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Growing Yam/Oka, also Oca

Jan F M A M J J A S O N Dec

(Best months for growing Yam/Oka in USA - Zone 5a regions)

P = Plant tubers

  • Plant tubers about 5cm (1.5") deep covered with soil. Best planted at soil temperatures between 63°F and 95°F. (Show °C/cm)
  • Space plants: 12 - 18 inches apart
  • Harvest in 15-20 weeks. Leave in the ground until foliage has completely died down so tubers reach maximum size.
  • Compatible with (can grow beside): Best in separate bed
  • New growth just emerged and some tubers ready for planting
  • Young leaves of Oka

Yams needs a long growing time to produce the tubers.

Protect from early Autumn (Fall) frosts to give time for tubers to fully develop.

Planting needs are similar to potatoes. Yams can handle more shade than potatoes. Earthing up will help increase production.

The leaves look rather like clover. Dig up after the plant dies down and leave outside for a few days to dry.

Culinary hints - cooking and eating Yam/Oka

Scrub and boil or roast with other vegetables.

Your comments and tips

06 Oct 18, Kaye Arnott (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Are the little pink yams grown like sweet potatoes which I've grown commercially ..And can the yam be cut like a sweet potato to create a new plant?
07 Oct 18, Mike (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
You can only try. They plant sweet potatoes here in SE QLD with slips. 50-60mm lengths of the vine when the plants are about 6-8 weeks old. They plant from one crop to start another and the cycle goes on and on.
03 Oct 18, cheryl (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Hi I grew my yams in big bucket & deep wheel barrow but after harvest 50% went rotten< I left them out to cure in the sun under a roof covered @ night, I v been doing this for years with no problems, Why?? Second problem is I can "t grow parsnips I v tried pouring hot water over rows after planting, the board trick, no luck at all. I live in Southland but don"t hold that against me.
08 Oct 18, Mike (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
Too much water probably or maybe some water lying in the top of the plant where it joins the yam - I had this problem with long white radish (Daikin or Japanese radish) in SE Qld this winter. Parsnips - read the notes here - attention to soil type, time to plant and most important keep the soil damp - water 2-3 times a day if hot.. I use a piece of shade cloth over my small seeds until they have germinated and grown a bit. If you have some spare timber make a little structure to nail/clip the shade cloth to. I have 2m x 2m frames that I have bird netting and vegie netting on to keep out birds and bugs. I put the shade cloth over them.
27 Jun 18, Melinda (Australia - temperate climate)
Hi - just wondered when it is right or if it is right to plant and grow yams in Goulburn, NSW, esp in the middle of Winter (heavy frosts, freezing conditions). Thanks!
29 Jun 18, Mike L (Australia - temperate climate)
Melinda , Read the notes - it is all there. Try Temperate and Cool /Mountain climates. A BIG HINT - when to plant and when to harvest.
23 Jun 18, Amanda (Australia - temperate climate)
Hi I live in Mildura vic Australia is it possible to grow yam here, as we have just moved here... Thank you
28 Jun 18, Mike L (Australia - temperate climate)
It does say plant (P) Oct to Nov for Temperate climate.
29 May 18, Lee (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
So, I have some yams to plant. Earthing up means covering the plants with soil a few times with soil as they grow? O
30 May 18, Mike L (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Earthing up means to build the soil up around the plants as they grow. Don't cover the whole plant with soil. Dig a trench about 150mm deep - plant the yams. Then as they grow back fill the soil. Even hill it up when you have back filled to level soil.
Showing 1 - 10 of 133 comments

You really are sub-tropical not temperate - it runs all the way down the coast to Sydney, unless you are in the mountains in from the coast. This website says plant by the end of November. It also says grows like potatoes. - a good time to grow potatoes in this ZONE is plant April/May. Try then.

- Mike

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This planting guide is a general reference intended for home gardeners. We recommend that you take into account your local conditions in making planting decisions. Gardenate is not a farming or commercial advisory service. For specific advice, please contact your local plant suppliers, gardening groups, or agricultural department. The information on this site is presented in good faith, but we take no responsibility as to the accuracy of the information provided.
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