A few days ago I harvested my yacon (Polymnia edulis). My season outside is a bit too short to get good yields outside, so I grow in large pots which I move in to the living room in autumn and grow on for 2-3 months. This year I was a bit late and one of the plants had been cut right down by an early frost and the other was badly damaged. Both sent up new shoots when they came into the house. The first harvest of 2021 or the last of 2020?
To my surprise, I noticed today that both yacon (Polymnia sonchifolia) and Madeira Vine (Anredera cordifolia) have managed to flower outside in the garden before I bring them inside for the winter just before the first frost. I’m surprised as the autumn has been colder than normal…maybe this is rather a consequence of the record warmth in June.
Somebody asked me the other day if I use floating mulch (fiberduk / agryl) to be able to harvest all these greens so early. No, no and again no….this is one of the biggest benefits of perennial vegetables….it is totally natural, no microplastics are released into the environment, no oil is needed to plough the fields, significantly less migrant labour is needed and little or no fertiliser and water is needed, it is almost totally free once established and can yield year after year! So, whilst large areas of farmland in the northern hemisphere are being covered by plastic mulches to bring on annual crops for the market earlier, I’d just like to point out that there’s an alternative better way! So, here are the plants that I harvested for yesterday’s delicious green pasta sauce: Armoracia rusticana shoots (horseradish / pepperrot) Myrrhis odorata (sweet cicely / spansk kjørvel) Houttuynia cordata “Chinese Market” (shoots and rhizomes from the cellar; this cultivar is significantly larger than other Houttuynia I’ve grown) (Fish herb, Himalayan water creeper) Allium senescens x nutans (hybrid Siberian onions) Laurus nobilis (bay / laurbær) Brassica oleracea (perennial kales) Crambe maritima (sea kale / strandkål) Taraxacum officinale (dandelion / løvetann) Allium x proliferum (walking onion / luftløk) Hablitzia tamnoides (Caucasian spinach / stjernemelde) Dystaenia takesimana (giant Ulleung celery, seombadi) Oenanthe javanica (seri) Polymnia edulis (yacon) (second picture) plus garlic and chili
Yacon (Polymnia edulis/Smallanthus sonchifolius) also gives higher yields when grown on inside until the end of the year in a large pot; however, it is much less day length sensitive than ulluco and oca…when I had a cold greenhouse, yacon would give at least as good a yield as this by October…
The sweet tasting tubers are becoming quite popular in recent years! Yacon is in the Asteraceae, the roots containing inulin like its edible tubered cousins Jerusalem artichoke and Dahlia.
Perennial vegetables, Edimentals (plants that are edible and ornamental) and other goings on in The Edible Garden