Why I Grow Yams And Why I Advise You

The first time I tried yams was in China, they sell a lot of exotic things on the way to the beach. The yams were baked, without any additives, in their peel. The Chinese woman saleswoman explained me on her fingers that you should eat them right away, with the peel. Well, that's the way it's supposed to be. I had heard before that yams were called sweet potatoes. But no - it wasn't a potato at all! The taste, the color, the smell, the texture - everything is different. Orange - like a mango, texture - mashed potatoes, taste - starchy-sweet with fruity notes, smell - can't compare to anything else. I liked it very much. And, naturally, I wanted to grow myself yams.

Why I grow yams and why I advise you
Why I grow yams and you advise

Where to get yam planting material

But to grow yam you first have to find planting material and that has proven not so easy. In "Batatovskaya Kushy" at the time the varieties I needed were not available, and besides them, there was only one farm in the Tuapse region - Vitaly Lutzan, which had a good choice.

I was surprised, but I thought that such a wonderful root crop in the Kuban should grow everything, but it turns out that conservatism is deeply rooted in the minds of most gardeners.

Vitaly Lutzan confirmed my hunches, when I went to him for planting material. The promotion of new food plants, which he is fond of, goes with a creak - there are few experimenters.

Natalia (Vitaly's wife) treated me to baked yams of different varieties. I watched it grow - both tops and roots, since it was October, the digging season. The tops lushly braid and cover all around within a radius of 1-1,5 meters, and roots need to find, they do not sit in place (however, it depends on the variety).

Natalia and Vitaliy instructed me about storing and germinating, and together we carefully wrapped each tuber in newspaper - yams are sensitive to damage and can be badly stored after that.

While driving home with bought yams in my arms, I thought with horror that after planting yam in the heavy and dense clay, which is the basis of our new site, I can not get it out! Its tubers are huge and fragile. Tendency to sprawl from the stem will not let you know at least approximately where they are. A standard fenced bed would hardly help - the tubers would go under the fence and then catch them all over the site!

That's when the idea of a bed-trap was born - a fenced, high, with a relatively closed base. © Tatyana Nikolina

preparing bed and yam for planting

From autumn we began to prepare the conceived construction: My husband made a high (40 cm) bed-chest. We put it on a flat plot of land, which had not been cut. All the bottom with a wrap on the sides lined with thick furniture cardboard. The bottom was covered with small chips, bark, twigs.

The next layer was dry foliage up to the top. The next layer was the kitchen waste, ashes, garden plants haulm, which finished vegetation (they were chopped in smaller pieces). And by spring it was all again covered with shredded leaves with shells and soil from under the hazelnut trees.

With the beginning of mowing grass (at us - April) made beds filled with cut grass and the top of it filled with a thin layer of earth from the mole heaps (mole we have hard workers, and the territory is large).

The planting material of yams, wrapped in newspaper, went to the kitchen cupboard for storage and safely overwintered there. In mid-March, I carefully unpacked the planting yams, it was thin and pale sprouts. I ripped them off. Pity to throw away - planted in cups.

Tubers yam put in a bowl with wet sand, as taught, put in a warm place of medium light. Sprouts sprouted as if they had no other chance! Bundles of each eye, plump and fragile.

Growing quickly, so by the end of April, the most brisk stretched to 25-30 cm. The bed was not designed for such a number of planting material, so I planted only 10-cm, 3 of each variety. We roasted and ate the yam tubers themselves after breaking up the sprouts - very tasty!

Why I grow yams and why I advise you
Bedding yam in July. © Tatiana Nikolina

Planning and care

To plant yams, you can only plant in warmed soil and with a guarantee that there will be no frosts. Therefore, since mid-April we put arches and covered the bed with plastic film. At the end of April the seedlings were planted. Just broke off the sprouts from the tuber, planted according to the scheme 40x40 and watered with water. Those that were in cups - gave friends.

Temperature differences we have here are big, day +25 ° C, at night around 0 ° C (foothills!), So until mid-May, daily exercise - "open and close". But all the yam sprouts took root and vigorously started to grow. While the space between bushes was visible, it was all covered with grass clippings. In June, the bed was "braided" shoots over the entire surface.

Since the arcs I did not remove, long wattles I threw on them, so as not to interfere with mowing around the bed. We got such a tall green "mop". In August the shoots covered the space around the bed with a carpet, without letting the grass in.

In such a cheerful kind the bed was kept till October

The care which the yam received: except for the filling the space between the beds, while it was possible, 2 watering, because for 3 months (July, August, September) there were only 4 rains. And that's all!

The foliage is lush green, there were leaves, slightly chewed by someone, but it is a drop in the sea. The potatoes growing nearby were devoured by beetles to the point of insanity in August. I did not spray them because of the bees, and I was too late to collect the beetles by hand. © Tatiana Nikolina


To the end of the first decade of October nighttime near zero temperatures led to the yellowing of some of the leaves, and we decided to dig up the yam. We prepared buckets, a shovel, a pitchfork. None of this list was needed! I cut off the tops with a secateurs, leaving stubs to know where to start looking for tubers. I tried to rake away a little soil from the stem (well, not so much soil, but, say, substrate), it is raked away easily, but tubers in a visible space are not visible.

The digging of yam was told correctly - it is similar to archeological excavations. Carefully, moving the substrate from place to place, dug up to the first tuber, under my husband's caustic remarks, almost near the edge of the bed. The tuber was 8 cm in diameter, about 30 cm long and bent, because it had nowhere to grow, it was resting against the curb. It did not fit into the bucket because it was crooked.

Further extraction of yam tubers went so by hand. The tubers apparently tried to sprawl as far away from the stem as possible, but they were restricted by the rim of the bed on one side and the counter tubers on the other (I planted 2 rows). In the center of the bed there was a real pandemonium of tubers of different color, shape, and size.

Yield of yams not just satisfied us, but brought us to a delight. That's just "Manchurian" pumped up. But when I cut the haulm I counted only 10 bushes, and 2 probably died somehow in the process, but in this green heap it was impossible to see anything.

Read also our article 5 secrets of harvesting and storage of yams from the founders of "Batova farm".

Why I grow yams and why I advise you
Batatad "Victory-100". © Tatiana Nikolina
Why I grow yams and why I advise you
Beatato "Manchurian" (light on the edge). © Tatyana Nikolina

Taste qualities of different sweet potato varieties

This is another confirmation that sweet potatoes are very different from potatoes: right after digging they don't have much taste, they just lie asleep. By December, the taste reveals itself completely. But we began to eat in all forms in October.

Batatat "Victory-100" - juicy, with beige-pink skin, creamy flesh, sweeter than potatoes and so starchy that when sliced and the knife, and the board - all white (from the starch). Very good in baked form, in frying, in soups, in stews. When cooked, boiled faster than potatoes (not counting "Adretta", of course, that - immediately into mush), enriches the taste of any dish.

Beatat "Vinnitsa pink" - pink and purple skin, flesh bright white, even more delicious than the "Victory". You can also eat raw, cut or rub into salads.

Beatat "Garnet" - dark pink rind, orange flesh, darker than carrots. In general, it is better to eat raw. Even our dog gnawed slices with pleasure. But it can also be cooked - baked, fried or boiled. It looks like a carrot in dishes, but the taste is completely different.

Manchurian sweet potato - light skin, creamy flesh. Similar to "Pobeda", but with a nutty flavor and a little less starchy. Good in all kinds, but a little bit his crop.

Holded this entire crop all winter in the kitchen, in the drawers of the kitchen corner and kitchen tables. Started to sprout in February, and the taste only improved. At the end of April I finished the last tubers after planting sprouts.

Why do I advise to grow yams all

General conclusion: batat - a wonderful plant! Decorative foliage, and "Garnet" also has carved leaves, long, up to 1.5 m of flight, and sometimes it blooms.

The early varieties are suitable for growing in regions more northern than Kuban ("Manchurian", "Victory-100"). And in greenhouses yam can be grown everywhere.

For propagation often buy seedlings, but it is irrational, it is better to buy tubers of yam in the fall and in the spring the seedlings can sell themselves, so many it will be.

Holds like a pumpkin, in a dry and warm place without problems, pests I have not seen, special care does not require, the yield is phenomenal, the taste is excellent - I wonder why he does not grow on every plot?

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