OCA, A SOUTH AMERICAN TUBER TO BE TRIED OUT

Yesterday during a visit to our local Garden Centre to pick up some more seeds, I came across an interesting tuber, it is called Oca (Oxalis tuberosa).  I had never heard of it before and asked the shopkeeper for some information on it, she recommended it, and of course I could not resist bringing some of these tubers home to try it out this growing season. The leaves are apparently like a large Clover leaf (which I like), the flowers are yellow. I Googled it and found some more information on this vegetable, it was used and originated in S.America and used by the Incas. Growing these tubers will be something new to me and I have been looking up some advice because, of course, I want a successful crop. Apparently you plant them in individual little pots until large enough to plant out during the summer, then if you have a small garden like me, you could put them in place of the beans or other summer crops when they are finished.  Later the first frost will or might kill off the foliage but it apparently does not matter because the tubers are said to grow another good bit for the following couple of weeks, after which you harvest them. No doubt I will double check my facts before I take any risks with my precious seed-tubers. They are said to be an excellent source of carbohydrates, phosphorus and iron, as well as providing essential amino acids that promote the health and proper function of muscles, organs, nails, hair, skin and more. An exciting new addition to grow, and also to cook.  Learnt that they grow well in a slightly acidic soil, without the addition of seaweed or other fertilizer, so in fairly poor soil I guess, and that they need at least 6 hours of sunshine a day.

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Other seeds I bought are Sacred Basil, or Tulsi which I am very excited to start using in the cooking, and a dark leafed Kale which will see us through next winter.  Also bought 3 more Jerusalem Artichokes tubers for planting soon, only just learnt that they like a fairly dry soil, that is why my last planting did not work out well, soil too wet!

I bought a little Hypericum perforatum or St.John’s wort plant, never grew it before but it is supposed to be good for tea, though if one is on medicine it has a lot of contra-indications, but I am growing it mainly for it’s perforated leafs.  I put the leafs into oil, leave it in the sun for a few weeks, the oil turns pink, and it is said to be good for nerve pain.  As I have no tunnel or glasshouse I have seed trays in what you could call half a conservatory, and along windowsills, so the house is a bit untidy now but it’s great to see seeds coming up and they should be ready to plant out when the time comes.

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6 thoughts on “OCA, A SOUTH AMERICAN TUBER TO BE TRIED OUT

  1. Wonderful post. It seems that garden centers in Ireland and the UK are more willing to offer unusual things. I would love to try these but no doubt I;ll find them. The St John’s wort I could find and I love it in bloom. I would love to add the oil you make to my herbal medicine cabinet o perhaps I’ll get more this year.

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