Eating is an agricultural act - Wendell Berry

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

tuber january

this new year we got a tuber treat from the farm. after our potato growing fiasco, we planted a few varieties of tubers that are known to grow in the humid tropics. these paid off well.

elephant yam (senai kizhangu in tamil and suran in hindi)

we cut a full grown yam with a sprout into 3-4 pieces in such a way that every piece retains a part of the sprout. we got our initial seed from our friends at green local. we then planted these pieces into a 2x2x2 feet pit with a lot of manure and mulch. we feel we can reduce the pit size to 1x1x1 foot next time. this was planted in late april with the help of one of our friend shankar who was visiting at that time. we watered the pits regularly till the monsoon took over. the plants grew through the year and wilted after the end of NE monsoon. nice pictures of various stages of the plant growth can be seen here. we dug up to find the treasure in jan. each of the pieces had grown into a full yam @3kg/tuber. we plan to replant most of the harvest to scale up for next season. yam stores well over months and is a tasty vegetable to cook.

vethalai valli kizhangu
(betel leaves tuber)

we got this tuber from our friends at pebble garden, auroville. this is a vine with a leaf structure similar to betel leaves and hence the name. grows and climbs vigorously onto anything and is quite hardy. we harvested and cooked the tuber. it feels and tastes like a combination of elephant yam and colocaesia yam.

tapioca (mara valli kizhangu)

sticks of mature plant is planted on a mound in april and watered till rains take over. the plant grows tall and tuber forms below. if the soil is fertile, loose and friable, the tuber branches and grows thick. its very tasty to cook fresh tapioca. we just steam boil with a little salt and have the tuber instead of rice. unfortunately this tuber does not stay beyond a couple of days. so its harvested and cooked fresh. these are also par boiled and sun dried for storage.

all of the above nourished us with over 20kgs of food this jan.