Yacon parade in Kirstens allotment

Kirsten have yacon this year. She had some crowns from a seed saver that had luck overwintering his yacon crowns. Overwintering is the real challenge in yacon growing in northern europe. This summer she promised Anne and me a root with crown in autumn. As frost is forecasted a few nights ahead, we agreed to meet in her allotment today. Yacon should be harvested as late as possible, but like Dahlia, frost will kill it. Typically we would wait for the first frost to kill the top, and then harvest the tubers safe in the ground. Anyway, we did it three days ahead.

Vi both tried digging gently with the fork

Roots of yacon are brittle. Delicious eating, but in demand of a gentle hand on the fork not to break the tubers. We did break some on almost all plants, but still think we did quite well. One of them we tasted. Nice crisp, but no sweetness yet. They need time in storage to develop the charateristic sweetness.

Yacon (Smallanthus sonchifolius syn. Polymnia sonchifolia) ‘Morado’
Tubers of yacon grow large

This variety does well in culture. We don’t know a name for it. It grow large to huge red tubers, which after time in storage develop the sweet taste. We agreed not to wash the tubers, but just dry and store them as we do with Dahlias.

Kirsten presented two sets of tubers to me. Anne had a set of tubers, a crown and a small plant. The two last she will try to grow through winter in a cold glazed frost protected balcony. My tubers are now drying protected in my greenhouse. In a few days I’ll store them dry in the bottom of my larder, as I do with my Dahlias. This year I will not eat any of the tubers, as last year I ate them and the crowns died. It’s the crown with its eyes that you set in spring. The tuber have no eyes, and can’t grow a new yacon in spring.

Have a look at Yacon, sweet treat from the Andes and Yacon crown in january

Ulluco tuber, Ullucus tuberosus

Ulluco is a crop from the Andes. Elsa, who is a fellow danish seed saver, posted the tuber in a frostfree period this winter. Since then I have stored it in the larder. I took a look at it, since I have read in a blog that it sprouts very quickly when it decides to grow. I want to be prepared when it happens.
Color is fantastic, and it comes in many solid colors as well as multicolored.

To get some idea on how to grow it I’ll read “Lost Crops of the Incas”

Patrick over at Bifucated Carrots writes about ulluco and other crops from the andes. Do pay him a visit.