Mashua and Ulluco: Rainy day seedlings

Mashua (Tropaeolum tuberosum) is one of the few Andean root crops that is reportedly easy to grow from seed.  It is happy self- or cross-pollinating and produces lots of flowers which grow into clusters of 3 to 4 seeds.  The seeds are regarded as easy to germinate.  They come up sometimes as volunteers in mild […]

Ulluco: If you’re not bored yet, I’ll keep working on it

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Well, it appears that we have cracked the ulluco code.  Since our first volunteer seedling last year, we have now sprouted three more seeds under controlled conditions.  I couldn’t be more pleased.  In addition to being one of my favorite plants, I’ve spent more time in the pursuit of ulluco seed than anything else that […]

Ulluco: Seedling Progress

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On February 6th, I noticed that our first ulluco seed had sprouted in the greenhouse.  In the three weeks since then, it has grown pretty rapidly, judging by the results reported by Lempiainen in 1989 in the paper Germination of the Seeds of Ulluco.  As of today (day 21), the seedling has opened 3 sets […]

Ulluco: 500

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This has been another exciting year on the ulluco (Ullucus tuberosus) front.  Last year, I was able to collect almost 100 ulluco seeds, which is a rather rare event.  The last published work in English that reported production of ulluco seed was in the early 1990s, although there are some publications in Spanish that at […]

Ulluco: Ulluco Seed 2: This Time It’s Boring!

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Sequels are almost always disappointing and the followup to last year’s ulluco seed discovery is no exception.  I had hoped by now to be able to report germination of some of the seeds that I collected last year, but I can’t do so conclusively.  I think that a couple of seeds have germinated and then […]

Ulluco: 2013 harvest

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It has been a busy couple of weeks, so I am behind in posting photos of our ulluco harvest.  It turned out to be a pretty good year for ulluco.  There were low points; some of the varieties that I got in long distance trades produced very little (the white one with pink spots disappeared […]

Summer heat and Andean crops

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This was a pretty normal year on the coast of Washington.  We had a cool winter, a cool spring, a cool summer, and so far, we’re having a cool fall.  We’re close enough to the ocean that the temperature of the Pacific just off shore is a much better predictor of our temperatures than anything […]