And the Results Are In!

You may recall that last spring I announced I was trying some fun, new-to-me things in the garden this year. One of those exotic vegetables was Oxalis tuberosa, a.k.a. oca. Well, after a slow start, coddling it through the summer and protecting it from the cold it finally died back on top and I was ready to dig.

Pulling back the row cover this is the scene I found.

Oca Devastation

It’s a little hard to tell from this bad picture in bad lighting, but the voles appear to have taken advantage of the protection of the row cover I put over the plants. They had tunneled all over around and probably through the roots and chewed off most of the stems. The little pests have been just terrible this season and I often see them rocketing out of our plot into one of the neglected neighboring plots where they have plenty of cover. Needless to say, it didn’t take me long to harvest the oca crop this year.

Lonely Oca

Yup, that’s it. A single, centimeter long tuber and it’s damaged to boot. I don’t think the voles ate them all. It actually looks like they just didn’t form. On one of the plants I pulled out there were places along one of the stems that had rested against the ground where roots had gone down and tiny tubers were just starting. I’m guessing the reason oca isn’t grown around here is the shortness of the season. As much as I like to experiment I’ll take this as a reminder not to push the limits too much and to do a lot of research before diving into something new.

That’s two successful new crops—the peanuts and Malabar spinach—against one clear failure. So I’m ahead, right? I’m still open to trying new things so if you have any fun suggestions, I would like to hear them.


11 thoughts on “And the Results Are In!

  1. Oh I feel your pain! when I tried to grow this there was nothing left either and I can’t even blame voles, perhaps it was rats! Yuk!! I didn’t have luck with peanuts either! Malabar spinach though was a winner though!

    1. I’m thinking invisible, underground crops are the riskiest experiments. Unless you go digging around all season there’s no sure way to see if you’re succeeding. A spinachy vine that grows right up past eye level? No questions there!

  2. You are definitely ahead and well done for experimenting! I grow less vegetables than you so I am much more boring. At the moment I am enjoying Brussel sprouts which I love and are very easy to grow here. I have been harvesting them for a month now and they will last all winter. Is it something you grow? Amelia

    1. Yes, I’m growing only two Brussels sprout plants but they are producing like crazy. One year I was still picking them after Christmas with ice on them and they were so good.

      1. In the U.K. they say Brussel sprouts have to go through the first frost before they taste really good but I would not agree with that. Perhaps it used to be like that for old varieties. Certainly the cold does not seem to bother them.

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