Mashua 'Pilifera' has given me a very encouraging crop this year.
... unlike last year when I grew them 'properly' i.e. on their own. They struggled, probably because they were too exposed to strong sun, and weren't watered enough, but I did get some small tubers before the frost finished things.
This year I bi-cropped them with tall peas. 'Relay-cropping' is probably a more accurate term, as the crops overlapped rather than coincided in time.
My logic was to make shared use of the 7ft high pea supports, and for the Mashua to benefit from the shading and summer watering associated with the peas. After the pea crop was harvested, I just left the Mashua to climb through the dying stems for the remainder of the season, until killed by the frost.
This worked so well that I think I feel a few other Mashua-based polyculture schemes coming on...
Meanwhile here are some of the cleaned up tubers...
Notice that one tuber has resprouted — indicative of the recent mild weather, and demonstrating the plant's perennial intentions.
My single specimen of an unknown gold-coloured variety failed to survive the Summer, and has left no tubers. It's a pity, because I grew the two varieties through each other with the specific aim of facilitating cross-fertilisation.
That didn't work, but as at least the Pilifera has set some seed on its own.
Well, if you don't ask, you don't get!