Groundnut - Apios americana - Improved LSU Cultivar
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Groundnuts are a productive, native, vining, nitrogen-fixing, perennial vegetable. The tubers are delicious and store incredibly well.
We offer 2 different groundnut size options. 10 medium tubers, or 20 small tubers. They are all clones, with the same potential to create quality thriving plants with great genetics. The smaller tubers may just take a bit longer to get established. The small tubers are between the size of a dime and a quarter.
This an improved cultivar of Apios americana from Louisiana State University's breeding program. They were selected for larger tuber size. These specific tubers typically come from 1-year-old plants. The tubers will be substantially larger if harvested after 2 growing seasons.
Latin name: Apios americana
Other Names: Indian potato, potato bean, hodoimo
Zone Compatibility: 3-10
Light: Full sun, Part shade
Moisture Requirements: They are much more productive with plenty of moisture
Preferred PH: Acidic, Neutral
Form: Large Vine
Height: 4-8 Feet
Width: Indefinite, spreading
Growth Rate: Medium, Fast
Native Region: Eastern North America. As far north as southern Canada, as far south as Florida, and as far east a Colorado.
Native Habitat: Meadows, thickets, hedge, near streams
Edible Parts: Tuber- Tastes like a nutty potato
Bean- Tastes like a pea
Nutrition: Tuber- Has three times the protein as potatoes. They are a good source of calcium and iron, and there is evidence of anti-cancer activity.
Food Preparation: They are often cooked as you would a potato. They can also be baked into chips or dried and ground into flour.
History of Use: Important food to Native Americans. They would harvest it in the wild and transplant the tubers to create stands closer to their settlements. Has been cultivated in Japan for 100 years.
Edibility Season: Once established, Groundnut can be harvested at any time of year. Tuber size after two seasons of growth will be substantially larger than after one season of growth.
Planting: When working with a new species, I always recommend folks try planting them in multiple different locations to see what works best for them in their climate and context. Groundnuts can be planted at any time of year. However, if you want to harvest a sizable crop they need to be planted in early spring, or in the fall of the previous season. Plant them 12-18 inches apart. They can be grown on a trellis or as a groundcover.
Maintenance: Once a stand is established they will mostly maintain themselves. If you weed and mulch them, they will grow more tubers, and harvesting will be easier. Weeding must be done carefully because the young vines can be delicate, and if they have wrapped around a weed that is being pulled, it is possible to uproot the plant. Heavy mulching makes harvest much easier, as a lot of the tubers will grow through the mulch. I don't weed my plantings. Large weeds get used as a trellis and eventually get smothered in a blanket of apios.
Harvest: Dig up with your favorite implement and enjoy. I use a potato fork. Leaving behind a tuber for each plant harvested will ensure that the stand will be maintained, although, in my experience, enough tubers will accidentally be left behind to continue the population.
Other Uses: Nitrogen-fixer, shelter for beneficial insects, nectar for beneficial insects, ground cover