billw
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Re: Lost Crops of the Incas

Sounds like maybe you didn't peel it? I get the stronger peppery/resiny flavors from the skin. I actually like it, but apparently a lot of people peel yacon to get rid of that.

I've also heard that they are stronger tasting when grown under drier conditions, but I can't test that myself.

Sunlight usually sweetens them up some.

I harvested a couple that I wanted to save to produce seeds before this weekend's wind storm (and, sure enough, it shredded the rest of them).

Image

21 lb from 2 plants, leaving a couple pounds of storage tubers attached to the crowns to feed them in storage.

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!potatoes!
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Re: Lost Crops of the Incas

yeah, i much prefer them peeled. and a couple weeks of curing can make them quite sweet, otherwise.

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GardenRN
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Re: Lost Crops of the Incas

I always peel mine also... I get the apple/ carrot flavor I have heard described. Mild, but it seems like the more you eat the more you taste. Mixing them, chunked, into a fruit salad is nice. But I usually just eat them raw, sliced, and by themselves. Heads up...I have been getting $4/lb for them at the farmer's market. I usually keep one out for people to taste. This is the first year the Yacon has been for sale around here. I hoping giving a bunch away for people to taste will provide more of a demand so I can sell a much larger harvest next year.


Eric, are those from the crowns I sent you? :) I was wondering how they did for you! As far as overwintering...what I read was that if your area gets much below 30 you had better pull them inside to over winter. My method was to pull all the tubers off, cut the stems down to an inch or two, then put the whole thing in moist shredded paper and in a plastic bag. Leave the bag open and in the crisper drawer of the fridge. Check weekly for mold or problems during the winter. This ear I actually got a fridge (free from craigslist) for my basement just for keeping roots. I store the jerusalem artichokes in there as well. All of mine grew well this year that I held over from last, and this year they actually go to the correct height of about 7 feet tall as opposed to the first year where they never got more than 2.5-3 ft tall.
Jeff

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Failure is only a fact when you give up.

billw
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Re: Lost Crops of the Incas

So, lots of yacon growers here. How about the other four popular LCotI: oca, mashua, and ulluco?

Here are some harvests from the past two weeks:

Oca (Sunset variety - yield from one plant)

Image

Mashua (Pilifera variety - one plant)

Image

Ulluco (Pica de Pulga variety - one plant)

Image

It won't be harvest time for these for a few weeks yet. These were all test pulls just to see how things are coming along.

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!potatoes!
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Re: Lost Crops of the Incas

that's three, bill. :wink:

I'm just about to declare that this isn't the right place for oca. grown it for three or four years, but yield is pretty unimpressive, even when i go to great lengths for both season extension and to convince the plants to start tuberizing early. maybe other varieties than what i have would do better here? i've got a pink variety, the only one i've found available...

mashua, i got some of the ken aslett day-neutral kind a few years ago and they crashed and burned in the summer heat, even though i was at some elevation at the time, on the north side of a mountain...will probably try again at some point.

never found a source for ulluco...UNTIL NOW...

but I'm probably the biggest yacon grower in this region this year - had 260+ plants in the ground, i'll probably be harvesting tons when it's all through. $4/lb sounds nice, jeff, but I'm pretty happy with $2.25/lb, selling wholesale to groceries and restaurants. don't wanna sell 'em one at a time! will undoubtedly be moving into the value-added realm this year too...dehydrated yacon chips and syrup - there's a huge market for the syrup.

i do love those roots & tubers.

billw
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Re: Lost Crops of the Incas

!potatoes! wrote:that's three, bill. :wink:
The fourth is really a lost crop.

I think that there is some variation in the heat tolerance of oca cultivars. I suspect that the variety Mexican Red probably does better in warmer climates. How much warmer is the question.

Ulluco has a well-deserved reputation for being a difficult crop. It starts wilting pretty fast at temperatures below 37 or above 75 and doesn't even start dropping down stolons from the stems until after the equinox, so it is weeks behind oca in forming tubers. But, it is very tasty and looks great, so I hold out hope for a long, mild fall and good harvest.

I've been enjoying the recent news about yacon syrup. It strikes me funny that people who would probably run screaming from a bottle of high fructose corn syrup are excited to buy high fructose yacon syrup. But I have to admit, it even sounds a lot better to me.

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Re: Lost Crops of the Incas

!potatoes! wrote:that's three, bill. :wink:

$4/lb sounds nice, jeff, but I'm pretty happy with $2.25/lb, selling wholesale to groceries and restaurants. don't wanna sell 'em one at a time!

Don't blame you at all! I'd go wholesale in a minute if I had a buyer. I'm just not there yet with yield. I only had 8 plants which, total, produced about 2 very full plastic grocery bags full. (I don't know about poundage for sure). It was enough to throw on the stand at the market, but not enough to think about selling to a restaurant. Hopefully next year will be much better. I am expecting at least 40 plants.

We have food co ops popping up everywhere around here and a handful of Local-only grocery stores. Also a number of local-only restaurants. I think the market will be there. I am (almost positive) I am the only one in the area with Yacon. Thanks to you!! :wink:

I am using quite a bit this year to give away. I figure it will help create a market for it next year if people get a taste this year. We'll see.
Jeff

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Failure is only a fact when you give up.

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GardenRN
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Re: Lost Crops of the Incas

And Bill, I've never grown any of those other ones. But I am always very interested in "long lost" or "forgotten" crops. I love the idea of keeping those alive. And this year my enthusiasm for tubers really took off. So all of these are really peaking my interest.

If anyone has any extras to sell/trade/whatever I'd LOVE to work out a deal!!

Special emphasis on the Ulluco (no idea how to pronounce that) but at the same time it's one I'd have to try to squeeze into my autumn months because the summer is so hot here. But I'd love to give it a try... we usually have good fall weather here from September lasting sometimes all the way into January.
Jeff

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Failure is only a fact when you give up.

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!potatoes!
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Re: Lost Crops of the Incas

falling for tubers? we need to get you some groundnut, even if it wasn't lost or incan.

billw
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Re: Lost Crops of the Incas

GardenRN wrote: If anyone has any extras to sell/trade/whatever I'd LOVE to work out a deal!!

Special emphasis on the Ulluco (no idea how to pronounce that) but at the same time it's one I'd have to try to squeeze into my autumn months because the summer is so hot here. But I'd love to give it a try... we usually have good fall weather here from September lasting sometimes all the way into January.
After double checking the forum guidelines, I suspect what I originally wrote here would have violated the self-promotion rules, so I removed it. I have some for sale/trade/whatever and will have more as harvest completes. PM me if you want more info.

Also, check out Sacred Succulents, which is where I originally got many of my varieties. They have an absolutely amazing selection of Andean roots and tubers and you should definitely seek them out if you haven't seen their catalog before.

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GardenRN
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Re: Lost Crops of the Incas

Sounds good. Thanks! :)

I'd always rather trade on here first. It gives me a chance to get what I want while giving someone else something they will enjoy. Not to mention usually amounts to less money. I'm PM you...
Jeff

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GardenRN
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Re: Lost Crops of the Incas

BTW i could be wrong...but in knowing how this site goes, the self-promotion thing is probably more aimed at people coming on here with their only intent being to promote their website, sales /what have you...
Jeff

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Failure is only a fact when you give up.

billw
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Re: Lost Crops of the Incas

Yep, I haven't been here long enough to have a sense for it, so better safe than sorry.

So, back on the original topic... Have any of you folks growing multiple varieties of yacon had any seed set? I'm trying to do some crosses right now, but it looks like neither variety is producing much pollen.

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Re: Lost Crops of the Incas

I only have one variety and I have never even gotten a flower...
Jeff

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Jardin du Fort
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Re: Lost Crops of the Incas

Hey guys! What an interesting topic! I just took a quick peek in the book and found it Verrrry interrrrrestinggg. So far no one has mentioned amaranth, specifically the Kiwicha. That sounds to me like an ideal "grain" crop. Supposedly the Mexican amaranaths are "available" in the USA, while the Kiwicha is probably not. Is this so? Anybody have a lead on obtaining some? At 100,000 seeds per plant it should be easy to propagate.

:)

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Re: Lost Crops of the Incas

Here's one source
https://www.rareseeds.com/store/vegetables/amaranth/

Eric

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Jardin du Fort
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Re: Lost Crops of the Incas

Thanks Eric.

After further searching, it seems that the Kiwicha is also known as "Love-lies-bleeding" here in the states, and is available from many suppliers. Amaranthus caudatus. Amazingly, it is possible that this is the Amaranth that was grown by Thomas Jefferson at Montecello. It is available from the Monticello shop: https://www.monticelloshop.org/600081.html

As I think I mentioned in one of my posts last year, I had read the then new book on Jefferson's Monticello vegetable garden, so this has become of particular interest to me.

Darrell

billw
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Re: Lost Crops of the Incas

Still digging oca and mashua - we've probably got some unusually cold weather coming and I want to get it all in.

But, the ulluco harvest is done and was almost worth the effort just for the picture:

Image

MB3
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Re: Lost Crops of the Incas

really cool link and thread
not sure how well most of these will do in Ohio, but I would love to get some of these to try and adapt here.

I love old cultivated foods, thanks.

billw
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Re: Lost Crops of the Incas

Probably tough outdoors in Ohio. Ideally you want to get the plants to the middle of November without being killed by frost. A low tunnel over the plants in the fall might get you there.

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applestar
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Re: Lost Crops of the Incas

SO glad MB3 bumped this thread because I missed the gorgeous harvest photo when it was posted in November. :D
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Cola82
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Re: Lost Crops of the Incas

Oof, I missed this thread. It's a good one. :D

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Re: Lost Crops of the Incas

!potatoes! wrote:that's three, bill. :wink:

I'm just about to declare that this isn't the right place for oca. grown it for three or four years, but yield is pretty unimpressive, even when i go to great lengths for both season extension and to convince the plants to start tuberizing early. maybe other varieties than what i have would do better here? i've got a pink variety, the only one i've found available...

mashua, i got some of the ken aslett day-neutral kind a few years ago and they crashed and burned in the summer heat, even though i was at some elevation at the time, on the north side of a mountain...will probably try again at some point.

never found a source for ulluco...UNTIL NOW...

but I'm probably the biggest yacon grower in this region this year - had 260+ plants in the ground, i'll probably be harvesting tons when it's all through. $4/lb sounds nice, jeff, but I'm pretty happy with $2.25/lb, selling wholesale to groceries and restaurants. don't wanna sell 'em one at a time! will undoubtedly be moving into the value-added realm this year too...dehydrated yacon chips and syrup - there's a huge market for the syrup.

i do love those roots & tubers.
Well, at least I am on the right topic now. !potatoes!, I would love to discuss acquiring those yacon tubers to plant in Alabama, which you pm'ed me about. Because I am not allowed to pm you back as a new forum member, could you pm some contact information to me ?

While it is unlikely that I have something exotic enough to interest you in trade, it is yet possible that I might have some seed or plant stock that you might like, or could work out another mode of recompense. My sister lives in Weaverville and is sweet enough that she might pick up and deliver for me.

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applestar
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Re: Lost Crops of the Incas

I’m coming back to this old thread because I’m starting to think I want to try growing GROUNDNUT, and this thread popped up in the search.

Is anyone growing it? Are you still here, !potatoes! ?
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Re: Lost Crops of the Incas

yes to both! though it's native here, and not one of the inca crops.

groundnut tends to run underground (the main way it spreads) so i grow it exclusively in those big fiber 'smart pots' so i don't have to dig up an ever-widening area for every harvest. i've started replanting the same biggest tubers each year (the largest of which is solidly (american) football shaped and sized at this point. this makes bigger and bigger first-year tubers every year and makes the more widely-used practice of waiting two years between harvests unnecessary. the bigger tubers do make longer vines - i grow them up ~7foot trellises with strings at the top leading up to the eaves of my barn - that only allows ~30feet of growth before they start looping around up there - seems like they'd be to 45feet or so by the end of the season if given the opportunity...normal for smaller tubers is 6-8 feet or so.

the beanlike seeds are also edible (though they usually bloom late enough that they don't mature, so we tend to get one meal with them as green shelling beans a year) - flowering/producing even that much may also be a function of planting big old tubers. i know some of the more modern university of louisiana-bred varieties are known to hardly flower at all, bred as they were for increased tuber size/volume. i did find a wild specimen on a canoe trip last fall that was loaded with beans (and had very small tubers), that i have growing nearby the others this year, that i have some hopes for grown as a perennial bean.

back on topic for this thread, i still grow quite a bit of yacon, too, though I'm growing less this year as i come back from two years of being too busy collecting and processing wild nuts in the fall to harvest the yacon at the right time, which can lead to a lot of losses. trying to be better about it this year.

hope this isn't too many words for your minimal prompt!

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