Perennial crops that produce a tasty crop year after year!
Looks like a potato and tastes a bit like a cross between a water chestnut and a pear! Originally from South America, and distantly related to sunflowers, the yacon is a perennial plant producing huge, fuzzy green leaves and attractive yellow flowers. It grows a bit like a Jerusalem artichoke, producing a good crop of very sweet, crunchy, but also nicely juicy tubers. Try them raw in salads or instead of water chestnuts in stir-fries. What's more the yacon's sweetness comes from inulin which is an indigestible sugar, so despite the sweetness it has almost no calories! And the leaves can be used in cooking as wraps, like you would vine leaves. Pale-skinned varieties are available, but we've selected this purple-skinned one, which has improved cold tolerance. Well worth a try!
Originally from South America and a relative of the sunflower and jerusalem artichoke. The plant looks similar to a sunflower and grows to about 1.5m tall. It produces two types of tubers: big smooth ones that are used for eating and smaller knobbly ones in the centre that are edible but commercially these are used for propagation. The tubers have traditonally been eaten raw. Delicious in savoury salad as well as fruit salad, juicing and smoothie making. Currently chefs have promoted their use as a roasted vegetable or cooked in stir fries, soups, stews and curries.
Aftercare - Easy:False
Aftercare - Moderate:False
Aftercare - High:False
RHS Award of Garden Merit:False
Vegetables recommended by the NIAB:False
Award Winners in Fleuroselect Trials:False
Likes Acidic Soil:False
Growing Requirements - Frost-free environment, full sun and sheltered from strong winds. Soil rich in organic matter and free draining. Potassium rich fertiliser (seaweed, wood ash or tomato fertiliser). Regular watering (not to let soil dry out).
When you receive the Super Plugs - Pot them up into 3-5" pots. Grow them on in a greenhouse, polytunnel or well-lit window sill until 15cm tall and outdoor conditions are warm and frost-free. Harden off by gradually exposing to outdoor conditions. Plant in well prepared soil, enriched with compost and grit if you have a heavy soil. Space 1m between plants and 1.5m between rows. Keep irrigated and fed well throughout the growing season. Allow at least 5 month of growth before harvesting. Harvest late October-November, protect tubers from any frost damage. Store for a month before using tubers to increase the fructose content which makes them sweeter; this process can be sped up if the tubers are exposed to sunlight. Tubers store well as long as they are undamaged, take extra care when lifting them out of the ground - do not bruise the tubers. Damaged tubers should be eaten first.
Pests and Diseases - Protect from slugs, snails, caterpillars and rabbits.