Choosing the Right Containers
Since growing yams does require a fair amount of room, you need to pick growing containers that are large enough to allow tubers to form underneath the vines. You should choose large containers like half whiskey barrels or homemade wooden crates that are at least two feet deep.
The best containers are made from either clay or wood since those materials allow for better drainage. You can also use grow-bags, which are made out of a black, felted cloth that drains well.
Tip: Be sure that whichever pots you use have at least four drainage holes to prevent the roots from becoming water-logged.
Planting Your Yams
Once you have the proper containers for your yams, the next thing is to plant them. For this, you will need the following:
- Yam slips harvested from your own yams or that you have ordered from a nursery.
- Organic potting soil and compost to fill the containers.
- An area that receives sunlight all or most of the day.
- Plastic sheeting to cover the containers if the temperature drops below 50°F (10°C).
Once you have assembled all of your items, fill the containers almost to the top with a mix of potting soil and mulch. Then, lay several slips on the soil and cover the roots with another layer of the earth mixture, leaving the leafy part above ground. Water daily until the soil is damp throughout for the first two weeks. The slips should take root quickly, within a couple of days.
Do not be alarmed if your plants look a little puny for the first week or so. As long as you keep the soil damp and warm, the yam slips will liven up very rapidly.
Caring for Yams
Once the yams have taken root, caring for them is not a complicated process. All you need to do is water them regularly and apply a high-potassium organic fertilizer every three weeks.
Keep in mind that if you plant a vining variety of yams, you need to tie the vines to a wooden stake to give them something to climb on. For bush varieties, staking is not necessary.
As long as you provide enough water, sunshine, and fertilizer, you should have fresh yams to eat approximately 120 days after you first planted them.