Some good some bad

Rather later than anticipated I’m reviewing my unusual tuber harvest for last year. I’ve had a few distraction in my life recently, mostly in my shop – creating a “zero waste” facility in a very short timescale thanks to a Zero Waste Scotland grant, but also getting sucked into the Permies.com forums.  I guess the change in the WordPress editor hasn’t helped – I find it much slower to create a post now than it used to.

I actually dug the Yacon in the polytunnel on 22 January, and a few days later outside. By the start of February we had a prolonged spell of freezing weather and the temperatures got down to about -8 degrees Celsius. This is unusually cold for here and I have lost several other plants to the cold. Annoyingly this included some newly purchased ones that I had left outside the polytunnel without thinking that they would have been better off inside. It can’t have been that cold in the polytunnel, since the pond remained frost free. This at the same time as the river was frozen.

Yacon flowers 2020

The Yacon all seemed to grow pretty well last year.  All were at least at tall as me, although not heading for the sky outside.  Several had mulitple stems and all the new ones developed some lovely flowers like tiny sunflowers. The different varieties flowered at different times, so it is unlikely I will get viable seeds, see Cultivariable . I had the following harvest of tubers:

Yaon New Zealand 2020

New Zealand:
Plant1: 1500g
Plant2: 3775g
Plant3: 1750g

Yacon Morado 2020

Morado:
Plant1: 1875g
Plant2: 350g (this one got stem rot early in the summer and the upper growth remained poor)
Plant3: 1750g
Plant4: 2600g (this one only one with broken tubers)

White std: I seem to have mislaid my harvest information, but I remember it was a bit less than the other two.

Yacon after peeling, (L-R Original, NZ, Morado)

All the NZ plants had some broken tubers with splits. The original white plants seemed to vary quite a a lot in yeild and tuber quality. The Morado tubers have the darkest colour skin, and the flesh is also slightly orange in colour. The New Zealand is more uneven in colour and the tubers are white under the skin. I found that the flavour of the original ones were the sweetest, and the tuber sizes on the Morado and New Zealand were larger, as was the yield. The plants outside did much less well, none of them had tubers of any great size, none bigger than a fat finger perhaps.

Some of the tubers did not store too well. I think that they were rather damp and cold when they came in and they got some mould developing on the skins. Surprisingly though I still have a few that appear perfect.  The last one I tried though had a slight off taste, so I think I wil compost the rest.

I have also harvested the mashua from the polytunnel. This seems to have been quite happy last year despite not having had any attention, and I got a fair amount of tubers from the plants.  It didn’t flower at all though. I left some nice tubers adjacent to the polytunnel side in situ to regrow this year and they survived the cold snap and are growing away nicely. I made some chutney with most of the tubers, the spicy flavour goes well in my standard chutney recipe, although I think next time I will reduce the cinnamon and cloves.

So much for the good – now for the bad.

I did not harvest the oca before the hard frosts…..

frosted oca tubers
Digging frosted tubers

I had carefully planted out my different coloured oca harvested from last year in the pallet garden, so that I could grow out and compare the different tubers for taste and yeild. They grew away pretty well and flowered last year. Unfortunately almost all the tubers got frosted. They develop just under the surface (in fact some were on top of the ground surface and were eaten by birds, mice or slugs….) and were not deep enough to escape damage. All the tubers were pale and soft. Only a very few tubers that were closest to the pallet seem to have escaped the frost.  I didn’t have results therefore for yield or flavour comparison, I had just a few tubers to plant this year and only one seems to be sprouting in its pot. However, I have several offers of new tubers for next year so will start again.  Maybe the one survivor is more frost tolerant, time might tell…

8 thoughts on “Some good some bad

  1. Nice to see you on WordPress again.

    I go through phases on reading Permies.com but don’t enjoy reading on screens, especially now I have to do everything on a screen for my work.

    Anyway, fantastic news about the grant and the zero waste facility in your shop. It’s great that this facility is becoming increasingly available.

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    1. Thanks Helen, it’s good to have finished that post too. I’m not sure whether I will be back for good though, I really dislike the new editing interface, although there is still plenty more to write about.
      I’m enjoying it on the Permies forums, and am getting deeper in. There is quite a bit of good information there, although being US focused much is not relevant although sometimes eyeopening! I like the ‘be nice’ rule which makes it pleasant to post there.
      As regards the shop, we are busier than ever this year (as we have been throughout the current pandemic). I have to admit I wouldn’t have been able to put in the zero waste area without the grant from Zero Waste Scotland. It’s been a lot of work, but seems to be going OK. It’s nice to be able to offer more packaging free options for our customers

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      1. I think we all enjoy different platforms for different reasons. I blog from an app on my phone, which seems a lot more straightforward than through the web on a computer.

        It would be nice if more British/Europeans posted on permies.com. The North American perspectives are interesting and it is still possible to both empathise and learn but, for example, the climate in Texas is so massively different from what I’m dealing with (apart from the need for irrigation in a normal year perhaps), I can but be a fly on the wall in such situations.

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      2. Hm..maybe I should download the app for my tablet, but I don’t use that for photos because the screen is not good outside, so I’d have to still swap between platforms, since the photos are uploaded to the PC. I already tend to use the tablet for writing, (even though it is a two finger touchscreen job and I’m always having to correct mistypings) because I like to do it at breakfast and whilst having a cup of tea at table, or on the sofa of an evening.
        Yes the Pacific North West is much more similar. There are also a couple of posters from the Himalayas which can also be pretty similar.

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  2. Congrats on the grant and happy to see you back! I was feeling proud that my seedling potatoes were doing well but look at you! And yes, the WP editor is horrible but you do get used to it.

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