A (somewhat early) harvest of yacon

We hope to complete on our house sale soon which means I am harvesting vegetables in the Telford garden sooner than I would normally do.

On Thursday it was the turn of the yacon.  I broke off the edible tubers – the long pointy ones in the picture below – and then set about taking apart the growing shoots for next year’s plants.  Because I am harvesting early these roots are quite small for yacon, but you can actually see the growing points which are harder to show on larger roots.

IMG_1073 yacon

I usually use a knife to cut them up as they are quite hard, but I did find when I got to the last plant that it is possible to break them apart.  I had hesitated to do that before now as I thought I might break off the actual growing tip if I had to wrench too hard.  However breaking seemed to work better than the knife.  I have planted the cut and broken parts in nearly dry compost and will find a cool but not cold place to over winter them in the dry.

As I was trying to find enough pots for the yacon pieces I thought of putting some of the pieces back into the garden. I knew they would not be able to grow, but choosing not to take everything (and not just through a lack of pots) would be indicative of my thankfulness to the garden, to nature, for what I had been able to make use of in the first place.

It was at that point when I saw, for the first time, some point to the practice of some religions to make offerings of food and drink to their gods.  I have always been keen to maximise the yields I get from the garden, to harvest as much as I can to eat and to save as many seeds and other parts to grow for the following year; not doing so would have just seemed like waste.  Now I can see such offerings as a tangible way of saying thank you, to give back something I could use, but choose not to.  I guess it takes to learn earth style wisdom – that natural abundance is more than adequate for human needs and by holding back from taking everything is a recognition of this and a way of demonstrating actual trust in it.


DSCN6847 cardoon seed head

How many seeds might there be on this lovely cardoon head?  Far more than I could ever use that’s for sure.

About Anni Kelsey

I love forest gardens and forest gardening, nature, reading and everything good about being alive. I have written two books - the garden of equal delights (2020) - about the principles and practice of forest gardening; and Edible Perennial Gardening (2014) - about growing perennial vegetables in polycultures, which is basically forest gardening concentrating on the lower layers.
This entry was posted in roots and tubers, Telford Garden and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to A (somewhat early) harvest of yacon

  1. mortaltree says:

    I have a custom of giving the first fruit back to nature. Even if I’m out picking wild blackberries, the first handful I get I give back. It is, as you mentioned, a sign that I trust more will be provided, and an acknowledgement that what I am harvesting is nature’s, whether I grew it or not.
    I appreciate you pointing that out.


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