The Q&A Archives: Growing Jicama

Question: How do you grow jicama? I'd like to grow it in my garden. My kid, and dogs love this sweet white firm vegetable and what vitamins and or nutrients does it provide? thanks.

Answer: Jicama (pronounced "hee-ca-ma") is a tropical legume that produces an edible fleshy taproot. It is native to Mexico and northern Central America, and is widely cultivated there and in Southeast Asia. The plant is a vigorous spreading prostrate vine growing to several feet in diameter. Blue or white flowers and pods that look something like lima bean pods grow on fully developed plants. In the tropics, development of marketable roots takes 3 to 6 months, depending on temperatures at the site. A long, warm growing season with relatively short days is required to initiate good development of the fleshy root. Since the temperature and day length conditions necessary for production of good-quality roots from currently available cultivars do not exist in the United States (except perhaps in south Florida), current cultivars probably cannot be grown successfully in your gardening region. Jicama has 20 mg of Vitamin C, 1.4 g of protein, 9 g of carbohydrates, and 15 mg of calcium in each 100 g edible, raw portion.

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