The ‘big vegetables’ like elephant foot yam, purple yam, snake gourd and pumpkin, ash gourd and the like are the favourite of hotels, restaurants and catering companies. But when it comes to nuclear families, we need small versions of these ‘big’ vegetables. Yam or elephant foot yam is one of the most nutritious tuber vegetable. We can cultivate a smaller version of yam, suitable for the use of a small family.

Usually, those who depend on rain for irrigation, cultivate yam during the months of February and March (‘Kumbham’ as per the regional calendar). The tuber can be harvested after 8 months. If proper facilities for irrigation is available, yam can be sown by the end of December. The small seeds, that weigh at least 100 grams, collected during harvesting can be used for sowing.

Dig a 1 ½ feet deep channel in the farm. Mix the top soil thoroughly with cow dung powder, dry leaves, bone meal, and neem cake. Put this mixture back to the channel. Sow the yam seeds that weigh 100 grams each in a distance of 1 foot. Put a lot of dry leaves on the seeds and fill the channel with soil. Press the soil with hands. One month after the seeds sprouted, stir the soil lightly and add some fertilizer and set the soil.

yam plant
Yam plant.  Photo: Sunilkumar C.

Yam can be harvested after 7 months. There should be a distance of one foot between two yams in a row and between two rows. In this manner, about 400 yams can be sown in one cent of plot. We can harvest about 300 kilograms of yam by the time of Onam festival, which falls in August-September. Around Rs 30 can be earned per kilogram, and Rs 9000 in total.