Yacon and on, and on..

From this:

Yacon growing tips as received from Real Seeds

to this:

One month old yacon plants

in less than a month. Eek. We might have to move house.

We were a bit sceptical about the growing tips (surely you can see why from the top picture) even though Real Seeds has never let us down, but we followed the advice to pot them up right away and as our house is not particularly warm or draft free house we put the pots in the propagator as space was freed up from chillis and tomatoes. As soon as the green tips showed, we moved them out and gave them as much light as possible (as advised by Simon Hickmott’s Growing Unusual Vegetables, a dangerous book to have near an internet connection if ever there was one). They’re now spending daytimes in the greenhouse and nights in the kitchen (who needs work surfaces anyway?).

Three of the tubers actually have two growing tips on them (bottom left plant in the top picture) so yesterday my better half took a division from one of the plants, potting it up on its own, and leaving the main plant in the original pot.  It drooped a little at first but perked up and can only be interesting.  A maths conundrum..if we didn’t really have room for five yacon plants, how are we going to find space for six?…

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7 thoughts on “Yacon and on, and on..

  1. Karen says:

    Crikey – I had to go and Google Yacon – never heard of it before.
    Looks very err … interesting.
    Regards
    Karen

  2. MissFuggles says:

    Hi Karen – thanks for visiting – “Err…interesting” is definitely one way to put it! We are slightly worried about the fact that the plant gets its sweetness from inulin, which is also found in quantity in Jerusalem artichokes. Being a lady (I am, honest) (sometimes) I won’t go in to why that might not be a good thing. However asking around I heard lots of good things about the taste and a few weeks ago on the BBC programme Gardeners’ World there was a feature about unusual edibles which described it as like a particularly pleasant pear (hence one of its pseudonyms, poire de terre, I assume).

    There’s some really good information on Bifurcated Carrots and In The Toad’s Garden if you’d like to know more:

    http://toads.wordpress.com/2008/01/18/yacon-crown-in-january
    http://www.patnsteph.net/weblog/?p=304
    http://toads.wordpress.com/2007/11/02/yacon-sweet-treat-from-the-andes/

    (Especially good photos on the last one)

  3. Patrick says:

    The taste is really nice, sweet juicy and crunchy. It’s best eaten raw, only peeled.

    It does take a lot of space in the garden. I don’t know what Real Seeds suggests, but I’m told it need 90cm in all directions.

  4. Seahorse says:

    You’re ahead of me! 🙂 Good to see someone else having success with it though – mine are in my ‘greenhouse within a greenhouse’, so I hope they’re warm enough.

  5. Kate says:

    I have some in my garden too. They are tall but not particularly wide. In fact they are better grown close together to support each other. I don’t bother with peeling – just dig up , wash off and eat raw. Very much like a nashi (a crunchy japanese pear) and the skin is like a thin pear skin – insignificant. Good luck. Soon I will dig some up and put something about them on my blog. Mine have been attacked several times by snails (I think) and completely decimated before I noticed. Each time they have bounced back before almost dying of heat exhaustion, again before I noticed! (They are in a distant corner of the garden). Still, now they look as good as gold. Very hardy, it seems.

  6. Kate says:

    ps Mine have round, white corms,about the size of a tennis ball or a bit smaller, not the long, pink ones in the Toad’s garden’s photos! Interesting.

  7. MissFuggles says:

    Patrick – thanks for your tips, I’m looking forward to trying it even more. I have heard good things about it dried, too..but better not count my chickens before they’ve tuberised (hmmm).

    Seahorse – I think we have pushed ours a little, because the tubers looked so vulnerable that we wanted to give them every chance possible. We’re ferrying them in and out of the greenhouse every day and they seem happy enough – I know the Simon Hickmott book warns against giving them too much warmth and not enough light so I think you may do better than ours in the end!

    Kate – thanks very much for your tips, I’m going to double check the growing notes the supplier provided, books and other bloggers that have grown it (Bifurcated Carrots and In the Toad’s Garden) before we get around to planting it out – there seems to be quite a few different strains around, do you know where yours came from? The tip about the snails is welcome, especially – I will be out there with a sharp stick and scissors!

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