Jicama

  • Sun: Full Sun
  • Harvest Size: root 3 to 6 inches in diameter
  • Days to Harvest: 150
  • Plant size: Vines can grow 15 feet long

Jicama is a traditional food in Mexico where it is native. It is also popular with anyone seeking a healthy diet. High in potassium and vitamin C, low in calories, and both slightly sweet and crunchy, jicama (pronounced HEE kah mah or hee KAH mah) is an underground tuber that grows at the base of a tall twining vine. It also can be grown in containers and used as an ornamental.

Plant spacing: 12 inches apart in rows 36 inches apart; 24 inches in intensive gardens. One plant per container. Plants per person: 2.

Secrets to Success »

Jicama plants are tropical, making them very cold sensitive. Don’t set plants out in the garden until two weeks after the last frost. A long growing season of 5 months or more of warm weather is required for a good harvest. Moist, well-drained soil is best. Be sure to give plants a trellis for the vigorous vines.

Harvest and Use »

Dig 3- to 6-inch diameter tubers from the soil before frost. Brush soil from them and then store where they will be kept between 53 to 60 degrees. Temperatures below 50 can injure the tubers, compromise their quality, and cause them to rot.

Peel the root and cut it into cubes or French fry sticks. Use these raw in salads or as a crunchy addition to stir-fried dishes and soups.

Try These Garden Companions »

  • Leaf lettuce planted in spring will benefit by the afternoon shade of the growing jicama vine.
  • Leaf lettuce planted in fall will be ready at the same time you dig your jicama.
  • Sweet peas can be added to the same salads and dishes.
  • Cantaloupe is a delightful salad companion.
  • Cilantro makes a nice herbal addition to jicama salad and slaw.

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