Hi! I'm a new reader here...What is maca? How do you use it?
Brown envelopes and grubby fingers - I bet you bake wholemeal bread too.
Maca is an Andean root vegetable that is allegedly a powerful aphrodisiac and sorter-out of women's hormonal things. I haven't grown enough to be sure of its great powers but if this goes to seed I will grow lots next year. You are supposed to eat it.I bought some in pill form and ate it for a while, I think it helped It with the hormones hard to be sure. I got it from http://www.saraschoice.ie/It didn't yield very well but maybe i can adapt it to Irish conditions. It is more radish than swede in size so I guess you could just grow it at a tight spacing for maximum yield. And yes, Owen, I have been known to make brown bread in the distant past. The dirt is too obvious in white.
Ah, new information. I didn't know they came in colours. @Rhizowen, you mean you don't bake wholemeal bread?
I got the seed from http://www.horizonherbs.com/, a packet of red and a packet of yellow. Some in the red packet came out yellow although I may have mixed up the seedlings. The seeds are very small and I sowed them in modules and planted out little clumps. One plant went to seed in the first year and the seedlings came up all over the place. I am killing them to prevent it becoming annual. If I get seed I will direct sow. Sorry about the typos in the last comment. I was so excited about getting so many comments.
I find dough is just the thing to clean your hands after an intensive bit of gardening. Adds extra minerals too. @Catofstripes: yes - rye sourdough = delicious. It will be interesting to see whether the aphrodisiac, hormone balancing properties of maca are retained when grown in a softer Irish climate rather than at 4500m in Peru. I remember spending a pleasant week (felt like three) trapped in a tent at Glengarriff with non-stop rain. Great for filmy ferns, not so sure about maca. Now mashua (anaphrodisiac, special food for women, supposedly), will probably grow just fine and look a darned sight prettier.
I think I'll take a look at the website where you got your seeds from - thanks for the info, I love finding something new!As an aside I'd also like to find some mashua :) I think it's what Joy larkcom refers to in one of her books as the tuberous nasturtium??? And it does look very pretty, reckon i could definitely get away with growing it in the garden and nobody would be any the wiser that it was veg :)
I have tried mashua twice, and it was pretty. I never found any tubers at the end of the year so I have given up. Maybe I will try again sometime. @Rhixowen: Do filmy ferns have any 'special' properties, other than enjoying constant drizzle?
Well, I don't know about their traditional uses (if any),but the fronds are usually only one cell thick and don't have stomata, so they dry out very easily. They can survive drying out occasionally, but the spores need continual moisture to germinate. Because the plants are so small and moss-like, they are probably under recorded. Spores can blow hundreds of miles and when one germinates, it produces a liverwort like structure, the prothallus, which is haploid. This can exist in a vegetative state for years, decades even, before fertilisation occurs and the "proper" diploid fern appears. Blow your nose at the right time of year and you'll probably find fern spores - they're ubiquitous.
Maca seeds are quite easy to grow, they aren't produced abundantly though, some 30-100 seeds each plant, but your plants seem to be bigger than the ones I grow over here. I have an all-red variety from Peru, unfortunately I sow the last seeds a few weeks ago, I do intend to get these to the seeds stage.I'll send some if I have a decent harvest. There should be some adaptabiltity in maca, seeing the different varieties in Peru, but it really doesn't size up over here.Strange that you never had any tubers from mashua, if you're frost-free until the end of october you should be able to harvest some of these. It prefers rich soils and a steady amount of rain.
Thanks for that inormation orrflo. I would love some of your seeds. We could swop if you like. My maca plants are flowering now. I will weed and take anew pic today. I probably didn't look after the mashua very well. We have reasonable soil and drought is rarely a problem. Where are you?
I live in Belgium, in a place with an idyllic name: Scheldewindeke, I know, hard to pronounce for English speaking people, it means: the slight breeze ('wind') that comes from the 'Schelde', which is the name of the main river in Flanders (and quite nearby). The village isn't as idyllic as its name suggests though...I figured you had the ideal climate for growing this Andean stuff, with the exception of maca, and probably ahipa and arracacha as well, these last two require a long growing season and prefer some heat. Maca is also sold as a dried root, or even in powder form, I saw some of that dried powder beeing sold in a small herb and tea shop in Prague, it's actually quite flavourful, the radish-like taste of maca is definitely there,Frank