I live this time of year. Even though the days are getting shorter and nothing much grows now – except the dreaded weeds!!! – I find all the work very satisfactory. My favourite description of my state of being is self actualisation. This is one of the theories that stuck in my brain from the nursing training days – Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.
I started with a patch of raspberries and rhubarb at the end of one of my plots. To say that it looked neglected is an understatement. It is one of the places I meant to tackle but something else always got in the way. Today was the day.
It looks lovely in the first photo but the other two show how well the weeds grew. Never mind a plant encyclopaedia, I should get one on weeds! Anyway, this job is done and tomorrow, weather permitting, will be another busy day.
I also harvested another yacon plant. The foliage is beginning to show signs of frost but it doesn’t matter, the tubers are fine in the ground.
I like to eat them raw, just scrubbed clean and peeled. They taste sweet but in reality they are quite special. They contain inulin.
Yet again these came up trumps. Only three plants and I only pulled out a few tubers. They are lovely eaten raw – all I had to do was to peel and slice them – they are crunchy and sweet. Perfect for a nibble at any time.
I can recommend growing yacon wholeheartedly.
…on the farm!
Last year was the first time I grew yacon and it was very successful. The tubers were big and very tasty and each plant also had the small growing buds. These I planted in pots and kept them dry in the greenhouse over the winter. I was hoping at least one would survive – they all did!
As our allotments are hidden between houses we’re rather sheltered there and I decided to plant the yacon, as they all sprouted and were growing quite well.
The plants grew very well last year and I hope they’ll do the same this year. I kept one and planted that in a large pot in the back garde with the hope that it might flower – it could. We’ll see.
Next job was to sow some florence fennel. I always maintained that I didn’t like it – I was quite wrong. I only had about four plants last year and found them very good, there are quite a few recipes and I like them all. Therefore I’ve got two rows of fennel and hope they will all germinate.
There aren’t just vegetables on my plot – I’m trying to look after the bees too and I know that they like the flowers of honesty.
Another end of February, another start of growing! I’m getting a bit better because in the past I started sowing seeds much too early, and too many of them at once. Never too late to learn.
First of all I had to sort out the greenhouse. It is an unheated one so plants hibernate there quite nicely. My kafir lime liked it and looks rather well. I had a good harvest of yacon tubers, also of the growing little tubers, they were put into pts and kept almost dry in the greenhouse. By the looks of it they survived well. I moved them out into the veranda so that they can get used to colder weather.
Now I know they do well on the allotment, they’ll go there again this year and I hope for another good harvest.
After this it was down to the real job in the greenhouse, sowinh some seeds.
I did a tray with some Red iceberg lettuce, Lakeland lettuce and some chinese leaves. The next tray is a selection of different tomatoes. I’m growing outdoor varieties because they’ll go in some of my net cages. I found that it seems to protect them from blight and as the net is very fine it feels a bit warmer inside too.
Last but not least I sorted out my strawberries. I’m hoping that they will flower earlier and we shall have some tasty early fruit. If not, nothing is lost, I shall plant them on the allotment and grow something else in the box.
I think this is the ‘veg to grow’ for next year.
I harvested my other two plants and the tubers from the first one were an amazing 2,6kilos!!!
I have tried two recipes so far – one was the Thai curry, very tasty. Today I just simply roasted the cut up yacon with some pumpkin and Halloumi cheese – yum!
A few days ago I very carefully pulled out one tuber from under my yacon plant in the garden. The other two are on the allotment and I was just trying to find out if I shall have any at all.
Yesterday was harvest day and the yucon in the garden was uprooted and examined.
I’m delighted with the result. After cleaning the tubers they weighed just over 1 kilo. What is even better, the plant had a good number of the small round growing ‘bits’ with a little bud on them. Next year’s harvest is assured.
Now I just have to see how much I manage to get from under the plants on the allotment.
The next challenge was to find a recipe. The first time I just sliced it and used it in a salad. As I had much more this time I wanted a recipe for cooked yacon. And I found it. Made it today for lunch – Thai chicken curry with yacon. I didn’t use the chicken but put in veggie sausages and it was delicious. I even had the Kaffir lime leaves to add to it as I treated myself to a Kaffir lime earlier in the summer; it is in the greenhouse now ready to overwinter. Fingers crossed!
When I bought my three little yacon – well, what do I call them? – small pieces of root with a bud on it – I thought that I might not see any results. How wrong I was!
I did everything exactly as the instructions said and planted them in a pot each, they survived the winter in a frost-proof studio and later were moved into the greenhouse. They started growing and again, as the instructions said, I put two in the ground on the allotment and one in the back garden. No problem in growing them they reached at least 1m high and looked very healthy.
As the weather is very mild I didn’t want to harvest all the tubers in the garden so I very carefully scraped the soil away and pulled out a beautiful tuber, just like it said. It really looks like a dahlia tuber.
I washed and peeled it and sliced it very thin. It tasted like a very crunchy mild radish. Next time I’ll stir-fry it.
One good thing is that this plant has a number of the small round bits with a growing point, those are the ones to save for next year. I’ll make sure I shall grow quite a few.
Next thing will be to bring some sand home from the allotment, put it in a box, harvest the tubers and store them in it.
For once my strawberry beds were neat and organised, I was able to walk between them. I thought that I would protect my future plentiful crop just by putting up string with some old CDs fluttering in the wind.
It was a good idea but the pigeons didn’t buy it. As I came to the allotment today I saw one fat pigeon fly away from the strawberries.
The straw I bought yesterday was already on the first three beds so I just got all my spare netting and covered the beds.
The next job was to plant my yacon plants. As I’ve never grown it before I followed the instructions to the letter, waited until the plants were the right size in the pots and then planted them out in the perfect place – inside the net cage with the tomatoes and tomatilloes, just in case the public enemy no.1 aka the pidgeons decide to have a go.
This year I’m going to grow something new – as I like to do every year. If it doesn’t work, I won’t do it again but for this project I have got high hopes.
Yacon is supposed to be both exotic and easy and undemanding to grow. According to the information from the nursery the tubers are sweet and crunchy and can be eaten raw, like an apple or in salads, or stir fried.
Well, I just had to order some and yesterday I received my three small tips which I planted in some slightly moist compost, in three separate pots and will keep them in Frank’s studio. The nursery suggested a frost-free room rather than an unheated greenhouse. They shouldn’t put on too much growth because I have to wait with planting them out in spring, once there’s no risk of frost.
I’m looking forward to it, I hope it won’t let me down.