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Growing local


I have a heap of seedlings needing to be planted (thanks to Addy for supplying the seed some time ago).

I'll have to have a look into this plant again as I'm really not sure where to plant them. How big does the plant grow? Is it heavy? Is it annual or perennial?

Previous discussion and pictures.

Wiki: The jícama vine can reach a height of 4-5 metres given suitable support. Its root can attain lengths of up to 2 m and weigh up to 20kgs.

 Food Reference

The skin is typically peeled before eating it raw. Raw jicama taste is described as crisp, sweet and nutty, similar to a pear or an apple, or a cross between an apple and a potato. It is also slow to discolor when exposed to the open air. Because of this, raw jicama is often used as on raw vegetable platters. As a snack it is served sprinkled with lime juice a little chili powder.  When jicama is used in cooking it tends to take on the flavors of the ingredients that it is being combined with. Therefore, jicama is a nice complement to various stir-fry dishes because it blends well with many vegetables and seasonings.

Most commonly eaten raw, jicama maintains much of its crispness when cooked and can be used as an alternative to water chestnuts. Jicama may also be cooked on its own as a vegetable, sauteed with with other vegetables, used in stir-fries or added to stews.

NOTE: Do not eat other parts of the jicama plant as they may be poisonous.  Mature seeds have a fairly high content of rotenone, a chemical used as an insecticide and pesticide.


For the best root production, remove flowers when you first see them appear. Doing this causes the root to expand in diameter.

After blooming, jicama does produce flat, pea-like pods. These are not edible and contain toxins that can make you sick, so be sure to keep them pinched off to prevent curious children from eating them.

Allow the vine-like stems to grow as a billowy groundcover or upon a short trellis or plant stakes. When the stems' length approaches 36 inches, expect pea-like flowers to appear. Enjoy them, but as soon as they fade, pinch them off to prevent seed pods from forming. Removing the pods refocuses energy into producing larger root tubers.

Harvest the root tubers from the soil no sooner than 4 months of plant growth, when they will be small but edible-sized. Dig up the tubers with a shovel, slicing into the ground no closer than 12 inches at first to avoid damaging a tuber. Make more digs under the plant as more tubers are revealed. If climate allows, waiting to harvest after 8 to 9 months of growth ensures larger roots. Always harvest the tubers when threats of a killing first fall frost are expected.

August 2012
Here's my first crop - not as good as I expected but still nice to have:
Below are the original ones bought from the Caboolture Markets last year - nice even sizes and shapes - very good eating raw:
Below are the ones I bought from the Yandina Markets last weekend (August 2012) also very good eating. The skin is tough but peels off easily:
I kept the large home grown Yicama in the fridge since picking (pulling?) last month. It became a little wrinkled but was still really good eating. I've used it in casseroles and stews where it keeps it's firmness but is al dente.  Lovely roasted - definately my favourite. Nutty and crunchy.
I still have a portion left to use so expect there to be no waste from the crop. Definately a goodie to have growing in the garden.
A few plants grew and are still green but I checked last night at the base of one and found this beauty. Did a small amount of damage with the trowel. There was another further down that I couldn't remove.
I have a couple of other plants still growing - one with about four seed pod.

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Comment by Lissa on December 4, 2011 at 9:20

Yep I'll try another container Marie. I have a large plastic tub left over from the water restriction times - just a matter of finding somewhere I can put it as it's quite large. I will succeed!

Comment by Lissa on December 3, 2011 at 5:45

Two lots I've had sitting in very sunny spots. They died. So the next lot I put around the side of the house which doesn't get so much sun. They died.

I had one lot swimming in water. They died. I had the last lot just sitting in water over their soil mix (marshy). They died.

The only common denominator is the pot.

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on December 2, 2011 at 20:51

My understanding is that Water Chestnuts need sun and lots of it ... it sounds as though yours would be in shade/semi-shade.

Comment by Lissa on December 2, 2011 at 17:58

I just can't keep waterchestnuts alive Elaine :( I don't know if it's the pot I'm using or what, but they all die every time.

These might taste like WC but they are bigger and should be more of them to crop. I'm a little scared to put them in the ground :S partly because of your experience with the rampant thick growth.

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on December 2, 2011 at 13:59

Well if it's similar to Water Chestnuts then personally, with limited growing space, I'd prefer the WCs. At least they are productive in a small area and can be put to one side freeing-up garden space. The Jicama vine I had was totally overwhelming the small trellis I had available. It produced laterals as thick as a couple of pencils and grew feet in a day. What was underground after waiting 9 months was so disappointing. Probably I did not give it the right conditions but I am relying on plants who cope with what I have to offer not me modifying conditions to suit plants. So if Water Chestnuts appeal, grow them if simplicity of cultivation and small space are a factor.

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