(Tropaeolum tuberosum) Among Andean tubers, Mashua, a relative of the garden nasturtium is one of the highest yielding, easiest to grow, and most resistant to cold, to USDA Zone 7 or maybe colder. It also repels many insects, nematodes, and other pathogens, thus making it a valuable plant to intercrop with other species. The tubers about the size of small potatoes have shapes ranging from conical to carrot like. Mashua is high yielding, even under conditions of almost no management. You will receive 2 tubers.
Although it can be grown in many parts of North America, the Pacific
Northwest is especially well suited to mashua cultivation. The tubers should be planted in a sunny location during spring after all risks of frost have passed. Mashua can also be started indoors in pots to get jump start on the season. They can grow in almost any
type of garden soil as long as it is moist. Since the plants are trailing, support may be need.
HARVESTING AND HANDLING
The tubers are ready for harvest in 6-8 months. They form near the
surface and are harvested like potatoes. The tubers can be successfully stored for up to 6 months if cool well ventilated, and protected from strong light.
The sharp flavor of most mashua tubers is reminiscent of hot radishes.
They are usually boiled with meat to form a soup or stew or eaten as a
baked or fried vegetable. In addition to the tubers, the tender young leaves are eaten as a
boiled green vegetable. The flowers are also eaten. Mashua is high yielding and its tubers are rich in carbohydrates as well as other nutrients, Mashua is also traditionally has many folk-medicine uses.