Monday, June 8, 2015

Growing Chinese Yams/Yamberries/Dioscorea batatas in Florida

Behold, the Chinese yam!

I know, not a very good shot. These things are tall, though, so I choose to blame their verticality for the poor framing rather than my tepid photography skills.

Also known as Dioscorea batatas, the Chinese yam is usually grown for its edible root; however, they also grow small edible bulbils that are reportedly tasty.

I say "reportedly" because I haven't eaten any yet. Last year was their first year on my homestead so I saved the few tiny bulbils they produced to use for planting purposes.

As for where the report on this plant's usefulness and edibility originally comes from, I give credit to Eric Toensmeier.

His book Paradise Lot is a must-read for those interested in transforming small yards and marginal spaces into permaculture Edens. It's also just a fun book with a lot more personal storytelling than most gardening works.

(Note: I previously reviewed Paradise Lot here.)

As for Chinese yams, this year they're growing a LOT faster than they did last year, thanks to their larger root mass. Here's what the leaves look like close-up:

With a proper trellis these would be a lovely and long-lived addition to a garden. They'd likely also do well climbing trees in a food forest.

I look forward to seeing the yield of this fall's bulbil production.

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At June 11, 2015 at 9:20 AM , Blogger Unknown said...

Where might one get some starter plants of these Chinese yams?

At June 11, 2015 at 9:26 AM , Blogger David The Good said...

I should have some before too long. Otherwise, you can sometimes get bulbils on e-bay.


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