Yams – Yay or Nay?

It was with great expectation I approached my Yam bed, also known as Oca.  As far as I was concerned, I’d done all the right things, I’d fed and watered with a frequency that could be described as regular.  I was in a new environment here beside the sea and the soil was more free draining than at the old place and so surely that would have helped.   I waited until the bulky foliage had completely died back, like you are supposed to do.  Surely there was a bumper harvest lying beneath the surface of the soil.

The Yam bed
Sometimes the expectation and anticipation is more exhilarating than actually knowing what lies beneath the soil.

At the old place I never really got a great harvest of yams, but certainly not from a lack of trying, however their bed was off to the side and easily forgotten with an out of sight out of mind cavalier attitude.  It did flood often there as well and what yams I did dig up were mostly pockmarked with the early signs of rot.  It really didn’t bode well, but I can be tenacious at the best of times and there is nothing to be lost from trying this crop again and again, hoping for a better outcome.  It is relatively low maintenance so worth the persistence.

So how did it fare in the new spot?

And this is it… after 11 months of waiting… for this… hip hip hooray…..

Miserably!  To be honest I think the tubers I planted collectively weighed more than the tubers I harvested.  It is a miracle reducing crop.   However undeterred I shall try again, surely one day the conditions will be perfect and we will get the much longed for bumper harvest.  Conditions swing wildly from one season to the next and I can’t forget the year I could hold my entire pumpkin harvest in one hand, which just happened to be the same year I had the best ever celery crop.

Miniature pumpkin harvest
My miniature pumpkin harvest from back in 2014 isn’t exactly something to be proud of.

I live in hope, although my suspicions are it just doesn’t get cold enough and moving to a frost free spot beside the sea isn’t going to help.  Having said that the boffins are suggesting this is a mild winter compared to most, so maybe next year it will be colder…  I can’t believe I’m actually hoping for a chilly winter.  But its for the yams!

We were off to such a good start with these seed yams. So much potential locked into these rather large tubers.  What could possibly go wrong?

Yams will always have a place in my garden, not counting the hope of a better crop, but I created a bed especially for it and it is now riddled with measly mung bean sized tubers I couldn’t be bothered harvesting and now they are there they are there for good.  They are related to the dreaded oxalis weed that strikes fear into the hearts of gardeners at the mere sight of a tiny folded trefoil shaped leaves emerging from the undergrowth.  But for now I’ll just have to make do with do with ones from the store grown by folk who know what they are doing in a location that yams actually like.

Come again soon – I need to tell you about my orchard.

Sarah the Gardener  : o)

2 thoughts on “Yams – Yay or Nay?

  1. That is not what I was expecting for yams. Oca and what we know as yams are two completely different animals. Yams as I know them look something like sweet potatoes, although they are of a different family. Is Oca a type of oxalis?

    1. Yams are a strange label. We call your sweet potato yams, kumara and the oca which is indeed related to the oxalis is our yam. I understand there are many things with the yam label, but aren’t really. : o)

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