Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Oca: the first attempt

Last march Emma from the Alternative Kitchen Garden sent us a jiffy bag of oca. We were very excited by the prospect of this little known tuber growing on our balcony. So we looked it up, we researched, we devoured every tip we could. And it all sounded so easy.

A Handful of Oca (I have small hands)

The plan was to plant the Oca in a tub and wait. That's it. The tubers only start forming after the autumn equinox and the advice is to wait until the frost kills of the top before digging them up. Of course, with the south west coast path visible from our balcony, we don't do frosts in November. Last winter we had to wait until January for a light sprinkling of frost. The advice said to wait until the first week of December if you don't get those early frosts.

I'll assume almost everyone in Britain can remember why that advice wouldn't have worked last December. By December it wasn't just ground frost (or whatever you call it on a balcony) it was deep freeze. Which made pulling up tubers somewhat impossible. So I though I'd wait until the weather let off a bit which as we where in Torquay and it stays warm here means that it shouldn't be long.

Ha. By the time the weather let off I was too afraid to see what wreckage lay in the pots. We've had brutal winds here for the past few days and when I took Stephen outside to survey the more beautiful survivors he persuaded me to dig the poor things up.

The ones in my hand are the survivors. I managed to get about three times more but the rest had rotted off, presumably in the freeze thaw thing we had going on in January. No, there isn't enough for supper but we'll get some planted up again this spring and hope for the best.

1 comment:

  1. For anyone just starting out with oca, 2010 must have been a very disappointing year. The early frosts meant many people missed the harvest and yields were very low anyway. Hopefully this year will be better :)