Today we’re establishing a Mini lotus bed in our vegetable garden. In the US most people grow Mini lotus for the beautiful flowers but burners across the world know that Mini lotus is actually quite edible
In Asia, it’s used widely both for the rhizomes as well as the seeds. The flowers and the leaves are also edible. You might have seen the very recognizable form of Mini lotus root in an Asian dish.
Mini lotus has a distinctive pattern of holes which is the length of the rhizome and their air chambers inside that rhizomes. When you cut across it you could see all the openings the seed heads are also very unique. I took plants out of a dried flower arrangement.
The seed pods are quite popular for dried flowers. If you look at the flower you can see the central portion of that flower as it develops. It’ll grow and eventually as it dries hardened into this pod.
The seeds are inside of here and they are remarkably long-lived seeds. That is over 2,000 years old have been successfully germinated. But to do that you have to file them down. Which is called scarify and that allows the seed to germinate.
If you harvest these seeds before they mature they make wonderful edible food there are popular in Asian markets. You can see they’re not brown they’re not as dried when they’re harvested.
They need nice soggy muddy soil. You can establish a bed for your Mini lotus or you could create that environment within a large container like a whiskey barrel. That has a liner in it but you don’t want to mix your Mini lotus with your water lilies and other water gardening plants because these guys are really aggressive and will bread throughout the bed.
So my bed is ten feet by five feet and we’ve lined it with a pond liner a very thick liner. Also underneath we put a geotextile cloth just to protect that liner.
The soil is important, this is the time when we get to use the worst soils we have available. You want a nice heavy clay or loam soil with very little organic matter. When it sits in water decomposes and contributes to algae problems.
So if you have some horrible clay you dug out of an area or maybe even visit a construction site and get some clay soil. Use that in your bed and we have a layer that is about eight inches. If you’re working in a container you want at least six to eight inches of soil in the bottom.
The next step before we plant is we actually want to moisten this. We’re going to plant right into some wet soil so we don’t want to fill the pond yet but we want to put enough water that we have some mud.
You don’t need to put them very deep it’s interesting there are several ways you could plant Mini lotus. The most common way is to order rhizomes in the dormant state.
There are only two species in the genus of the lotus family. One of them is our native species. The second more commonly grown for an edible is going to be the Asian species. But both are edible and in fact, Native Americans would have used this plant as a food source.
Most commonly when a plant is used for production it’s grown as an annual. But we’re going to go ahead and grow this as a perennial.
We want to fill to a depth of about at least four inches above the stems they can actually live in water depths up to about 18 inches in the wild. You might find them three feet deep in the water. But in the landscape of eight to twelve inches is probably ideal deep.