Though some “air potatoes” are considered invasive, there are also varieties that are not on any lists, such as the “name” yams you can buy from the ethnic markets.
I bought a “white name” yam some months ago, then forgot about it and left it in its plastic bag in a dark corner.
This is what happened:
Interesting, is it not? That thing popped out roots and sprouts from over a half-dozen nodes on that formerly eye-free tuber.
I had done some research on true yams before and read that they could be propagated by cutting a root into pieces but I didn’t quite believe it until I saw how the vines emerge all over the place.
After finding this yam, I also found out about propagating yams from minisetts via this video on YouTube.
I wish I could speak Hindi, but you get the idea. I particularly like how they prepare a special bed to get their yams started before transferring them to the field.
Since I already have a bunch of yams planted in the ground, I figured I might as well give it a go and cut this one and another still-dormant root to pieces and plant them.
To help seal the cut surfaces and keep out infection, I burned a bunch of sticks in my Stovetec rocket stove one evening, then collected the resulting ashes the next day.
(At the point I took this photo, I’d already used a bunch of the ashes covering the cut surfaces of a batch of ginger I was propagating).
All the pieces were dipped in the ashes and spread out to dry for a while.
Then I placed them all in a huge pot.
After spreading them out, they were covered with two inches of potting soil.
When they sprout and I plant them out, I’ll take more photos.
And if they don’t sprout, I’ll let you know. This encouraged me, however:
…so I had to try it. Unlike white potatoes, they don’t have any visible eyes when dormant so I’ve hesitated to cut them up in the past.
No longer. It’s yam time.