That's Ian's Oca test bed blog, this is only my second season growing Oca whereas Ian has been at it for a while. The basis of my knowledge of Oca is based very much on his blog and advice, just an attempted adaptation to the colder, wetter west of Ireland climate.
Last years tubers, this years seed
The back yardLast year I grew Oca, sourced from Christoph at Macalla farm on Clare Island.
This has the advantages of saving space for starters. It is designed to fit in a nook in the garden that would not otherwise have been utilised on very shallow ground.
Rock should provide extra warmthIn addition, with a little thought this method will also increase the heat and soil depth available to the crop throughout its growing season, at least that's the theory.
So, where to start? Well, my seed tubers were saved from last year with the intention of growing them again.
Over the winter they were kept in a basket on news paper in a cool dark place.
As Ian advised me, when they are ready to be planted they let you know, they start sprouting fresh green shoots.
Tubers sprouting, ready to rockSo it was off to a local garage in Cill Ciaran where 6 tyres that would probably have ended up as landfill were very kindly given to me free of charge, and more if I wanted.
It should be possible for any one who knows a garage / tyre centre to be able to source these.
Seaweed base, rocks in cavityNow, rocks retain and radiate heat, so the first tuber tube was placed in a very rocky corner dug out of a crag to give an even base using a chillington hoe, straight forward.
The cavity of the tyre was filled with the fist sized rocks that came out during digging, soil set aside.
Old turf dustFrom the base of last years turf stack I pulled a few buckets of small, powdered turf and roughly sieved in what is best described as peat moss, again the idea being moisture retention and slug deterrent.
There is no need to shell out €25EUR on a garden riddle, chicken wire between two tyres will do the trick, just dump on turf dust / stoney soil and give it a bit of going over with a hoe, it's another job for my now favorite tool, the chillington.
Sieve in useOnto that went a thin layer of roughly sieved soil, throwing away weeds and roots, adding the small stones into the tyre cavity.
Tubers in place
Basic anti-slug measure - turf ash boundryThe tyres on standby to be added later in the growing season are also being used by me as nursery beds for slow growing plants like leeks that will replace fast growing plants or harvested crop's later in the season.
As always, thanks for reading - if you have anything to add to this post, or any comments or even if you found it of use - please do take the time to comment, I really appreciate the feedback.