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Yacon

Hi!

The speaker at our gardening club gave a talk about vegetables novel and rare most of which were of old varieties which are no longer available commercially, some of which the older members remember.
 One however Yacon none had heard of or grown, so the speaker launched into a spiel about how wonderful it was and how it was worth growing.
I searched on here and there was some mention about it back in about 2014 when a few had grown it, no mention later.
Only a few companies offer it, though the cost of it added to carriage makes it rather expensive if it turns out to be useless!
Question is has anyone had any experience growing or eating it, if so would you recommend me trying it next season!

Cheers

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  • @Braidman no we haven't tried Yacon but since your post it looks like we could give it a go. It does seem though as you said about the cost and searching for the right company/delivery is to be looked at carefully.
    This year we planted chinese artichokes for the first time and whislt they don't give a big return they were our experiment for 2021.
  • UffUff SW Scotland but born in DerbyshirePosts: 2,186
    I like the sound of that, tasty and versatile. I think that's going on my list of things to grow next year. Thank you for mentioning that Braidman.
  • KeenOnGreenKeenOnGreen Posts: 1,677
    @Braidman We have been growing it for 2 years at our allotment.  As it's not hardy, the best time to buy/plant tubers is Spring, after all frosts have finished.  We grow it in pots, but you can grown in the ground.  One tuber produces lots of Yacon, but yield is dependent on soil/weather/feeding, similar to when you plant a potato.  Each plant takes up about as much space as a potato plant, but is much prettier.

    The tuber puts on the bulk of its growth in late Autumn, and that is when it is especially important to water and feed the plants.  We give a liquid weekly feed from Spring through to harvesting.  We normally harvest after a few frosts, as the cold apparently increases the sweetness of the tuber.  We save some tubers every Autumn, put them into small pots of moist compost, and leave them in the garage for Winter.  We then bring them on in the greenhouse in Spring, and plant out only after all frosts are over.

    They can be cooked, but go very mushy, not very nice.  They are much better raw, sliced, and with a very light salad dressing (as the taste is very subtle, and you don't want to overpower it).  We also tried growing Oca, but the tubers are much smaller, and more fiddly to crop, so we are giving up on that.

  • It's not one I've grown but it's on the list. This year I grew mashua so waiting to see what that tastes like but I have grown oca for a few years, although I personally don't like the taste but others in the family do. 
  • UffUff SW Scotland but born in DerbyshirePosts: 2,186
    I've found a couple of places that sell the tubers and looks like they have them in stock at the moment. I've just emailed Real Seeds to find out when the best time is to buy it bearing in mind where I live. If anyone is interested I'll pass the information on in this thread.
  • SkandiSkandi Northern DenmarkPosts: 1,511
    I have grown it, it grew fine for me up here. But it was very disappointing the tubers were nearly tasteless, they had a faintly sweet piney taste. I stored them over winter with my dahlias and they all died but the dahlia tubers were fine, so I think they need more babying to keep over winter than I care to do.
  • Bought one in a pot in autumn from the local garden centre and thought it might be OK in a south facing spot outside the garage which is some way sheltered and warm enough for a few other plants to make it through winter but it never sprouted again the following spring. My experience agrees with the above comments that it needs some protection to get through winter. Jerusalem artichoke are said to be related and are much hardier and easier to grow.

    Happy gardening!
  • WilderbeastWilderbeast East YorkshirePosts: 1,327
    Charles Dowding grows Yacon and there is some info online from his experience 
  • UffUff SW Scotland but born in DerbyshirePosts: 2,186
    Thanks for the information so far folks. It seems you and your allotment friends are successful at growing it KeenOnGreen. 
    I like to experiment and this one seems to be a bit of a challenge so I have taken it up and have ordered one tuber from Real Seeds. They are £10 per tuber plus postage but I'd spend that on a lunch out with coffee and this will be more interesting. 

    I'll report back on my success or failure whatever the case may be. 
  • KeenOnGreenKeenOnGreen Posts: 1,677
    @uff I suspect Real Seeds (this is where we bought our tubers) won't send you your tuber until the Spring.  If they do send it anytime soon, get it into a pot of moist (but not wet) compost, and put it somewhere sheltered from frosts.  This should be somewhere that is cool too, you don't want it to be anywhere that heats up too much on a sunny Winter day, such as a conservatory/greenhouse.  Our garage works well for us.
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