Thursday, January 15, 2015

Bambara beans and oca seedlings

Before I get on to the vegetable stuff I have to show my little niece a picture of the cake I made yesterday.

On the phone she announced to me that she had dubbed the day 'Lion Day' and since her mum had made her a lion cake I had to do the same, a chocolate lion cake.
Of course I took the lazy way out so instead of icing the whole cake I just drew an icing lion face on it but it was delicious.

I promised that I would take a picture of it so here it is.

I am having another go at growing bambara beans from Africa this year. Last year they were a disaster but I hope that I can at least get a few seeds off them this time.
The plants are still not much bigger than last year, around 15cm tall and even though I read that they do best in poor, infertile soil the ones I am growing in the better soil are doing better than the ones in nearly pure sand.
I was only able to procure a few seeds so I have only 8 plants but they are just starting to flower now (see the little yellow flowers at the base of the plant) so I hope that I will get plenty of pods. The pods grow like peanuts, after flowering the flower stems grow down into the soil where the pods develop.
These beans are reputed to be so nutritious that you can live on them so I hope I can get them growing well with some more practice.

 To make room in my little propagating shadehouse I have placed all my seedling oca pots out in a empty covered bed. I have dug in the pots to protect them from heat and drying out.
I have a lot better germination this year from the seed that I got, a lot of crosses of the growers varieties. I should get a good mix of interesting plants to choose from.

When I plant the mini tubers from these seedlings out in beds next spring they will self select for heat tolerance and I will also be able to select the best growers for my climate.

The plants from last years seedlings are doing very well. I lost two types from the heat but the rest are coping with the heat even better than the original varieties that are normally available in Australia. I am very pleased with that.

I still have a heap of tiny seedlings that will go into individual pots when they are big enough to prick out.

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