Oca

provogirlMay 31, 2011

Has anyone here in CO zone 5 tried growing oca before. I am giving it a shot this year. I have it planted in a container on the south side of my house hoping to extend the season.

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milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)

I did the same two years ago. I tried to keep it covered even when frost came so it could have a good long season. I got absolutely nothing. I've thought to try it again but haven't gotten around to ordering when it's the right time.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2011 at 11:01PM
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provogirl

I read that you have to wait about 2-3 weeks after the frost kills it before you should harvest the tubers. I guess they really start to grow well after the frost kills them...I plan on doing some more reading on them before the fall gets here.
@Milehighgirl- How long did you wait to harvest them after the frost killed off the top foilage?

    Bookmark   May 31, 2011 at 11:42PM
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milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)

provogirl, I am not remembering when I harvested. I know that I did wait a while because I remember being disgusted with myself for not covering them one night and I just let them sit there.

My husband grew up in Bolivia and oca is very common there. The Indians in the Highlands freeze dry them simply by letting them sit out in the sun during the day and then they re-freeze at night until they are dehydrated. If I recall, they are then ground into a powder and re-hydrated and cooked that way. They call it "Chunu". [The "n" has a tilde over it, but GW does not seem to be able to translate that: "Chuñu"]

My guess was that since we are high altitude here, but not nearly so high as the Beni Highlands, and dry, we should be able to grow them here. We are just quite a bit farther from the equator, and we do get frosts too early for them.

I got my oca from Seeds of Change, and planted them indoors in really early spring. Somehow the early planting does not matter as much as the length of days after the summer solstice. Putting them under a low tunnel would be my only guess as to how to get a crop.

Now you've got my curiosity up an I may give it another try.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2011 at 1:59PM
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provogirl

Milehighgirl- Thanks for the info! I noticed you have grown a lot of bolivian veggies so with your HB growing up there that would it that. Have you ever tasted an oca?

I saw oca for the first time in a Seeds of Change catalog but they had a crop failure last year so I couldn't get any from them. I got mine from Territorial Seeds this year. I hope it grows where I have it. It is in its own pot and microclimate.
I do have quite a few covered raised beds that work really well for us here. It may have to be moved to one in the fall.

Sounds like we have quite a few of the same interests in what we grow! We may have to get together for some coffee and garden chat sometime.

Have you ever tried growing yakon?

ProvoGirl

    Bookmark   June 3, 2011 at 3:53PM
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milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)

Provogirl,

Yes, I've tried yacon with the same success. I did bring it in for two years. One year I got one huge tuber and decided to use it for seed instead of eating it. For some reason it did not come back up and when I dug in the pot it had apparently rotted. I was quite bummed.

They are VERY frost sensitive. I tried to cover it each night last year, but even with a nice flannel sheet over it the leaves succumbed. My tomatoes that were under the same sheet showed no signs of damage.

They are a very beautiful plant and worth growing for the plant if nothing else.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2011 at 3:16PM
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Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado

Inside cooling down!

I had never heard of oca, and checked it out when you first posted! Very interesting! It looks like it might be a challenge with our short growing season, but it's still very interesting! Since I'm in taking a 10 minute heat break, I decided to google pics to see what the plants look like, and ran into this site/blog. The guy's (?) from London, so has a LONG growing period, but still some interesting info, and some pretty pics! I enjoyed his post: Oca Yield - Keeping up with the Andean Peasants? !!! Sure seems to me if they grew/grow these things in the Andes, there must be some way for us to grow them around here! I don't have room to try this, but maybe a cold frame with a few light bulbs for cold nites, or some low hoops with a pretty good cover and some bulbs or x-mas lites? Looks like a fun thing to play with!

Back out into the HEAT,
Skybird

Here is a link that might be useful: Growing Oca

    Bookmark   June 7, 2011 at 4:11PM
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So_Cal_Mike

milehighgirl,
the reason your Yacon rotted is that Yacon produces 2 types of tubers, 1.) the small tubers in the "crown" that grown the new plants, and 2.) the large tubers that store energy for the plant... (they will not produce a new plant), those are the ones that you eat.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2011 at 12:47PM
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milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)

So_Cal_Mike,

Thanks for this information. I had not read this anywhere. Maybe I will try again. Do you have any more information regarding Yacon you can share?

    Bookmark   August 30, 2011 at 11:41AM
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4430

Yacon is easy to grow.
Yacon likes less compost(nitrogen).

    Bookmark   November 25, 2012 at 2:06PM
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