Oca: Mission accomplished

I’m sure you remember George Bush’s speech on board the USS Abraham Lincoln, backed by a giant banner that declared “Mission Accomplished.”  This demonstrated that any mission can be accomplished, so long as you define the goals narrowly enough and also that even accomplished missions are likely to be part of a much longer campaign.  Both of these comparisons are apt in this case, but I am, nevertheless, happy to announce that I have oca (Oxalis tuberosa) seed.

Oca seeds are small and my camera is old.

These three seeds come from the cross OC13-S04x05-01.  The mother was Sunset and the father Hopin.  The pod from which these seeds were ejected dropped a couple days before they were ready, but coughed them up anyway after a couple days stored in a test tube.  Now with a bit of experience, I can see that I am no more than a few days away from a dozen or more pods reaching full maturity, which makes me very happy.  It was looking kind of bleak there for a while as so many of my carefully hand-pollinated flowers dropped from the plants.

Anyway, back to the mission.  While this step has been accomplished, it is really just a beginning.  Seeds are no use unless you can get them to germinate, so that is the next phase.  And even a unique oca plant is not really much use unless it turns out to have some trait that is superior to the parents.  So, this will be a long campaign and, like that other mission, it will probably take a lot longer than I’d like to see it done.

But, I have oca seed and the promise of more and, for the moment at least, that is pretty satisfying.

The oca flowering season continues with no sign of slowing down.  The later transplants are just starting to flower, while the oldest continue.  I noticed this morning that two varieties that haven’t yet flowered – BK08516.8 and Amarillo – are budding.  If this keeps up until the frost, I might be able to get enough seed to do a mass sowing next year, which would be fun.

Oca seeds and tubers are sometimes available in our seed shop.

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