The tuberous nasturtium in summary :
Latin name : Tropaeolum tuberosum
Common name : tuberous nasturtium, mashua
Family : Tropaeolaceae
Type : Tuberculous vegetable
Height : 2 to 3 m
Planting distance : Every 50 cm
Exposure : Sunny or even partially shaded
Ground : Rather light, humus, draining
Planting : May June
Harvest : November
You probably know the ornamental nasturtium that is used to flower flower beds in the garden or to control aphids in the vegetable garden. But do you know the tuberous nasturtium ? This climbing perennial from South America is cultivated for its tubers with very original taste and shapes. However, its young leaves and flowers will also add a touch of originality to your recipes.
Planting the tuberous nasturtium
In autumn, prepare your soil by amending it by a contribution of potting soil, of sand even ashes. In fact, the tuberous nasturtium grows best in light soils.
In spring, just before planting, spade the cultivation area by incorporating compost or manure well decomposed.
In early spring (February, March), plant tubers in pots and place them away from the cold. In mid-May, when the risk of frost has disappeared, install guardians every 50 cm. These must be at least 2 m in order to support the plant during its growth. Then, to each tutor, transplant young plants in the ground. For a better harvest, make sure that the feet are planted sunny location.
The tuberous nasturtium being particularly productive, only a few feet will suffice for a family's needs.
Culture and maintenance
The cultivation of the tuberous nasturtium is simple and take not much time. The main maintenance works are ridging, according to the same principle as potatoes. You will then get a larger crop of tubers. You will also need to monitor watering when the weather becomes too dry.
Last detail that is important: it is not necessary to prune the tuberous nasturtium.
Diseases and pests:
The tuberous nasturtium is especially susceptible to attack by pests and parasites. Among these are the caterpillars and the flea beetles (Epithrix spp.) which devour the stems and leaflets of young shoots and adult plants. Like all nasturtiums, it is not immune to attack by aphids (especially blacks).
Harvest and conservation
The harvest is carried out in autumn, when the foliage is gone. To dig up the tubers, use a fork-spade. This will limit the risk of damaging them.
Note that it is possible to leave the tubers in the ground in winter and harvest them as you go. However, they risk being attacked by rodents. If you want to avoid this problem, store your harvest in dry sand and keep it in a dark place.
The tuberous nasturtium in the kitchen
It is possible to consume tuberous nasturtium multiple ways :
- the young leaves can be incorporated into your summer salads;
- the flowers will bring an original touch to your dishes, as well as a little spice;
- the tubers, on the other hand, can be eaten raw or cooked; they will surprise you with their slight cocoa aftertaste.