Friday, 9 August 2013

Ocas Pop Up Apace

Oca seedling Oxalis tuberosa
Oca seedling June 2013
During the hot dry spell in July, I was concerned for the safety of the oca seedlings which had appeared, almost magically, earlier in the year as an intercrop amongst the beetroots.

Luckily, the beet leaves offered some shade to the tender seedlings and the majority have made steady growth. Those that found themselves exposed in the full glare of a surprisingly fierce summer sun, I protected with handfuls of grass; it seemed to do the trick.

Oca seedling Oxalis tuberosa
Oca seedling, August 2013
The intense sunshine has since been replaced by some equally intense rain and the vegetable beds are sprouting impressive numbers of weed seedlings. Not to be outdone, yet more oca seeds are germinating and with the warm temperatures and plentiful soil moisture, they're shooting away quite vigorously. Whether they will make sufficient growth to tuberise before the autumn is anyone's guess, but I'm giving them leave to remain just in case.

Now I'm alert to this new development, I've abandoned casual hoeing in favour of scrutinising the crevices and irregularities of the bed surface for yet more oca seedlings. It seems that those who seek will be rewarded - yesterday I spotted some tiny tell-tale cotyledons amongst the leeks. So if you happen to be passing Oca Acres and see me bottoms up like a dabbling duck, I'm merely doing what any other certifiable oca enthusiast in my position would.


9 comments:

Claire Benson said...

Have you been growing these from seeds?

I've been growing mine from tubers I got from Real Seeds. I've grown them in a potato sack in wool compost and regular comfrey/worm tea feeding. They're looking very healthy with masses of foliage but I'm wondering if I'll ever get to see their flowers. I'm guessing that you managed to get seed from last year's flowers?

Rhizowen said...

Yes Claire, grown from seeds. I have over 100 varieties now, the majority of which are seedlings I've raised.

Jay said...

Wow - you get excited over oca like I get excited about my Carosello varieties. Saving seed is one of the best parts of gardening - only to be surpassed by having the seed become something worth being excited about.

Thanks for sharing your enthusiasm with us!

Bill W. said...

Very exciting.

I might try sowing a row outdoors to see how they do. I much prefer letting nature do most of the work.

Do you expect to get any kind of tuber yield from seedlings that are just coming up now?

Rhizowen said...

Hi Jay

Thanks for your comment. I haven't grown Carosello for years - how many varieties have you got?

Rhizowen said...

Hi Bill

I think sowing directly would be worth a go, if you have enough seed Although the seedlings start off tiny, given reasonable conditions they can develop quite rapidly. I'm not sure whether the tiny seedlings will have enough to develop sufficiently to form tubers without a little protection. I'll probably do that to increase my chances of success.

Claire Benson said...

Growing seedlings would be good if for the leaves alone as they make a lovely accompaniment to many dishes. I'm toying with the idea of pesto-ing some so We can enjoy the flavour in winter or paste it over meat before roasting for a lemony flavour.

Jay said...

Specifically Carosello - I have about 11 varieties and 3 varieties of Armenian-type cucumbers. However - like yourself - I am always looking for something new and exciting.

Jay said...

By the way - I noticed beets in one of the pictures on this post. What kind of beets are you growing this year? I am trying a variety called MacGregor's Favorite that looks like a cross between Cylindra and Bull's Blood.

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