Groundnut (apios americana) Harvest 2009

wild_foragerNovember 29, 2009

Since many people probably do not know anything about groudnuts I thought I'd make a post (previous harvest post). I just harvested mine today. They ARE a legume, with edible pods/peas (though they rarely pollinate without the right insect) and edible tubers as well.

The tubers grow larger every year if you don't eat them.

Both of my plants were growing in 1.5/2 gallon pots (not sure of exact size). I could tell when I harvested them that this was a limitation as the center was empty and the tubers were in rings as the roots wrapped the pot, so next year they will be sharing a 20 gallon pot. I don't want to put them in the ground because they will never come out if I do.

As you can see in the images below there are two MOTHER tubers (as I call them). The first is on it's third year and the second one has been alive for two years. Strangely, the second plant put most of it's energy into the mother tuber and not into making additional tubers. I expect this is because it had less sun than the other, so I will be experimenting with different conditions next year. The pot that had more sun also had a smaller harvest, and put significant growth onto it's mother. Again, my guess is that this is because I went from full sun to only 2-4 hours of a sun a day. As you can see this plant does grow in those conditions but I expect a much bigger harvest next year with these in full sun.

Enjoy the pictures!






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Very nice. I planted three Apios roots this year and believe they died out. I suspect they didn't handle our heat and competition with Bermuda grass.

Tahlequah, OK

    Bookmark   November 29, 2009 at 10:53PM
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hemnancy(z8 PNW)

wild forager- If you are interested in making a trade for one or two of your small tubers, let me know. I'm ordering seeds of a few native plants with edible tubers this fall but Apios is hard to find. I have a lot of Insuk's Wang Kong beans, and other pole beans, too.


    Bookmark   November 29, 2009 at 11:10PM
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Wild Forager, those are some big mother tubers! Wonder how much bigger they could get?

What growing conditions do they like? I've read they grow near water, did they need alot of watering?

What were the beans like? Were they small and and almost round? Do you have any idea how long the seeds stay viable?

Did you taste any of the pods? What did you think?

    Bookmark   November 30, 2009 at 12:17PM
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Happyday, those are indeed large tubers, but I have read that they can get much larger. This is a lightly cultivated strain, and the documentation said "basketball size" tubers were possible. I'll have to see that to believe it.

As for the pods, I don't know. Mine have never pollinated, and once I managed to trigger the complex flower to pollinate itself but the pod died of heat exposure or something before it grew very much. I believe there is some sort of swamp fly that is the main pollinator but no one knows for sure.

And yes, they like lots of water. I just made sure to water mine enough that the top soil looked moist whenever possible. They can't be overwatered like some garden plants, and they can also tolerate dry conditions for a bit.

The conditions that I think are likely to be best are moist, sandy loam type of environments with plenty of sun. But they do seem to be tolerant of adverse conditions.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2009 at 4:19PM
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Cool. Groundnut is on my acquisition list.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2009 at 8:15AM
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