Yacons

Friday was absolutely glorious. But sadly I didn’t spend anytime in the garden it was an office day for me.

Saturday started out sunny, you can see that by the pic of the beach taken in the morning, hard to believe it rained again in the afternoon!

I mentioned to Andrew on Saturday that our yacon should be removed … and sure enough he took me literally and removed the lot! I was shocked today when I went out to the garage and saw buckets of the stuff. Wow, I’m stuck for words … not like me at all!

Yacon is in the sunflower family  (Asteraceae) and looks much like Jerusalem artichoke. I read somewhere that it isn’t invasive, but I have my doubts. From a tiny tuber I poked in the ground last year it grew into a sizeable plant, with loads of good sized tubers.

It is  relatively easy to grow, pop those tubers in the ground in September and harvest them when the plant starts to flower (we were very late this year).

Originating from Peru, the yacon is very nutritional, providing minerals, potassium and calcium.
The tuber tastes sweetish similar to a yam. Unlike say a potato which is a starchy carbohydrate, the yacon will fill you but isn’t fattening.

Yacon can be enjoyed raw, grate it and put it in your salads. It can also be boiled, steamed or baked. It does stay sweet and slightly crisp when cooked, I think this is a bonus. Yacon can also be used in a desserts – I am going to use it with apples and make a crumble, let you know how I go! They make a fab smoothie just throw them in the blender with your other fruit.

As this is the first growing season for us Google has been very helpful. I just read that once the roots are removed from the ground and the tubers removed from the crown that they need to be left in the sun for up to 2 weeks. Once this is done the tuber can be stored for up to eight months … wow, impressive. Apparently the sweetness intensifies.

Our yacon grows in what I call the ‘secret garden’ which doesn’t get to see much sun in winter, but is tucked in near the forest so has its very own microclimate. The soil here in this raised bed is chocka with organic material, smells great and is wriggling with worms. Just next door we have the bananas ….

Meet the Yacon tubers and the crown. 

Back to Bananas

Bananas … to be honest, even though we grow our own bananas I don’t know much about them either. They are from the Musaceae family and are quite literally a gigantic herb.  I found out yesterday from a gardening buddy that they will happily ripen off the tree and but need to be devoid of the male flower … which you can see large as life in the pic below … We had two stems that toppled over in the last month each sporting a bunch of bananas. We managed to  rescue this hand which is now happily hanging in our garage … will be interesting to see if it ripens.

About 18mths ago we had a superb crop … probably at least 6 bunches. But again new to the game we didn’t cut down those massive chunky stems – which need to be cut off at ground level once the bunch is removed. We need to be ruthless with the new suckers that grow too … as they will compete with each other. Being a Google advocate I just read that they have no particular fruiting season which really surprised me – they are a tropical plant though so I’m guessing that they will certainly ‘slow down’ production in winter.

Here is some good info …

Bananas are gross-feeders, I read that they need lots of animal manure to produce well. I have been mulching them which apparently they like also. It seems they like wood ash which I have plenty of, so I’m going to sprinkle that around in spring. They are growing next to our forest and have their own microclimate, they are also sheltered from the wind and the frost. Super!

Love this shot!


To finish off

Lastly my garlic … I mulched the remainder of the garlic today. I would have loved to have got more azolla, but the land is sodden and driving our ATV around chops up the land, plus it can slide when going up and down our hills. which trust me, can be scary! So azolla for now is out .. .but I just so happened to have some mulch near the shed – olive branches and leaves that we had chipped a few months back. The mulch is slowly starting to break down and is loaded with those wonderful slimy worms. Well they now have a new home, right in my garlic garden.

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