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Chufa Misadventure  RSS feed

 
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Once upon a time I discovered the land of edible weeds. I read a lot. I devoured the Petersons guidebooks. My first information on chuffa stated that the tubers could be roasted, and brewed into a coffee like substance.

Imagine my delight when a few plants showed up in my garden. AWESOME! Free stuff! Right?

Well… yes and no. I have clay dirt. It is slooowly becoming clay soil. (Thanks Redhawk) Those tubers hide very well in clay. Or maybe not even develop? But the chufa appears to be a heavy feeder, as my desired crops do poorly in chufa territory. Fast forward 7 years, and this chufa has invaded roughly 25X40 foot area.

Did you know that chufa spreads by seed? Chufa spreads by teeny tiny thread like rhizomes? Chufa spreads by tubers? Chufa spreads in my nightmares? It DOES make a nice mulch. In areas not already infested by...CHUFA! And do not let that chufa form seeds, and forget to harvest 'em for food. Ahem.

Now that part of my garden is in wood chips, I have discovered… drum roll…TUBERS!!  Did I mention that I don’t like coffee? WHY did I get excited over a substitute for coffee?

Today, I discovered a new to me Green Deanne article on chufa! Sooo… Lunch! For 4 YEARS!!! AAAAAAAAHHHHHH!!! http://www.eattheweeds.com/cyperus-esculentus-rotundus-for-lunch-2/

So, I now know to not allow edibles of little use to me, to invade my garden. I hope this rant is of use to you.

Oh, yeah. A question for the Wise Permies. What is next in the order of succession plant? What can I grow, to crowd out chufa?
Yellow-Chufa-with-seeds-2-ft.jpg
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Chufa-Nut-and-String-Root-Mat.jpg
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pollinator
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Chuffa is a favorite food of wild turkeys. Plenty of turkeys in the mountains & woodlands of east TN. Perhaps you could catch & release some wild ones in your part of the state??? I'd check with a game warden or the fish & wildlife department first. I recently moved from a place that was a rescued & rehabilitated wild turkey release area in the '60s. Over 50 years later we still had large flocks of turkeys around our house almost daily. Have a few turkeys roaming around the new place but want more. Many more. Intend to plant chuffa. Not in the gardens but out in the woods for the birds.

Try growing chickory for coffee. No wait, that's how your nightmare started. 
 
Joylynn Hardesty
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Chickory. Ha!

While they don't frequent my backyard, wild turkeys are hereabouts. We ocaisionaly pass them as they run along the roadside.
 
pollinator
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Coffee subsitute? Why not Horchata?
True chuffa (rather than  nutsedge) is probably not going to survive in my zone, but I'm going to try it in a container.
I would think it would br an ideal plant for pastures pigs or geese.
 
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I'm a bit confused here... Chufa is a superfood.  You have to look up many of the recipes by the name of "tiger nut".  These are also a very good catfish bait, again search youtube for tiger nut catifsh bait.  You can even make a milk like almond milk out of chufa.  I hope that your abundance doesn't go to waste
 
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Sounds to me like you have two options:

1, Embrace chuffa whole-heartedly for its milk, oil (produces more per acre than palm oil), and rabbit forage, or

2, sheet mulch the whole place until it's dead.

Maybe there's a third option: grow several successions of very tall, dense grasses, like rye and sorgum, without tilling in between. They will at once crowd it out and shade it out. If you do it repeatedly, you will create loads of mulch to improve your soil at the same time.

-Nathanael
 
Joylynn Hardesty
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William:
A food that takes more energy to harvest, than it gives, is not going to be harvested in my world. I grow food (some of which ARE weeds) that we like to eat. As I weed the wood chipped areas, the chufa shall be consumed. But the clay areas, must be sifted out like an archeology site. Clay does not like to sift! Unless you till the crap out of it. Tilling is something I'd like to get away from.

Chufa will never be gone from my place. I just want it gone from my garden!




 
William Bronson
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Totally get that! The very reason I don't harvest lamb quarters.
 
William Wallace
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That makes total sense.  Somehow I didn't pick that up from your initial post.  Here's a question, many vegetables like radishes are used to break up the soil and left in the ground to rot.  This won't happen to Chuffa, because it will continue to spread?
 
Joylynn Hardesty
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Nathanael Szobody wrote:
Maybe there's a third option: grow several successions of very tall, dense grasses, like rye and sorgum, without tilling in between. They will at once crowd it out and shade it out. If you do it repeatedly, you will create loads of mulch to improve your soil at the same time.

-Nathanael



I like this. Would you grow these together, or in succession? Now is not the time though. Maybe start this winter. I'll try to do turnips and kale and mustards. These have tended toward winter kill the last few years though. Our ground has been freezing for a couple weeks at a time, instead of the former scattered days of freeze. I haven't tried covering them with tarps yet.


What tends to sprout with a brasciea nurse crop, for spring emergence?  Maybe crimson clover? It stays low until the spring warms up. It appears to still be winter hardy. Thinking as I type...

How about, brasciea, under seeded with clover, then in spring, poke sorgum, and whatever through the still growing clover to sprout as clover dies in May?

Any additional ideas?
 
 
Joylynn Hardesty
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William Bronson wrote: Totally get that! The very reason I don't harvest lamb quarters.




Now that's funny! We do eat lambsquarters in salads! Not the seeds though.
 
Nathanael Szobody
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Joylynn Hardesty wrote:
How about, brasciea, under seeded with clover, then in spring, poke sorgum, and whatever through the still growing clover to sprout as clover dies in May?

Any additional ideas?
 



Might work. But the point with the tall grasses is to completely close out the soil and the sun,  so a dense mono-crop was what I had in mind.
 
Joylynn Hardesty
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Hmmm. I'm tired and maybe slow to convey my theory.

Thick thick seeding of brasciea in September so it will get large enough to maybe survive the winter. (local timing) More than one type for variety in our diet. Soon after sprouting, two weeks? Reseed with crimson clover. This will sprout under the leaves of the turnips etc., (I hope) and stay low until about last frost. Soon after last frost, the brasciea go to seed. Meanwhile, clover is getting taller, and goes to seed before it gets really hot, also smothering brasciea to decompose.

Okay that succession, in my theory will keep the ground covered until after the time chuffa sprouts. Without any rush to get it covered in the spring, when so much other stuff is needed, and this would get put off until tomorrow ... tomorrow....


Then as clover starts to fade, try my hand at uhhh... crimping? And plant something through the clover. Something that will shade the ground completely. For me, I'm not sold on the idea of sorghum in my garden. It doesn't do great for me. Something to do with it's cousin corn passionately hating my guts.

Oooh! maybe cowpeas! They can be seeded fairly dense.

I'm not opposed to a grassy plant, I welcome any suggestions. The corn genus just doesn't like me.
 
Joylynn Hardesty
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Oh, and the clover I mean grows very thick and to about.2 1/2 feet tall locally. Maybe what I meant was red clover?
 
Nathanael Szobody
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Gotcha Joylynn sorry, I'm the slow one. That should work fine as long as you have a way of sowing a grass very thickly in the existing clover. You could probably just broadcast it before you crimp the clover.

Corn and sorghum originate from two different continents,  and sorghum is much less demanding on the soil and water.

Cowpea would not outcompete chuffa, because it would not close out the soil surface with its roots. It will shade the soil,  but the chuffa will just grow longer to poke its head out the top of the foliage. Remember, chuffa is a grass,  and legumes and grasses are COMPLEMENTARY. you need another grass to out-compete a grass. The same goes for clover;  I think the chuffa will do just fine amongst clover until a tall and dense grass closes it out.

However, try rye. It can be shown broadcast in the fall, covered with straw, and it will pop up in the spring.  If you sow rye densely, it will grow tall and thickly. Then right before it produces seed, just crimp the whole thing flat with a long 4x4.

I have not done this myself, but I have seen it described with photos. Right before you trample it, broadcast another layer of grass. The mulch created by all the rye layed flay should keep the seed moist enough to sprout. If not, just keep it watered. This will give you two successions of grass in one season.

Not to be a pessimist, but I think you would have to do this two years in a row. Because a chuffa has its tuber that it can draw energy from for a long time even without access to sunshine and nutrients. You have to maintain your siege until its supplies run out

You could do your brasciea-clover succession, followed with sorghum for season 1, see how that does and follow it up with fall planted rye and summer sorghum or rye again. At very least your going to end up with some very organic soil!
 
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I still don't know whether you are talking about the real chufa of the weedy one. Chufa (the real one) is still on my want list. But if it's that weedy?
 
Joylynn Hardesty
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Well It looks to me like the chufa, yellow nutsedge pictured in the article from Eat the Weeds from the first post. But I didn't buy it pre-labeled. It appeared all by itself. I'm assuming that the article is about "real chufa". Common names can be confusing.

In my climate, this plant has its' above ground parts killed by frost.
 
Nathanael Szobody
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Joylynn Hardesty wrote:Well It looks to me like the chufa, yellow nutsedge pictured in the article from Eat the Weeds from the first post. But I didn't buy it pre-labeled. It appeared all by itself. I'm assuming that the article is about "real chufa". Common names can be confusing.

In my climate, this plant has its' above ground parts killed by frost.



So have you tasted it?
 
Joylynn Hardesty
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The seeds and underground nuts taste "nutty". I can't get any more specific than that. Not bad, not awesome, to my taste buds.
 
Nathanael Szobody
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Joylynn Hardesty wrote:The seeds and underground nuts taste "nutty". I can't get any more specific than that. Not bad, not awesome, to my taste buds.



The ones I grow remind me of coconut...
 
Joylynn Hardesty
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William Wallace wrote:Here's a question, many vegetables like radishes are used to break up the soil and left in the ground to rot.  This won't happen to Chufa, because it will continue to spread?



Sorry, I managed to skip over your question. In my climate, chufa dies back ONLY above ground. So this year's tubers re sprout next spring. In the past, turnips (probably radishes too) would also overwinter. Recent winters, our freezing temperatures are lasting longer, as in days rather than hours. Maybe in a few more years, chufa won't overwinter.  
 
Joylynn Hardesty
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With further observation, I have an adjusted plan.

In the area where I have a lot of shade, chufa has become weak. YAY! This includes shade from a Mulberry tree with cowpeas also in this shade. Elsewhere, from low growing plants, such as sweet potato.

Okra-with-Sweet-Potato-mulch-1.jpg
[Thumbnail for Okra-with-Sweet-Potato-mulch-1.jpg]
 
Joylynn Hardesty
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I’ve got a variety of turnips, mustard and kale there now. I have decided to add a mix of mostly winter rye, and hairy vetch, and some chicory. No. The chicory is NOT for coffee. I like to eat the greens. I love to see the flowers.

I’m thinking to under seed with a few cowpeas, hoping for minuscule nitrogen fixing. I’ll crimp the winter rye, and hairy vetch in late spring, and inserting a bunch of sweet potatoes. I’m not purchasing the barnyard grass variety I had considered before, just trusting in nature and my harvested local seeds Maybe I’ll try some other transplants where the chufa is less of a problem.

The super local authority (yon Hunny) will require whatever grass is there to be under 9 ish inches tall. So mowing will be happening.

What do you think?
 
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