Yams, or Oca as the rest of the world calls them are a deliciously sweet tuber, often about the size of a thumb - perfect with a roast!
Grown like potatoes, yams don't require much effort for plenty of reward. Super nutritious (loaded full of vitamin A, vitamin B6 and potassium) super easy to grow, and super delish!
Like seed Potatoes, it's a good idea to get your yams sprouting away over the winter, ready to plant out when the risk of frost has passed. To do this, pop your seed yams in a seed tray or cardboard box, and tuck them away in a nice dry place for a few weeks. The yams are ready to plant when the sprouts are 5cm long.
- Yams require plenty of sun - find somewhere sunny and free draining. If your soil is heavy clay, or has poor drainage, you can build up a raised bed, or they're great in pots too!
- They like a rich soil - a bed of good compost is all you need. Don’t go nuts on foliage producing fertiliser.
- Dig trenches for planting around 15cm deep with 50cm between each trench.
- Plant your yams in the trenches with the shoots facing upwards and cover with soil.
- Like Potatoes, continue mounding your yams with soil as the shoots grow, until they around 30cm tall.
- Water during dry spells – they hate drying out! Mulch is your saving grace, keep it topped up.
Yams take a wee while to fatten up... don't rush them!. Harvesting time is around Autumn, but make sure you wait for the foliage to die off first. Like Parsnips, its best to leave harvesting until after a frost (or at least a cold period), as a frost helps to fatten them up and sweetens them up too. If you've ever had a bland Yam, you've harvested them a little early!