Blooming in summer
Back in their prime, the Jerusalem Artichokes were healthy and blooming; attracting the native bees. But in the time between drinks, they started to wane. Its important to remind myself, they were destined to die back anyway - even if they probably died back, a little sooner than I'd like.
Three tubers out of the four I originally planted, grew, and we dug a crazy amount of tubers from those few plants. So this is definitely a keeper crop I wanted to save for next year. Although, I recently learned, if you pinch back the blooms, the yields increase. I'm not sure I want to deny the native bees the forage though.
We also picked the last of our Kent pumpkins from the vine. Not many produced, because, as usual, the larger bees weren't always around. Those pumpkin flowers are really made for European bees, because if you see them fully loaded with pollen, they struggle to fly straight! Its really funny to watch. So I wonder if that's why the smaller, native bees, avoid them - unless the European bees have reduced the pollen, first?
Do you watch bees in your garden? I like to observe who turns up to what, and how they operate.
Doing well, when moisture was available
Now onto the elusive Yacon tuber, which is my second attempt at planting here. The previous year's attempt died. I'd heard great things about this edible plant. It was meant to be hardy, delicious to eat and extremely easy to look after. If only that were the case for me. This year has proven to be another miss!
Yacon ~ centre
It grew tall, really quick, then the stalks proceeded to dry out with the lack of rain, and my inability to water them. Before they died completely, however, it was time to dig them up. What was waiting for me underneath the soil? Well, not a lot, apparently.
I got one shrivelled, brown, edible tuber, which was soft and not really edible. There were no red tubers, which are the ones you are meant to use for propagation. Although, there was something worth noting, a little closer up...
It looks to be a brown tuber, re-sprouting. So its possible, I could save this perennial for next year? I've already planted it into a pot.
I'm painfully aware it's too early to plant, as winter is on its way, and this is a warm weather crop. Because of the small size however, I suspect the new shoot won't survive the wait through winter, in to spring. I'll just have to give the container, a warm spot through the colder months, and cross my fingers.
The last of the spoils
In the meantime, we'll just have to savour our last offering from summer, and eat it slowly. Before the native bush rats, find it curing on the tin roof, preferably.