Winter 2018 was spent deciding what vegetables we wanted to try, focusing again on the new or usual.
Again we were tempted by South American vegetable tubers so we ordered Mashua, pronounced Mash-wa (Tropaeolum tuberosum), a perennial of the nasturtium family.
As they were a little expensive, we bought just two roots and decided to plant them at either end of the plot.
They were planted in pots
in the greenhouse to protect them from the frost.
Being a climber, they went bananas in the greenhouse growing all over the place. We had to trim them back a few times before we managed to get them planted out.
I have since learned that stem cuttings can be taken at this point, but I am kinda glad I didn’t as these things grew like they were on steroids.
The one at the bottom of the plot behaved itself slightly by growing
up and along the fence – fortunately just stopping short of hanging into the next door gardens.
The one at the top end of the plot, near the shed, decided it would make a half-hearted attempt at growing up the fence but left to its own devices when we went away for a week’s break, it spread itself right across the path and in among all the other vegetables.
We had read that Mashua should be be quite hardy and should be harvested when the top growth dies back. So, we harvested one plant at the end of January.
As we weren’t sure what to expect, I decided to dig up the one with the least top growth. You can see from the picture that about one square foot of soil yielded around two and a half pounds of roots (in new money: about 30cm x 30cm patch of soil yielded around 1.2kg).
After careful washing we were able to see that these white tapered tubers have little purple eyes.
They were included in a mixed vegetable roast alongside red and yellow oca, potatoes, Chinese & Jerusalem artichokes, all home grown, all very tasty.
Would you like to try growing mashua?
I have now harvested the second mashua, and found regrowth the on a number of tubers. So I’ve divided them into three piles: one lot to replant, another to eat and enjoy, and a few to give away to followers chosen at random on Sunday 10 March 2019.
Just subscribe to this blog and comment below: “I would like to try mashua”. We will post the roots to the lucky subscribers (if we’re able to).