Monday, December 6, 2010

Oca - 2010

I grew oca again this year (2010), and had obtained some new varieties through the Seed Savers Exchange (from Frank van Kiersbilck in Belgium) which I planted as well. This year was great for oca. I planted it in an area with better quality soil and our frost here came so late (late November - very unusual for this area) that it had plenty of time to form tubers and I got a bumper crop. Good thing I got it out of the soil in time though. When our frost hit, it hit hard. An arctic blast from Canada came in and at the coldest, it was 6ºF (-14.4ºC) here. Those temperatures will turn oca tubers in the ground to slime, so needless to say, I was carefully watching the weather reports.

Here's the area I grew the oca in, to give an idea of what it looks like from a distance and where it was growing. The other plant you'll notice that's vining up the trellis is mashua, which I'll discuss in my next post:

And here's a photo of one of the plants flowering in October. A good closeup view of the clover-shaped leaves.

Here's pictures of tubers of each of the varieties. Definitely some striking and beautiful variety.


  1. A nice range of varieties, and well done for spotting the crucial time to harvest them.
    I've had good results bicropping oca. You can stack it with corn or tomatoes, but reading your other post gets me thinking ... oca as groundcover for spring wheat, hmmm ...


  2. I am pleased about your success. Straight after my defeat this year am glad I that other humans receive the variety of this kind

  3. Wheat would be an interesting thing to try. I haven't done any intercropping, although I did kind of interplant it with mashua. I think I might give interplanting with wheat a try though. You'd need a non-dwarf heirloom wheat variety that's taller so you could hand harvest the wheat easily, since you typically harvest wheat at the ground to get a good bunch together to form a sheaf, but I think it could be done. The stubble might even act as a kind of insulation for the oca when cold hits and the wheat could shade the oca in the summer, since I know it doesn't like overly high temperatures.