I Pot on My Yacons

Those yacon seedlings are motoring. I turn my back and they're fair busting out of their pots; they need potting on - already; I need more space - now. I suppose I should have seen it coming.

Unlike Baden-Powell and his boy scouts, who are trained to expect the unexpected, I find that the unexpected catches me out every time.That might be because I dodged intoning the pledge: there was never any dyb-dyb-dybbing or dob-dob-dobbing for me. As a consequence, I know next to nothing about woggles and my whittling skills aren't much to write home about either. It could also explain my failure to foresee the germination of those seeds and their subsequent rapid development.

Seeing as how space is running out rapidly, I may as well drop another gentle hint to the universe about that ten acres and associated infrastructure which I asked for in 2009. Last time it sent me respiratory failure and intensive care instead, but hey, isn't faith all about hope in the teeth of adversity?

The logistics of horticulture have always baffled me, but as I'm supposed to be orchestrating this rite of spring - in and out, sowing and growing on - I was hoping for andante non troppo from the yacons rather than prestissimo. They certainly can't go outside yet - the weather is truly atrocious, with wind, sleet, hail and the kind of rain that numbs your forehead and sticks your trousers to your thighs - a typical spring day in other words. If I won't go outside, I can hardly expect my delicate flowers to brave it.

Did I say delicate? They seem to be imbued with the kind of vigour described by the boozy bard Dylan Thomas as "the force that through the green fuse drives the flower". Frank van Keirsbilck, who gave me the seeds, didn't mention anything about lighting any touch-papers and standing well back. Some might call it schadenfreude, but he tells me that he now has twenty yacon seedlings of his own to house. I wish him luck. Honest.

So, as delighted as I am by the sight of these new yacons brimming with life force, I'm hoping I can arrest their development a little bit in order that they remain in their new detached des reses until I can plant them out. Now look here you lot - behave yourselves!


Nice seedlings from Yacon. I trried Yacon only 1 year, because there ist no place in my garden. I hope to get an other garden, then I also try Yacons.
This days I take oca outside and my mashuas begin to germinate.
I also get a new sort by Anden lupin (Lupinus mutabilis)the color is pink.
My very mini Ullucuc begin to grow and I hope for a better Ulluco year.
Good year for your yacons and Happy easter.
Rhizowen said…
Hi CarpeDiem

Thanks for following me and good luck with your Andean plants this year.

Frohe Ostern
Jeremy said…
You need to read this post from my old mucker Colin and then take appropriate action.
Rhizowen said…
Hi Jeremy

Thanks for the tip. You have some excellent muckers.
How'd they grow? Or go? I've got seedlings I need to grow in containers as there's no room in the garden. Any advice?
Rhizowen said…
Hi Joan

Do you mean true seedlings as in small hard black seeds giving rise to plants as opposed to replanted pieces of tuber? If so - I'm interested to learn more. Yacon will grow quite happily in a pot, but it will need to be big one or the tubers will not develop properly, or will be hard to extract. Minimum, I would guess would be 75 litres. Optimum much bigger. I've grown it in 15 litre pots on occasion - you end up with a bonsai crop from a bonsai plant, perhaps not inappropriate in Japan. Something like a large half barrel would probably do the job. I remember seeing yacon plants in Japan a few years ago, but i was a bit too early in the season to try the roots. Do you know the name of the parent variety? The only Japanese one I've heard of is called "sarada otome". Good luck. Impress your friends by making yakraut from it - lactofermented in brine. It worked well for me. Here's the post http://radix4roots.blogspot.com/search/label/Yakraut
Thanks for the advice. That's hugely helpful. Do you reckon one or two plants per huge pot? The reason I ask is that I have about six. I'm mildly hesitant to put them in the garden as I don't have much room anymore (none, really), and I don't know if they're invasive. I don't think they are, but do you have any idea? The research I've done so far doesn't say they are, but I'm super-double-checking as I garden at a farm that's not mine. I'd hate to have them run over with unwanted yacon.

I'm not sure of the variety or how these starts got started. They just arrived in the mail from a women I met somewhat in passing at a local harvest festival. She also sent Jerusalem artichokes, which are potted up and will hopefully be happy on the balcony.

Thanks loads for the recipe link, too! If this all works out I'm definitely going to try it.
Rhizowen said…
Hi Joan

If you plant several plants per pot, you'll probably get the same overall yield, but smaller roots. They're not invasive as the reproductive tubers are all clustered together around the base of the plant, although if you were very careless in scattering bits around when harvesting, they may regenerate from those pieces.

In the Andes yacon is considered a fruit rather than a vegetable - allow the tubers to sit in the sun for a few days and they become really sweet. I keep meaning to try and make nuka pickles with them, but haven't got round to making a bran box yet.

Good luck!