[permaculture] japanese potato or yam culture

Claudia Joseph permie at earthlink.net
Fri Jun 29 11:31:26 EDT 2007


I experiment a bit.  I used a  cage made of chicken wire, just like  
those recommended for white potatoes.  I pulled a yam out of the  
compost. I put it next to a chain link fence in light shade.  As the  
vine grew I added a mix of compost and straw to the cage.  It was  
watered frequently.  The vine was bushy and about 30 feet long.  It  
rooted in some places where it lay on the ground.  It was quite  
aggressive.  The first potatoes I dug were edible.  I trimmed the  
vine back and about a week later, harvested the rest.  There were  
quite a few and big ones.  They were so bitter that I composted  
them.  What happened?

The Coop sells jewel and garnet yams right next to the box labeled  
Japanese Sweet Potatoes.  These look like yams. They have dense,  
light but not white colored flesh.  They are generally long and  
narrow. They don't fall apart when cooked, so they are good for miso  
soup.  They were popular in CA where I was told that they like heat  
and sand.

I know that potatoes and yams are in different families.  It appears  
that they can be cultivated the same way.  I suspect that the compost  
contributed to the bitterness.  Does this happen with cucumbers too?   
I have loads of compost but no extra soil.  We garden on a rubble site.

Claudia
Brooklyn, NY


On Jun 27, 2007, at 6:07 PM, Dieter Brand wrote:

> Claudia,
>
>   I didn’t know that you can grow sweet potatoes above the ground.
>   Can you explain how it is done. And how are the Japanese
>   sweet potatoes different from other sweet potatoes. I used
>   to live in Japan, but didn’t do any gardening then.
>
>   Dieter Brand
>   Portugal
>
> Claudia Joseph <permie at earthlink.net> wrote:
>   I had a problem with japanese sweet potatos - they were bitter.
> I had heard that they do well in sand but I used compost and straw in
> the above ground cage because I had it.
> Also, some that I picked earlier were sweeter. The vine was
> extremely vigorous and dark green.
> Anyone know the specifics?
>
> Claudia
>
> On Jun 27, 2007, at 1:23 PM, Charles de Matas wrote:
>
>> Thanks Lisa and others for the tip on growing potatoes. The first
>> time I
>> heard of this was from the Nearings' book. I've been wondering
>> what other
>> people's experience were with this method. I don't grow potatoes,
>> but I
>> have compacted clay soil and would like to grow sweet potatoes.
>> Maybe I'll
>> try it with sweet potatoes.
>>
>> Charles
>>
>>
>>
>> <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
>> Lisa in Oregon
> wrote:
>> We use old hay, tucking it up around the plants as they grow so just
>> a few inches of leaves peek out, leaving some in flakes, and shoving
>> some down between the stems as they get large. I toss on weeds from
>> other areas too. We grow in beds and the mulch gets 2' high, might
>> be harder in rows. It eats up several bales for 100sgft. I bury the
>> seed potatoes barely below the soil level (clay), the potatoes  
>> grow on
>> the dirt-mulch boundary and if the mulch isn't think enough, the
>> potatoes get green. We don't seem to end up with weed problems using
>> old hay for potatoes (but then, this is all drip, no rain). When
>> potatoes are harvested the mulch is reused on winter crops.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
>>
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