Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Started harvesting my yacon

My yacon is usually well and truly died down at this time but with the lack of frosts over the last couple of months most of the plants are still green, a bit sad, but still upright.
I need some tubers to sell at the HIRL market at the end of the month so I dug one of the beds that was the most died down. This bed was in full sun over the summer so the plants didn't grow very well and the tubers were small.

 I ended up with only 10 kg of tubers for sale at the market. All the small tubers I left on the growing sets to replant in spring.

Luckily there is not nearly as much splitting of the tubers as there was last year. I think that is because we had more rain in autumn last year.

I had to dig them now, a couple of weeks early to get them sweet so people can eat them immediately. They are not very sweet when you first get them out of the ground.

I have a 60 l bucket of growing sets now that I will keep to replant in spring. They will keep quite happily in this bin until then. I will keep the lid on so rain doesn't get in and rot them.

I still have two beds to dig. One of the beds is poor like this one but the other had shadecloth over it in the summer and the plants did so much better. I expect that I will have a much better harvest from that bed.

At least that will give me something to put on my tables for the next three months.

I love yacon. It is a tuber from the Andes that is eaten raw after peeling. The amber coloured flesh is sweet (after a couple of weeks of outside storage) and crunchy. You can eat it just as it is like I did with a small tuber today, or cut it into chunks and add to salads. I also like to add it to stir-fries for a bit of crunch.
You can also juice them and boil down the juice to get a sweet syrup that you can use as a sweetener.

With the lack of frosts giving the plants an extra long season, some of the plants have flowered and I have managed to collect some seeds. I can't wait to see if they germinate.

Yacon is a great plant for a food garden. It thrives in part shade and is pretty care free, not even having any real pests. You can leave them in the ground if you forget to harvest them in winter and the plants will get even bigger next year. I have one plant I left in from last year and I will blog about the difference when I dig it up next month.
It has lovely big and soft leaves that look great in the garden and is strongly upright so doesn't need staking. I think I will put in 6 beds this coming spring.

I dug a couple of beds today and noticed that there isn't as many worms as there should be for this time of year. I think it is because we still haven't had much rain. With the El Nino supposed to occur over the next few months it is not looking good for enough rain to fill up the subsoil.

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