Sunday, February 22, 2015

My Andean vegetable plans

This is an extention of one of my posts on a gardening and backyard plant breeding forum ( putting together my plans for my Andean vegetables for this year. I have added pictures and more text which wasn't in the original post

Oca - I only have a couple of dozen seedling plants, and another 7 from last year to start selecting from but since that is about 30 more than have been available in Australia up until now so I will have something new to introduce to my customers next year. I am just trying to get some choice for people here for now and then I will start selecting for myself and my interests. We have only had two colours in Aus up till now and one of those does not have enough heat tolerance to grow here well.
Although my originals flowered profusely last year I didn't get any seed and usually they don't flower much here.
I have stumbled on the perfect way to grow out the seedlings in the first year - pricking them out into pots and digging the pots into the ground in one of my covered veggie beds. Some of the young plants are almost as big as the outdoor plants from last year, and I will get a heap of bigger tubers than the mini tubers you usually get in the first year.

Achocha - I really don't like the taste and texture of these but I grow a few each year for seed in case anyone asks. Picture on the right

Ahipa - won't grow where I live so I have given up on it. The summers are too hot and intense.

Achira - I actually like these rhizomes though I don't eat them much as it is much easier to eat potatoes, lol. I will continue to grow it but have not collected seed from it so far. They are closely related to garden canna lilies.

Arracacha - I have been trying to drought stress my plants to produce seed but having no luck. My offsets take easily and I have never lost one but I have had no luck getting them to produce roots large enough to be edible. I now have them in a polytunnel to see if the more stable temps will help with that.

Maca - doesn't grow here well.

Potato - I am going to try growing a few more from true seed this year. I have difficulty getting seed to set here so I might have to try and buy some in.

Yacon - Can't get seeds from them but they grow well and I am happy with what I have. There is little chance I will be able to source other varieties.

Vegetable Amaranth - sells well at the markets since I have introduced it to my customers. I love it.

Yautia - grows well here and I am intending to find out if I can get my plants to flower. The amount of edible tuber to plant size is small which is disappointing. I now have enough plants that I can eat one this coming winter to try it out. After a bit of early trouble I can now get every offset to survive so I can build up numbers.

You can see here a picture of the edible rhizome which starts to grow as the plant produces offsets at the base.

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