If you’re growing vegetables and you haven’t tried oca (also known as New Zealand yams), you’re missing out. They’re easy to grow, easy to cook and super tasty!
When we took on the Quest For Veg plot, one of our goals was to grow unusual produce. So when we spotted oca in the Thompson and Morgan catalogue last year, we didn’t hesitate – even though we knew nothing about how to grow them, how to cook them or what they would taste like.
Since our last blog, we have both been fighting one of those stinky autumn colds, and unable to work on our plot. So last weekend, although it was very cold, the weather was dry enough for a wee visit to the plot. We fully expected to find everything overgrown and in a bad state.
Apart from our poor leek patch, that has been adopted by our local fox as a daytime lounge area,
Poor leeks all flattened and chewed
everything else was much better than expected. Continue reading
Almost without trying, we grew some beetroot. We bought a packet of Unwins Gourmet Mix from the garden centre, sprinkled them into the soil and, apart from a bit of watering, pretty much left them to it.
And look what they produced: stunning colourful orbs that tasted as good as they looked.
Their characteristic earthy flavour had a delicious sweetness. We immediately grated one of the white ones raw into a salad. Wonderful!
As well as planting potatoes directly into the soil, we grew some in potato bags that Andrew made. We wanted to compare the yields from direct- and bag-planted spuds.
Here’s how we got on:
We were intrigued when we spotted a packet of cucamelon seeds in the garden centre. But I have to admit that it was the invitation to “explore their cocktail-enhancing prowess” that really piqued our interest.
We were just getting over the shock of discovering that we really like radishes when our plants stopped producing the tasty and colourful edible roots that had become a regular feature on our dinner plates.
When we first sowed the aptly named Scarlet Globe back at the beginning of April, neither of us liked radishes. I’m not quite sure why we planted so many. We had new raised beds to fill and had somehow acquired the seeds, so thought we’d give them a go. And thank goodness we did: they are delicious! We’ve had them in salads, roasted them and even added them to curries.
Quite unexpectedly, Andrew spotted a radish that looked ready to eat.
He carefully extracted it from the soil and here it is: the first vegetable to be sown and harvested on the Quest for Veg plot.
Radish Scarlet Globe
We carefully carried this little jewel home to wash it and try it.
I should say at this point that neither Andrew nor I like radishes. I have wondered why we are growing so many. So we were a little bit apprehensive as we sliced into this tiny prize.