Tarwi (Lupinus mutabilis)
Lupins have a colorful mysterious past and are excellent companions.
The tarwi that we offer, however, is not your Peruvian highland germplasm that is difficult to grown in NA. These seeds are a bit more scalloped, possibly from an ancient panmictic population created by ancient trading between Quechua and Aymaras groups. I suspect, like the quinoa we offer, this germplasm is adapted to our foothills because their origins are the SA equivalent- the foothills of Chile- what was once Bolivian (long story- Please look this up if it is news to you). What has and is going on in SA is just as scary as anywhere else agriculture has industrialized (another long story maybe I’ll post a blog on it someday). Sorry to digress.
So as long as you come from a climate with cool, but not freezing, nights it should do well. We try to get them in as soon as the soil can be worked or until the end of May. They can take a light frost or two while seedlings, but we are not successful growing them overwinter. If you are from a climate with warm winters like central-southern California you may want to try them in December.
Interestingly, quinoa and tarwi are ancient companions (I will get around to writing the reasons why here soon). You can still find examples of this intercrop across the Altiplano where indigenous farming has not been pushed out or where industrialized practices are impractical; ie not profitable.
With the Spanish Crusades (another interesting topic of debate) faba bean was introduced and adopted and in many cases replaced tarwi (by choice and by force). In the cases of adoption faba bean is commonly grown in a guild or what an anglo could call the ‘SE three sisters©’.
We will be trying to mimic this practice a few different ways this year and will share the information as it becomes available.