you tell me the best time to plant and harvest yams and what conditions
I should grow them in?
also known as oka, are a type of oxalis of which there are many
different species and varieties. Some of them are difficult-tocontrol
weeds, others well-behaved, attractive flowering ornamentals, while
the yam (Oxalis crenata) provides us with tasty tubers for
the dinner plate.
The best time to plant
the tubers is after the soil has warmed up somewhat, in spring,
around late October to early November. Treat them much the same
as you would potatoes, creating mounds to improve drainage. They
grow best in light, sandy, free-draining soil and can struggle to
be successful in damp, heavy clay. They prefer good fertility, so
apply a potato fertiliser at planting time and then again about
8-10 weeks later. They are slightly acid-tolerant, so in normal
conditions shouldn't need any lime.
Yams seldom suffer from
any pests or diseases, but in dry summer conditions you'll probably
have to put some effort into watering them regularly to get a decent
yield of tubers. Six months or so after planting (March-April) you
should be harvesting tubers.
Gardener, Issue 199, 2006, Page 29
Reproduced with permission from the former Weekend Gardener magazine. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH.