Sunday, 13 November 2011

November is Tuber Time

Most conventional vegetable crops are on the wane by now, but the short days mean only one thing for Oca...
...make tubers, and make 'em fast! These stem-borne Oca tubers are getting noticeably bigger every day, and I've no doubt that those underground are similarly ascendant.  In fact, in places I can see the soil surface starting to heave upwards from the pressure of the swelling crop.

A hands-and-knees survey of the plot discovers plenty more underground action. This is the Ulluco doing its best to tuberise...
...and doing better than last year, when they were already frosted by now.

Chinese artichokes tubers are also bulking up. These are from the plants used as ground cover under climbing beans in the 'root crops as ground cover trial'.

And scraping around the base of a Yacon in the 'Not the Three Sisters' bed reveals sizable storage tubers.
All this bodes well for bumper crops. But of course, a frost could easily put a damper on that.

Unfortunately someone else has noticed all this underground fodder. This is a large excavation on one side of the 'All-Tuber Polyculture Mound'...
Oca, Chi-chokes, and bits of Yacon are scattered around. Rats could be the culprits, although a lot of the uncovered tubers have not been eaten. Then again maybe it's a fox. Anyway, the damage has put a halt to a lot of the plants in the mound.



  1. I can sympathies on the damage to your beds.

    For the second time I have lost all my Oca to rodents. It's the third year in a row with no real harvest. Last year the early frost took out all but a few varieties, the year before the mild conditions and late frost that should have resulted in a bumper crop resulted in rodent damage that wiped everything out, and despite my attempts to safeguard against them, they have done the same this year.

    It's looking like I cant win; early frosts and no tubers, late frosts and the rats set up shop in the beds and eat the tubers as they form.

    I'm going to have to start from scratch again to rebuild my collection and try a new way to grow the crop. One that can beet the frosts and the rats.

  2. Sorry to hear that. It's annoying.
    I wonder if sprayed systemic crop treatments like 'Grazers' would work for tubers. The makers have great claims for protection of foliage crops from the likes of rabbits, deer, and pigeons. Maybe I'll try it next year.
    Let me know if you need help replacing your planting stock.