WA's native magic pudding

WA bushfood gardener Steve McCabe will run a workshop in Busselton on growing and caring for youlks. Tickets to the workshop are $30 to book visit  facebook.com/events/2101200390095099/. Image supplied.
WA bushfood gardener Steve McCabe will run a workshop in Busselton on growing and caring for youlks. Tickets to the workshop are $30 to book visit facebook.com/events/2101200390095099/. Image supplied.

The bushfood gardener Steve McCabe describes a WA native root vegetable – youlks – as nature’s magic pudding.

Mr McCabe said youlks were really special plants, and just like the book The Magic Pudding, the plant restored itself after it was taken from the ground.

“You can harvest some of the youlk and that disturbance of the root zone, once the plant was established, suckers and there are more next year,” he said.

 “It is not just restoring the amount, there is more.”

Mr McCabe said youlks grew differently to the way other root vegetables like carrots were grown. Other root vegetables were planted, fed then pulled out of the ground, with the cycle happening year after year.

“They are sweet and crunchy, they are amazing and come out of really quite nutrient poor sand,” he said.

“Once the plant is established you get these beautiful, tasty, crisp apple-like texture, watery, delicious vegetable. They look a bit like golden potatoes but you can eat them.”

Mr McCabe said when he saw them thrive in poor quality sand he was hooked on growing them, but said it was quite hard to get the plant established.

“There are a couple of tricks to getting them established from cuttings, so to get people over that initial hurdle I have some established plants to give people who go along to my workshop.”

Mr McCabe will be holding a workshop on the use and care of youlks at the Geographe Community Landcare Nursery from 1pm on Saturday, September 15.

He said people could take the plants home which would help them get over the difficult stage which he faced when he first tried to grow youlks.

“I will teach people how to care for them and let them know what sort of conditions the plant needs, after years of killing this thing I know every mistake,” he said.

“It was difficult for me to say they were easy to grow because I had so much trouble with them to begin with, but now I can share with people just how easy they really are to grow.

“Just the joy of having this plant, I am reconnecting people with this wonderful plant, lord knows how long it has supported humanity, I just love the idea they are with us back in care.”

Tickets to the workshop are $30 to book visit facebook.com/events/2101200390095099/