Staking Yams on Short Stakes


LD writes:

“I have a question about the yam vines…. I used 7 foot tall tomato cages (I made myself) that were not being used and the vines have reached the top already…. Do I trim them? Do I let them reach for the sky? Being that the yams will take several months or even more than a year I am not sure what the protocol is”

Yams are crazy climbers. I’ve seen them reach the top of a 60-foot tree.

Yet they don’t need the kind of height to make good vines. A 6-7′ stake in full sun is good enough.

I don’t trim the vines. Instead, I throw them back onto the stake and let them keep climbing over each other in a big mess.

When the vines go dormant in winter, dig away. You’ll see the leaves yellow and the vines start to die back. Main tuber formation happens late in the year, so don’t dig them before they go dormant – they’ll be pulling in sugars until the last weeks. If you dig a yam right now, you’ll get almost nothing. Dig that same year in a few months when winter arrives and you’ll have a nice, fat yam.

Here’s what my yam beds look like right now:

Yam beds. #gardening

A post shared by David Good (@david_t_good) on


Just sticks and sticks and sticks.

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  • Hey David, loving your blog and YouTube channel. Very entertaining and informative indeed.

    Since you are now in a tropical climate, as I am, was wondering if you’ve had any success growing ANY veggies more commonly found in the supermarkets?

    I’ve tried growing radish and carrot seeds but nothing germinated. So sad. I’ve got all sorts of root crops growing and doing well. But I’m just in need of other veggies to grow while I wait for those to be ready for harvest.

    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

  • Ok David I have a question. Your article above says wait until fall to harvest after the vines go dormant. Please expound a bit. If the yam is in it’s second year, and it is mid summer, say June, can you harvest then or should you wait until fall again when it goes dormant?


  • I planted some yam minisetts and the vines have started growing out of the soil. I want to leave the vines to crawl on the ground. Can yam and its vines be grown without stakes?

    • They will grow but probably won’t produce much. They like to go up in order to make good roots. I’m not sure why. Anything you can support them with should be good. 6′ or so is fine.

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