Winter is coming and that forces hard decisions. We have more ocas to winter over than I had planned for, particularly since I didn’t expect to be able to both produce and germinate seed this year. So, our 58 sown and volunteer seedlings have been living outside, coming in to the porch only on nights when freezing temperatures threatened. Now, we face a week or more of freezing temperatures and I can no longer delay.
I chose to harvest the largest of the new ocas, which had grown up to 5 gallon buckets, and keep all the rest in their more space-efficient quart and 4 inch pots. These will have to survive in their crowded quarters, hopefully yielding up at least a couple of tubers each so that I can continue them next year.
As for the harvested seedlings, it was about what I expected. They could have used at least a few more weeks. They are relatively small and pale, but still more than enough material to plant out and give them a real evaluation next year.
These are really only notable because they are, as far as I’m aware, the first new North American ocas. (Incidentally, if I am wrong about that, please let me know by sending me all of your new varieties.) Across the Atlantic, Rhizowen at Radix, Ian at Growing Oca, and Frank at The Vegetable Garden have been doing this for years and somehow have managed not to inflict too many of their botanical baby pictures on you. I have no such reservations.
So, with no further ado, here they are:
This was the most vigorous of the plants. This is not its full yield, as I had already robbed it of its five largest tubers to share. (If I sent you a new tuber to try, this is the one.)
Second largest of the seedlings. This one had very red stems, so I hoped for a darker tuber. Often dark coloration develops late or only on exposure, so this one may still darken up considerably.
Kind of a disappointing yield from this one, but I won’t judge any of them until they have grown from tubers.