It feels like nothing much has been happening in the veggie garden. Most of the plants are finished and the cabbages and cauliflowers will be a while away from harvesting (if at all if the caterpillars and slugs have anything to do with it). I’ve had a few plants in the ground for months – kumara, yams and yacon and now the yams are finally ready (just). I planted my ‘nana’s’ yams from Koanga back in September 2015. My purchase gave me 19 tubers and took up a bed about 1m x 4m. The plants seemed to grow well so I was hopeful and checked them for tubers after a few months. I’ve grown yams once before and from memory those yams grew on top of the greenery so I was a bit disappointed when I couldn’t see anything growing.
Delwyn was confident that the yams would be in the soil (not on the plants like fruit) so I didn’t abandon all hope. It was surprisingly hard to find information on growing them – especially on when to harvest. According to my planting notes the leaves will die down and the yams are best harvested after a frost so that sounded like an autumn harvest. So now and then I tickled away at the soil to see if there were any sign of yams. It’s been nearly seven months of watering, weeding, feeding etc so I was starting to feel a bit anxious that this would all come to nothing. Finally – this week (last week of May) I discovered that I had managed to grow some. They were growing in the top layer of soil – some on the surface, some slightly buried, so harvesting them was pretty easy. Some had been eaten by bugs and some were a bit rotten so I wondered if they should have been picked earlier after all my waiting! I harvested two of these plants initially – see photo below.
Most of the tubers were quite small, so by the time I cut and trimmed them for cooking, a bit more was lost. This lot was 210g which doesn’t seem like a very good yield from two initial tubers. I roasted the bigger ones and found they weren’t especially tasty. The small ones cleaned up easily enough and I included them in a curry but again there wasn’t much of a distinctive taste. I think it’s easy to over cook them and lose the flavour. After a frost the sweetness in tubers (yams included) is increased so I’m leaving the rest in the ground until we have one – which shouldn’t be too far off. I love yams when they’re in season – they’re great roasted or sautéed with a little butter. Hopefully I’ve got lots more to dig up and can experiment with different ways to cook them.