|A greater yam plant (Vine) climbed over a shrub|
Greater yam is a tuberous vegetable widely grown in tropical region. Scientifically Greater yam is known as Dioscorea alata. In Kerala it is known in the names of ‘Kachil’, ‘Kavuthu’ etc. We can grow it in our home premises with little care. Its tuber contains 1.3% protein, 0.3% fat, calcium, phosphorous, iron etc in addition to a large portion of carbohydrate.
|A 10 days old Greater yam plant|
Greater yam prefers well drained rich soil. It does not grow in water logged condition. It is usually planted during March- April.
Seed tubers are used for propagating the yam. Large tubers are cut into pieces for planting. When pieces are cut ensure that each piece has head end for sprouting. Each piece should also weigh at least 250-300 gram. Dip the pieces in cowdung slurry and allow drying under the shade before planting. The pieces can be planted in pits of 45x45x45 cm size at a spacing of 1 meter. Pits should be filled with top soil and organic manure before planting. After planting, pits may be covered with dry leaves to keep the soil moist.
Organic manure or fertilizers may be applied one month after planting for formation of large tubers.
Trailing is essential for Greater yam. This has to be done within 15 days after sprouting. Trailing materials or Trees grown in the field can be used for trailing.