Origin: Australia - Garden Larder breeding program
Mashua is a relative of the garden nasturtium, originating in South America. It produces large edible roots.
Mashua has a well deserved reputation as having a flavour that is an 'acquired taste'. It is usually hot and spicy with a disagreeable floral flavour.
Luckily the Garden Larder breeding program has developed this variety 'Ista' that has a much better flavour. it is still hot and spicy when raw but after cooking (roasting) it loses nearly all that to become mild and pleasant, similar to potato.
The tubers are long and cream coloured with red speckles.
The only other Mashua variety available in Australia is 'Ken Aslet' which has a prettier tuber but a more disagreeable flavour.
When to sow: October to December
Plant Type: Edible tuber
Uses: Mashua is best roasted with vegetables but can be microwaved until tender. No need to peel as the skin is smooth and thin.
Growing Conditions: Mashua must be grown under shade in most parts of Australia, like garden nasturtiums they hate hot sun. They also like to be mulched with straw or wood chips. You can easily make a shade bed cover with shadecloth and tomato stakes or bent poly pipe. Pin the shadecloth down with tent pegs or something similar. If you already have a fernery you can grow them in there. hey must be watered frequently in dry weather. it can be grown as a clump on the ground but is a climber so you will save space if you let it climb up a trellis or fence.
The soil does not have to be very fertile but mixing in a bit of compost or manure before planting is good. Just make sure the soil is not too fertile and doesn't get waterlogged.
They are ready to dig when the plants die down completely in winter. The tubers put on the most growth when the plants are dying down so don't be impatient to dig them.
After digging in winter the tubers you are going to regrow in spring should be planted in a pot with potting mix and not allowed to dry out. Tubers dry out very quickly and should be dug for eating as you need them.
Pests and Diseases: Mashua does not have many pests but white cabbage moths can attack the leaves so keep an eye out.
Special Qualities: This variety is productive and can form large tubers. Mild flavoured.