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8 forms of capital active hope agroecology agroforestry alder buckthorn Amazon anxiety apples arthritis back yard beans Bec Hellouin beech tree bees beneficial berries biochar biodigester biodiversity blackberries blackthorn book review brain brassica cage budget build building campesino capital card deck Celtic festivals change changes chemical-free chickens christmas circular clay pot cleansers cleansing milks climate change climate emergency climate grief climate solutions climbers climbing cob comfrey community compost compost teas connection consciousness conservation container cooking coppice coppicing cordial cosmology courgettes crafts crisis crop protection Cross Quarter Festival cultural emergence culture cycles degraded design diary diversity DIY do it yourself dryland earth care Earth's energy ecoculture economics ecopoetry ecosystem ecosystem restoration camps ecosystems edges edible edible flowers education efficiency elder elderflowers elements elixir energy equinox ethics face mask fair shares Fairtrade farming feedback feminine ferns figs film firewood flower essence flowers food food forest food garden footbath forage foraging forest garden forest gardening forests fruit fruit leather fruit trees fungi future future care gardening garlic gift economy gin Give Nature a voice Glennie Kindred global poverty glut grapes greenhouse grief groundcover grow grow food grow your own growing guilds habitat habits handcream harvest harvests hawthorn hazel hazelnut healing shrubs healing trees health healthy soil heart health hedgerow hedging herbal herbal remedies herbal teas herbalist herbs holistic holistic planned grazing home homeless homemade wine homestead hope Hugelkultur humanure hummus hungry gap IBC tanks Imbolc incense increase yields Indigenous inexpensive influence inspiration International Womens Day jam keyline kitchen garden lacto-fermentation Lammas land landscape landscapes life lifestyle limeflowers livelihood livestock living labs logs lotion low cost low-impact Lush Spring Prize macerations Mangwende Orphan Care Trust market garden market gardening marmalade marshmallow mass heater meadowsweet medicinal microbes microfarm mimic mindset mitigation money moringa Mother Earth mulch multifunctional mushrooms native plants natural natural building natural fertiliser natural skincare natural swimming pool nature nature connection nitrogen no dig no waste no-dig November nutrition nuts observe oca October off-grid oil cleansing orchard orchards organic organic gardening outdoor shower oven oxymel oyster pallets pasture-fed patterns people people care peoplecare perennials permaculture permaculture design permaculture magazine award permaculutre permayouth pesto pests philippines pine tree pips pizza oven plant profile plants pollinators pollution polyculture polycultures preserving principles propagating protection pruning prunings psycho-spiritual awareness psychospiritual transformation rainforest rainwater raspberries recipe recipes reduce reed beds regeneration regenerative regenerative agriculture relative location relative matter remedy renewable renewable energy resources restoration reuse revolution rhythms rootstock rootstocks roundhouse roundwood runner beans sage salad salve Samhain schools Scotland scotts pine seasonal seasons seeds selfcare Sepp Holzer september septic tanks sewage treatment shade sheet mulching shrubs skincare sloes slugs small solutions small-scale smallholding social justice soil health solar solutions sowing spiritual spring squash stacking functions stock-free straw straw bale summer sustainable Sweet Bay syntropic systems temperate terraces thistles thrutopia timber timber framing tincture tonic toolkit tools transformation trees upcycle urban veg garden vegan veganic vermicomposting vinegar walnuts waste water water cleansing watering weeds wellbeing wetland wild edges wild food wild garlic wildflower wildlife wine recipes wings winter winter greens winter salads wood stove woodburner woodland woodland management woodlands worms yarrow year-round food yield young people youth zai pits zone 00 zoning

Topics

8 forms of capital active hope agroecology agroforestry alder buckthorn Amazon anxiety apples arthritis back yard beans Bec Hellouin beech tree bees beneficial berries biochar biodigester biodiversity blackberries blackthorn book review brain brassica cage budget build building campesino capital card deck Celtic festivals change changes chemical-free chickens christmas circular clay pot cleansers cleansing milks climate change climate emergency climate grief climate solutions climbers climbing cob comfrey community compost compost teas connection consciousness conservation container cooking coppice coppicing cordial cosmology courgettes crafts crisis crop protection Cross Quarter Festival cultural emergence culture cycles degraded design diary diversity DIY do it yourself dryland earth care Earth's energy ecoculture economics ecopoetry ecosystem ecosystem restoration camps ecosystems edges edible edible flowers education efficiency elder elderflowers elements elixir energy equinox ethics face mask fair shares Fairtrade farming feedback feminine ferns figs film firewood flower essence flowers food food forest food garden footbath forage foraging forest garden forest gardening forests fruit fruit leather fruit trees fungi future future care gardening garlic gift economy gin Give Nature a voice Glennie Kindred global poverty glut grapes greenhouse grief groundcover grow grow food grow your own growing guilds habitat habits handcream harvest harvests hawthorn hazel hazelnut healing shrubs healing trees health healthy soil heart health hedgerow hedging herbal herbal remedies herbal teas herbalist herbs holistic holistic planned grazing home homeless homemade wine homestead hope Hugelkultur humanure hummus hungry gap IBC tanks Imbolc incense increase yields Indigenous inexpensive influence inspiration International Womens Day jam keyline kitchen garden lacto-fermentation Lammas land landscape landscapes life lifestyle limeflowers livelihood livestock living labs logs lotion low cost low-impact Lush Spring Prize macerations Mangwende Orphan Care Trust market garden market gardening marmalade marshmallow mass heater meadowsweet medicinal microbes microfarm mimic mindset mitigation money moringa Mother Earth mulch multifunctional mushrooms native plants natural natural building natural fertiliser natural skincare natural swimming pool nature nature connection nitrogen no dig no waste no-dig November nutrition nuts observe oca October off-grid oil cleansing orchard orchards organic organic gardening outdoor shower oven oxymel oyster pallets pasture-fed patterns people people care peoplecare perennials permaculture permaculture design permaculture magazine award permaculutre permayouth pesto pests philippines pine tree pips pizza oven plant profile plants pollinators pollution polyculture polycultures preserving principles propagating protection pruning prunings psycho-spiritual awareness psychospiritual transformation rainforest rainwater raspberries recipe recipes reduce reed beds regeneration regenerative regenerative agriculture relative location relative matter remedy renewable renewable energy resources restoration reuse revolution rhythms rootstock rootstocks roundhouse roundwood runner beans sage salad salve Samhain schools Scotland scotts pine seasonal seasons seeds selfcare Sepp Holzer september septic tanks sewage treatment shade sheet mulching shrubs skincare sloes slugs small solutions small-scale smallholding social justice soil health solar solutions sowing spiritual spring squash stacking functions stock-free straw straw bale summer sustainable Sweet Bay syntropic systems temperate terraces thistles thrutopia timber timber framing tincture tonic toolkit tools transformation trees upcycle urban veg garden vegan veganic vermicomposting vinegar walnuts waste water water cleansing watering weeds wellbeing wetland wild edges wild food wild garlic wildflower wildlife wine recipes wings winter winter greens winter salads wood stove woodburner woodland woodland management woodlands worms yarrow year-round food yield young people youth zai pits zone 00 zoning

How to Grow, Store and Eat Oca

Maddy Harland grows oca, a South American tuber, and explains how to extend the season, select next year's crop, and store your crop. A delicious addition to the no dig kitchen garden.

Oca is a South American tuber with a lemony taste and pretty leaves. In warm climates Oxalis tuberosa (Oxalidaceae) is a perennial herbaceous plant and can overwinter as underground stem tubers known as uqa in Quechua. The plant is traditionally cultivated in the central and southern Andes for its tubers, which are used as a root vegetable.

In New Zealand it is known as a yam (although it isn’t a true yam) and there are now a range of colours, including yellow, orange, pink, apricot, as well as the traditional red.

In more temperate northern climates, Oca is frost sensitive and is an annual. It has pretty foliage and looks good in a vegetable garden, is easy to grow and harvest. It can tolerate poor soil. What stops its growth is the lower daylight hours of late autumn/winter and so there are just a few tips that can make your harvest larger and with bigger tubers.

Planting oca

I grow this crop in my no dig garden. I usually plant out the tubers direct into the bed in May after the last frosts and harvest before the first ground frosts in October / November as the tubers are delicate and will rot in the ground if it is too cold.

This is quite a short season and so, like yacon, I would recommend starting each Oca tuber off in a pot in the greenhouse or polytunnel in February in maximum light and planting it out in the green once there is no risk of frost. That way, you help the plant to get away faster and extend the growing season and therefore the time for the tubers to swell.

At the end of the season I cover the Oca to protect it from the first light frosts and again extend the season. This year I used Enviromesh because that is what I had to hand. Fleece would be better.

Harvesting oca

OcaTubers.jpeg

Harvesting is easy. Once the leaves have been hit by frosts and before a hard ground frost gently place a hand fork under the foliage and pull. The roots with tuber will come up in one go. You don’t need to dig deep as the tubers grow near the surface of the soil. Compost the foliage and separate out the tubers.

Storing oca

Wash the tubers immediately and leave to drain and dry. Then place in trays and leave on a sunny windowsill for a week. Oca is high in oxalic acid like spinach and benefits from sunlight which decreases the organic acid content and thereby increases the sweet taste of the Oca.

Store in a cool, dark place. Set aside your biggest, healthiest tubers for replanitng in early Spring. Put them into the light and chit like potatoes. They will soon respond.

By selecting the best, you are chosing tubers that will grow into strong plants that will be able to take advantage of our light levels. You can also select for lower levels of oxalic acid (by colour) once you have started eating your harvest.

Eating oca

Oca is one of the highest vegetable sources of carbohydrate and energy. The tubers are a good source of pro-vitamin A (beta carotene), and also contain potassium, vitamin B6 and small amounts of fibre.

Oca can be eaten raw with pepper and lemon juice. It tastes good roasted or boiled and served like potatoes and can be added to stews and soups.

Oca doesn’t take up much room in a vegetable garden and adds pretty foliage and provides an interesting autumn/winter source of food.

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