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Growing Yam/Oka, also Oca

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

(Best months for growing Yam/Oka in New Zealand - cool/mountain 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

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.
16 Oct 17, Deana weston (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Is there anyone that has any yam plants for sale or seeds. Or does anyone know where to buy them from regards Deana weston
01 Nov 17, Simone Wright (New Zealand - temperate climate)
I have some you can have if you pay for postage
04 Dec 17, leonie mason (New Zealand - temperate climate)
I would like some if they are still available Happy to pay postage I am aware it's almost too late seasonally.But I have a warm spot for them Thanks Leonie
13 Jun 17, Judy Hogg (New Zealand - temperate climate)
I've dug most of my yams so the grass grubs don't feast on them. I've cleaned and dried them. How can I now store them so they don't wither?
15 Jun 17, John (Australia - temperate climate)
Store them in damp sand in a cool dark place. The damp sand (not too damp) will stop them from withering and the cool dark spot will stop them from sprouting for quite a while.
21 Jun 10, John Studte (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
Hi Dave.I am in Devonport and i keep mine in the back shed out of direct sunlight and on old rag just to absorb any moisture.I also have the small NZ yams available if any one would like some. [email protected]
25 May 10, john studte (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
Hi Stuart.Yes they are the right ones and they grow well.Please contact me on [email protected]
11 Oct 09, Valerie (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Yams are easy to grow - just save some from the fruit and vegetable depatment at the sumermarket. Cheaper that trying to get them from the sead supplier.
Showing 1 - 10 of 11 comments

Yams/oka need about 5 months to grow before harvesting. They can be planted when the soil reaches about 17 degrees C (a bit over 60 degrees). if you can fit these requirements you should be right. Harvest them after the leaves have started to die down to give them the most opportunity to make size.

- John

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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. GardenGrow 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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