Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

Hi everyone, Our plant whisperer friend Dianne and myself have decided to grow yams in large pots.Many people often wonder where to plant new crops without having to  dig up new areas or overcrowding other plants but these are different as a large pot and a trellis  is all you will need.That trellis is any average sized tree in your garden and where a reasonably sized pot can sit.I  currently have both greater and winged yam , discatorea alata currently sprouting in pots and sourced them from an asian grocers .I will plant some  at Diannes under the watchful eyes of her hubby in case I start a commercial yam operation.I Shall plant quite a few in my  front and back yard testing the neighbours honesty by using the councils gum.Why yams you ask? they are a beautiful vine ,easy to grow,versatile in cooking, great shelf life and why not!lol.So if you have a living trellis,Im sure you  do and have a large pot why not give it a go.Your trellis and yams vine will be close friends till the end of winter and you can then harvest your bounty wich should be a few kilos.It would be good to hear other peoples results,problems,pests if any ,growing rates and harvest weights bye for now and happy Gardening.

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Hi Sophie on that particular screen I have 3 pots with both greater and winged yams ,6 vines all up.They will do their own thing if you want but I keep pulling the vines down as they grow above the screen and tie them on with string.

ok cool thanks, something to keep me busy this weekend ta

Looks great Darren.

Very tidy Darren. Will look nicer than a vertical garden and much easier to maintain..

Okay... my yam is in and growing.  Can some please eat one and tell me that it will be worth it!?

The aerial bulbs (whatever is their proper name?) are quite tasty. Like a waxy potato with a subtle nuttiness. Now the exact name for the plant is not known ... I was given the bulbs at a herb do in the Redcliffe Botanical Gardens. What I did find though, was the plant was a very keen grower and like Jack's Beanstalk, it was reaching for the heavens. It never made any aerial bulbs for me but it developed a persistent rootstock which took me 3 years to dig out. Sorcerer's Apprentice and the Broom had nothing on this thing. Leave a tiny bit behind and next year - up she grows again. From my limited experience I'd say put it into a big bin if you want to control it.

I've been growing white yam for two years, this is the third season. I only grow dioscorea opposita (D.O.) which has creamy white flesh and the shape is slim cylindrical with smooth skin. For Chinese, D.O. is considered medicinal but I only grow D.O. for the taste, it makes a wonderful soup in winter. I grow D.O. in large pots and set up a timed sprinkler for watering. They are then neglected for 8 months.


I stop watering when the leaves die down – about July. By August of each year, the leaves would have died down completely. Then I tip out each pot as required. I find they keep well in the pots if you keep the soil dry.

I get about 1.5 to 2kg of D.O. from each pot. I was quite surprised that the largest pot (the green bin) had the lowest yield – something I don’t really understand.




IF the yam likes surface area rather than depth as do Sweet Potatoes, that may be the answer. I found with Sweet Potatoes that even though the plants grew in a 200L bin, the surface area to depth ratio favoured depth. All the tubers grew within 1 foot of the soil surface. The yam plant which took so many years to dig out was not really all that deep. It hugged the roots of a Dragon Fruit and made digging that much more complicated. Had it been in the open, likely I would have dug all of it out in the one go. It was really only about 6 to 9 inches below the soil surface with the tuber going down further at an angle.

Thats a nice little yammery or yam patch you have Janet.Where did you get your growing stock from?They look different again from the type that I have  and also the ones Dianne has inherited .The west indian arrowroot you nicely shared is growing beautifully also thank you ,into its second season and also shared off again with other people.

My yam was sourced from the vegies section of a Chinese grocery store in Sydney. It's called White Shan Yao and costs $20 a kg when available. I only bought a small piece, ate most of it and inserted the offcuts into potting mix to start off. They are very easy to grow although the yield is not high. But considering the little effort I put it, it's still a worthwhile plant to grow.

I do a fish head stock, and throw in a carrot, then about 600g of white yam. The soup goes milky and extremely delicious. We also devour every bit of the white yam with the soup.



That sounds and looks yummo Janet ,Rather expensive at 20.00 a kilo I think but the greater yams were not exactly cheap to buy for growing stock either.Its certainly the way to go ,buy some growing stock and grow your own from then on.

Darren, from my notes, I think that yam is called Dioscorea opposita or shanyao, the Japanese serve it grated raw after lightly soaking it in a vinegar water solution to neutralize the oxalates in the skin. It is often served alongside sashimi. 

I have not tried it myself but was quite interested in obtaining one. 


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