Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Yacon aka Bolivian Sun Root

The Yacon is flowering...if it looks like a tiny sunflower is probably because Yacon is related to sunflowers and dahlias.

I am going to wait a couple more more weeks to harvest the boot. Waiting to taste that crunchy yumminess is becoming increasingly hard, plus the knowledge that after harvesting I should let the tubers 'rest' for at least two to three weeks (to develop their sweetness) is killing me!
The bottom pic shows the two growth areas at the base of the main stem...hum...are they trying to grow new plants this soon? Once I find out I will be sure to post the answer.
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Anonymous said...

You can carefully cut the two little propagation tubers and replant them if you wish to have some more plants ( or new plants).
Yacon is perennial if kept frost-free, propagation is mostly done by cutting these little tubers from the mother plants (of course, if you cut these from the best -growing and/or best-tasting plants, you'll have the better plants later on).
Another way for propagation are stem cuttings, but I really can't say what's the right season for taking these in Florida (I'm in Belgium/Europe).
A third way is sowing, but seed production is very rare, at least over here. I'm in fact looking for a way to get some seeds over here, but frost usually interferes.
Yacon is, together with some other Andean tubers or roots (oca, ullucus, mauka, arracacha,...), a very promising crop for the future, and yacon has the advantage of not being daylength-sensitive (the only other one is mauka, arracacha needs warmer circumstances than mine, so I can't judge on this one). Did you ever grow out good healthy seeds?
And ...your pictures look great!!!!

Gardening Fool said...

Hi Frank!!!

Thank you so much for taking the time to post this great info! I know you were having some issues posting info here so your comment is doubly appreciated ☺

This is actually my first time growing Yacon. Its been extremely challenging finding info on how to best grow it and care for it in hot climates... but that is not a deterrent and I will experiment and just go by instinct if I have to. I believe it is worth the try...I remember eating raw yacon when I was in Bolivia, and curiously enough it was not in the territory close to the Andes mountains but in the Amazonian jungle! So I imagine it is highly likely that it will grow well here also. I wish I had a way of contacting those people I met there so I could ask them...but there is no way for me to do so :-(

I am interested in slowly experimenting with the other cultivars you mentioned, I have been browsing through Lost Crops Of the Inca, and found it to be so rich in information...but my garden is small so I must be extremely selective with the plants I choose.

Sounds like you have a lovely garden & lots of experience with this unappreciated crops...have you posted any of your pictures anywhere? If you ever want to either send me your pictures for me to post here or need help with starting a blog I will be happy to help you!

Last thing, to answer your question, no, I have not seen seeds as of yet...but I believe if I let the flower dry up won't the seeds be there? I mean, the advantage about growing yacon here is that it is highly unlikely a frost will kill it (although it is marginally possible)...thus I have greater chances of getting to collect its seeds...right? What do you think?

Again, thanks a bunch for taking the time to write that post and I found the info extremely helpful! Oh and thanks for the kudos on the photographs :)

Anonymous said...

I post a bit of info on homegrown goodness, a forum run by Alan Bishop (look for posts under the name 'orflo'), some pictures are to be found over there. I am creating a site (but I'm saying that for over a year, so...)on all these unusual vegetables, if it's on the web, I'll give you a sign.
About the seeds: it should be possible in your climate, maybe it's just too hot, but yacon is amazingly adaptable, even grown in fairly dry parts of the world...
Just concentrate on the plants first, propagate them by cutting the little tubers, sun-cure some roots and eat them, they get sweeter when they are sun-cured, candy can be made out of them, and many other things...

Gardening Fool said...

Thanks a bunch Frank!

I will take a look at the homegrown goodness site later today.

FYI, a blog is infinitely easier to build and keep (one needs no prior skill or knowledge) than a website for which you need to know the behind the scenes and all that technical stuff...good luck with whatever your final choice is, and remember the offer to help with a blog still stands :-)

Thanks again for your wonderful info!