Grow­ing ya­con

NZ Lifestyle Block - - Diy Food -

Ya­con plants grow up to 2m and have big, ar­row-shaped leaves which are ap­par­ently also ed­i­ble (I haven't tried them yet).

• ob­tain a ya­con crown or a cou­ple of rhi­zomes from a friend, or have a look on the in­ter­net for folks sell­ing the crowns.

• keep your crown di­vi­sions in­doors in a large pa­per bag in a dark place, a bit like seedling potatoes. In early spring, set them out in a card­board box, again in a dark place where they will start to sprout like crazy.

• ya­cons need room so space them 1m apart, bury­ing them 15cm down un­der a mound of earth with a gen­er­ous helping of com­post/mulch on top.

• ya­con plants are al­most com­pletely pest and dis­ease-free so you can just about plant and walk away, wa­ter­ing only when it is very dry.

• har­vest af­ter the first au­tumn or win­ter frosts by gen­tly rais­ing the crown and tu­ber with a fork.

Al­though gar­den­ing books and in­ter­net sites of­ten say not to ex­pect a huge crop from ya­con in the first year, I have found that if I dig over the soil re­ally well be­fore plant­ing the rhi­zome clump and add a good quan­tity of com­post, I can get 1-2 buck­ets of tu­bers af­ter the first 12 months. They do an ex­cel­lent job of aer­at­ing the soil and break­ing up clumps, leav­ing a lovely tilth wher­ever I plant them.

The ya­con plant.

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