Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Ulluco — It's How You Sell It

Managing people's expectations can make a big difference when they are introduced to a new crop. If you say to someone "Ulluco, a tuber a bit like a potato", then straight away you are setting up a mismatch between their mental image and the diminutive reality.
Here are the tubers I lifted last week...
... not exactly huge, but better than last year's lot which were hit by early frost.
On the other hand if you say it's a low-growing plant with really nice succulent edible leaves, which can be grown under taller crops (so don't take up space), and which give a bonus harvest of beautiful little brightly-coloured bean-like tubers, then no-one is going to be disappointed.
Well, not unless the plants are frosted before they can tuberise, that is.
So with my expectations well and truly managed, this year I grew them along with fellow 'minor' root crop Chinese artichokes along with garlic and climbing beans (have a look) and I think they benefited from all the extra watering that was lavished on the primary crop.  What they definitely did not benefit from was the smothering effect of various volunteer Oca plants that came up amongst them.

However, they survived, and they did it without any real care or attention during the whole growing season.

Something for nothing—the type of crop I have space for.


  1. I've eaten ulloco only once..am I wrong describing them as "looking bit like potato but tasting bit like beetroot"?
    Or is it just my mouth that is funny?

  2. Hi Goodlife. Pretty accurate, but I'd change it to "looking like a small potato". Unless you grow them more successfully than me.
    Many thanks for the Tiger nuts by the way.

  3. I'm looking for the long, yellow ulluco.
    Could you possible have a link for me where I can get them?
    Cheers, Mirjam