Friday, April 18, 2014

Looking at my banana yucca and chufa

It was a bit drizzly today but I still got a bit of weeding and digging done. The photos for today were taken yesterday which is why it looks sunny.
I am enjoying these days of Autumn before it gets cold.

 My banana yucca plants (Yucca baccata) are now three years old and still this size. I can't find any info on growth rates or when they start to fruit on the internet but I did expect that they would be bigger by now. I am looking forward to trying the fruit.

I did have 12 plants but a few died when I followed the general growing advice on a couple of websites that tell you not to water them except in periods of extreme dry and heat. I found that they respond better to the regular watering and care that I give all my plants. As with many desert plants I have tried this is the case. I only have 8 plants left.

It is native to North America (I am getting quite a selection of US native food plants now) and the fruits are reputed to be sweet, large and edible raw or roasted. When baked they are supposed to taste like potatoes. The roots contain saponin and can be used as a natural soap.

One of the problems I am going to have with them when I eventually get a lot of these plants (as long as the fruit is worth it) is that they are pollinated by a specific insect so I will have to go around hand pollinating them. I have no idea yet if this is an easy or difficult job.

In otehr news. my chufa plants are starting to die down and have produced mounds of the small tubers under and on top of the base of the plants. It certainly makes them easy to harvest.
I think I will get to them in the next few days. I am going to get more tubers than I thought so that is a plus, I am happy.

I would like to try a larger tubered type that I have heard about, but haven't been able to find a source so I will have to be happy with these. At least they are easy to handle, even if they are small.



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