Is anyone growing these at any scale? The wikipedia reference seem a bit too rigid and I'd like to know if anyone is actually growing these for their own or larger purposes. What are the growing conditions for your successful cultivation of tiger nuts.
It's the second year I grow Cyperus esculentus.
Last year was a total disaster in the allotment: it got choked by grass (very difficult to weed), and at the end, I got less than what I planted.
This year, I put the two remaining bulbs at home, where the soil is much much better, and where I don't have a weeding problem.
The plants did well (3 times the size they had in the allotment) despite the bad weather (flood and then drought), but I haven't harvested yet.
I know Jack Spiro is a fan of these I would like to try some too but have not got any yet . They have a reputation as being invasive and as they are small difficult to harvest on a large scale but they do make a good cooking oil and the spanish make a nice milk substitute from it if thats your bag .
Living in Anjou , France,
For the many not for the few
I grew tiger nuts this year for the first time using a bog garden environment, muck soil in a large tub placed in a pond so that the water level was 6 inches below the soil line. Plants grew well with very little weed presence, thrived in my summer heat and died back in Oct, producing a fine harvest of tubers. Harvested by placing scoops of soil on a screen and washing off the soil with a hose. The main lesson I learned was to use a soil that didn't incorporate any fibers in it since separating any soil fibers left behind on the screen from the tubers was a bit of a pain. Unlike water chestnuts, a plant that I grow in a similar manner in tubs in my garden pond and is very ornamental in appearance, the tiger nut plant is fairly weedy looking but grows vigorously. Excess tubers are easy to dry in a dehydrator. I've left most of the tubers in the tub out in the garden to be harvested as I need them.
The trick is to grow chufas indoors in a tray container, filled with fine potting soil.
Why? First chufas prefer a long growing season, with warmth, so it might be difficult to get such outdoors, but indoors they grow perfectly fine and very easy! Really they require low care.
Second, they need well draining sandy fine soil, which is unlikely outdoors with loam soils.
Third, chufas look like grass, so any competition by grass or other weeds will seriously reduce their yield. Growing in a container indoors makes weeding much easier.
Fourth: sprouting tiger nuts required warmth (which you wouldn´t get outdoors until early summer), otherwise they sprout only very late in year. Indoors you have that warmrth all the time, so the growing season is prolonged.
Yields are far superior indoors (or for that matter, in a greenhouse perhaps).
I tried both chufas indoors in a container, and outdoors over 2m2.
Indoors was a success, outdoors was a poor harvest.
in Portugal, sheltered terraces facing eastwards, high water table, uphill original forest of pines, oaks and chestnuts. 2000m2
in Iceland: converted flat lawn, compacted poor soil, cold, windy, humid climate, cold, short summer. 50m2
Cyperus esculentus is an emergent freshwater marsh plant that can also grow in dryer soils so you can grow it under bog conditions or in a normal garden bed. An advantage of growing it in bog conditions is many weeds can't tolerate bog conditions. The plants are 2 feet high.
Thanks for the helpful information, Mike. It looks like this is something that might do well in our southwestern Michigan sandy, somewhat acidic wetlands areas. Possible candidate for chinampas? Any idea how they would do growing with water chestnuts?
I grow both plants under identical conditions, but in separate tubs. Both are vigorously growing plants, but the chestnut is faster at spreading from the initial planting location. Water chestnut wouldn't be winter hardy in your location (book says zone 9, although it overwinters fine in my South Carolina zone 7) and I also wonder if your growing season would be long and hot enough for it to produce a decent crop. Although Cyperus esculentus is cold hardy into southern Canada, the cultivated version, tiger nut, originated from Mediterranean populations and the book says zone 8. I am overwintering some outside here and will know this spring whether it is cold hardy here.