yams and leeks
TRIED to grow yams this past year. They grew but were covered in
deep fissures and were basically unusable. I wonder if it was lack
of water during the dry season. Could you also advise me on the
soil type as well as fertiliser and water requirements for both
yams and leeks?
may be interested to know that yams are a species of oxalis, closely
related to the weedy varieties. But there are many oxalis species
that are not weeds - some are attractive foliage and/or flowering
plants and in the case of Oxalis crenata (yam or oka) they
produce edible tubers.
Yams grow best in light,
well-drained soil but need good moisture in summer to crop well
and to avoid cracked tubers. However, overly wet conditions, especially
in heavy soils, could cause tuber problems too.
They are tolerant of
slightly acid soils, so you probably don't need to apply lime. Mix
a general fertiliser such as Gro Plus Complete Plant Food into the
soil at planting time (late October to early November) and then
some more as a side-dressing when you mound the soil up around them
as they grow, in much the same way as you would with potatoes. Check
the fertiliser label for application rates.
Leeks grow best in free
draining soil but also require good moisture, especially in the
early stages of growth after planting in mid to late summer. Being
a leaf vegetable, they need good nutrient levels to grow well, so
mix in a general fertiliser at planting time and apply a side-dressing
about six to eight weeks later.
A leeky tip I learned
many years ago was to poke a hole in the soil about 15mm wide and
100-120mm deep and drop in a pencil-sized leek transplant with its
roots neatly trimmed to about 10-15mm. Then just give a light watering
into the hole - don't fill it with soil. The young leek will soon
root into the soil at the bottom and the cylindrical hole will act
like a mould to help form a leek with a lovely straight white stem.
Gardener, Issue 155, 2004, Page 26
Reproduced with permission from the former Weekend Gardener magazine. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH.