Yes, it's that time of year again in Cornwall when the holiday hordes descend and formerly deserted beaches are suddenly packed with neoprene clad dandies jockeying for position on the surf.  More importantly, it's the season when the oca seed pods start to form.  Actually, they seem to be appearing a little earlier on this year's seedlings than on their parents, who were, of course, born and raised in 2009.   The optimist in me thinks this is due to rapid adaptation to our climate and daylength regimes; my inner sceptical rationalist would prefer to withhold judgement and gather additional data for a few more years.

Here are the first ones I've noticed this year, on 091710, a seedling from 0917, which last year was among the first to set seeds.  Pure coincidence?  Perhaps, but I'm not taking any chances and will be enveloping the pods and their precious cargo as per 2009. To paraphrase a song from Monty Python's Meaning of Life (but only just) - every seed is sacred, every seed is good, every seed is needed, in your neighbourhood.

 In my neighbourhood, I keep noticing additional small oca seedlings peeping out from the skirts of my chillies.   So far my attempts at disentangling their root systems from the overbearing chillies has proved successful;  I've planted them in any available space in the hope of getting a few tubers by the autumn.  It may be a bit late now for some of these tiddlers, but I'm keen to give them a chance, just in case one of these slowcoaches contains the elusive genes for daylength neutrality.  Once they're past the small and delicate stage and their stems start to lengthen, they can make quite rapid progress.

I'm still pondering on the exact structure of some of the flowers I've seen.  More on the myriad morphs of Oxalis tuberosa when I can get out on a sunny day, examine the flowers properly and hopefully get some shots of their generative gubbins in all their confusing glory.


IAP said…
Good news. You obviously have the touch (or the varieties, or the weather, or the humidity, or the 'something else'). I've had no more flowers since the little flush in early June, when four plants flowered in one week. It happened after a week or two of high humidity, and I wonder if this is a factor, as it has been hot and dry since then. I know that humidity can sometimes be a factor in successful pollination, but in actual flower formation...? It fits in with my memory of previous flowering. Last year flowers only came late in the year (October) after the hot dry weather was gone.
Things are going to flower early here - I blame the drought. My 3 paltry oca plants haven't shown a single peep though.
Rhizowen said…
Ian - I suspect temperature and light levels might be involved. Like ulluco, I don't think oca likes hot bright, droughty conditions. Humidity (or lack thereof) could also be a factor. Not usually a problem here - high humidity all year round.

Veg Heaven - sorry to hear that your ocas are looking paltry. Maybe a bit of rain will perk them up. We've got plenty to spare.....
Anonymous said…

- I'd love some of the bulbs :D

My email address is: elphie@vodafoneemail.co.uk

... The Babington Leek - do you use the bulbils? I've not heard of it before. What sort of conditions does it like? I'll have to go look it up :)
I'd been thinking of some nodding onions - I wonder if they'd grow well together?

Thanks for the offer and the allium info :)
Emma said…
Owen, would you like to be in my book? I would love to have you and it wouldn't take very long :)

Click on the link for more details on my blog, and drop me an email (akgpodcast@gmail.com) if you'd like to take part.

Thanks, Emma :)
Mark said…
The Oca Empire grows. Looks like I shall be in Scotland after August, not planned but visa nightmares. So if you need a another oca breeder, then count me in. This will occupy the time while I look for a job and polish off a postdoc proposal on seed germiantion and hydraulic redistribution for either NERC or NSF. Depends which one will cough up the cash.
Rhizowen said…
Nellie - I'll email you. Babington leek can be used like, er, a leek. You can also eat the cloves that form at the base. fertile, well-drained soil would be best, in full sun.

Emma - thanks for the offer. I'll email you

Mark - glad to have you on board. Sorry to hear about your visa difficulties. Good luck with the grant proposal. Let's hope austerity measures haven't reached as far as NERC and hydraulic redistribution projects. I bet you'll miss all that sunshine.......