Mashua – Tropaeolum tuberosum

£5.99

PLANT IN A 1L POT – UK SHIPPING ONLY FOR THIS ITEM

Mashua – Tropaeolum tuberosum an Andean tuber crop and nasturtium relative which can be grown for its edible leaves, flowers and tubers. It will scramble and climb between other plants and the leaves can be used as a peppery salad leaf. Flowers arrive after the autumn equinox and carry on until the really hard frosts hits. Tubers are usually harvested in December, some can be left in the ground with a good mulch for early growth of the leaves the following year. The tubers have quite a strong aniseed/cabbagey taste which divides opinion! and there are many ways to prepare them. But as a leaf crop Mashua is well worth growing as an alternative to nasturtiums and is very resilient to pests. The flowers have a nice aniseed flavour and are great for bees really late in the season. Supplied as a plant in a 1L pot. This variety produces large creamy white tubers.

Out of stock

Mashua - Tropaeolum tuberosum an Andean tuber crop and nasturtium relative which can be grown for its edible leaves, flowers and tubers. It will scramble and climb between other plants and the leaves can be used as a peppery salad leaf. Flowers arrive after the autumn equinox and carry on until the really hard frosts hits. Tubers are usually harvested in December, some can be left in the ground with a good mulch for early growth of the leaves the following year. The tubers have quite a strong aniseed/cabbagey taste which divides opinion! and there are many ways to prepare them. But as a leaf crop Mashua is well worth growing as an alternative to nasturtiums and is very resilient to pests. The flowers have a nice aniseed flavour and are great for bees really late in the season. Supplied as a plant in a 1L pot. This variety produces large creamy white tubers.

About

Yacón (Smallanthus sonchifolius) has a similar appearance to a sunflower but produces tiny yellow flowers. The roots taste refreshing straight out of the ground, but are much sweeter if given a period of sunlight (see below). Yacón roots are sweet but low in calories due to high fructooligosaccharide (FOS) content. They can be grown with other companions, we have tried growing Yacón with Mashua which worked really well. Because they take their time to grow, it is possible to plant some quick crops in between the plants early in the season.

How to grow

Plant out in a sunny position about 60-70cm apart. Yacón likes water and soil rich in organic matter. It will thrive in soil that is potassium rich, you can use seaweed or wood ash to increase potassium levels. Or a home made comfrey feed, or mulch of chopped comfrey leaves will help. It only has moderate nitrogen needs, too much nitrogen will hinder the growth of the storage roots. It can be grown as an annual or perennial and if left for a second or even third year, you will get larger and more numerous storage roots, enough to fill a wheelbarrow from one plant! We usually lift some plants at the end of the first year for eating and propagation material, and leave some to grow on for a further year. Depending on how cold the winter is, Yacón will survive in the ground with a good mulch of compost as long as the soil isn’t frozen solid. Yacón do most of their growing towards the end of the summer and into autumn reaching 1.2 – 1.5m tall, which is when the vivid yellow flowers appear right at the end of the season.

Harvesting

Harvest the large storage roots once top growth has died back in late autumn. The storage roots will keep well in sacks or bags, you can leave some on a sunny windowsill which will give them a sweeter taste. As the skins go a bit wrinkly, the flavour becomes sweeter and more like a refreshing pear / melon taste.

Propagating more plants

When you lift your Yacón plant, you will notice the large storage tubers, but also a crown of knobbly rhizomes at the base of the stem. Remove all the large storage tubers and leave the crown of rhizomes with a few smaller tubers attached. These can be stored in dry sand in a frost free place over winter. In the spring you can carefully cut up the crown to create your own rhizome sections for propagating new plants. You can get anything from about 10-30 rhizome sections from one crown, so you can generate a lot of new plants from a single crown.

In your shopping trolley