiny and they didn't regrow so I thought they had died. I planted a couple more that I had in pots but then the ones from last year decided to poke their shoots up so I have three in each bed.
I may still have to shade them somehow for the worst part of summer next month as they seem to prefer a bit of shade in the afternoon.

Even if the tubers are too much of a bother I have read that they produce tons of stem tubules which are edible and I can always use these instead. I planted them in the raised bed so I can just separate the halves to get at the roots as they are so fragile. As my soil is so sandy and light I probably could plant them out in the ground but I will try them in the raised beds.

The last Sandford market for the year is tomorrow so I have just come in from picking snow peas, broad beans and vivid choi. I am also taking a few tuberous vegetables in pots as they have to be planted out and if they don't sell they will just be discarded.
Next Sat is the last Hamilton market so I will be picking the last of the broad beans then and then pulling the plants. I think even the Mount Gambier markets have a holiday in Jan so I may not have any more markets till Feb unless I can find one I don't usually go to.

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