sweet potatoes

Planting companions with yams – What to plant with yams

You may not know this, but if you’ve ever had sweet potatoes, you’ve had yams. Sweet potatoes are called yams in the south and are a variety of (mainly) cultivated orange. Yam companion plants must share the same growing conditions as the tuber and have the ability to repel certain pests. When you start planting your tubers, this is the best time to decide what to plant next to the yams. Although many herbs are beneficial to yams and can be started early or planted later, if you plant them at the same time, your help is available early in the life of the yam plant to help repel certain pests that are harmful to the seedlings.

What to plant with yams

The golden yam is native to South America and has been cultivated for more than 5,000 years. These easy-to-grow tubers prefer U.S. Department of Agriculture zones 9 to 12. The yam can be white, purple, brown, reddish or the classic variety with sweet orange flesh grown in the southern regions of the United States.

Plants that grow well with yams can be those that also belong to the morning glory family, those that deter pests, or simply those that complement the attractive foliage and starry purple flowers of sweet potatoes.

When proposing a cropping plan, the importance of crop rotation should not be overlooked. Many pests specific to a particular crop overwinter in the soil and refuse to stand up like Lazarus in the spring to attack their plants. Rotation helps to reduce the incidence of pests by displacing their favourite foods and replacing them with something the pests don’t eat.

Legumes are an excellent plant that grows well with yams. These plants really improve the soil and crop growth because they use nitrogen, an essential nutrient for leaf growth and plant health. Beans or peas are best because they can be trained to rise above sweet potatoes.

The planting of yams in companies must take into account the size of the plot and the size of the plants. Yams spread with a growth similar to that of vines, so it is not advisable to use plants such as courgettes nearby.

Common companion plants for yams

Yam is a tropical and subtropical species. They therefore need full sun, constant humidity and rich, loose soil. As the edible part of the plant is underground, yam needs to be protected from larvae and insects that live in the soil.

  • Summer savory is a grass that seems to repel the sweet potato weevil and also improves soil fertility.
  • Dill attracts flying flies and some predatory wasps, which in turn feed on unfavourable insects such as aphids and spider mites.
  • Oregano is also useful for repelling various species of pests.

Potato bedding plants can also be culinary yam plants that share the same growth requirements, such as coriander and basil.

Any crop that can grow vertically is an ideal companion plant for yams. Think of tomatoes or peppers.

Crop rotation with yam partners

Potatoes and sweet potatoes can be difficult to harvest in their entirety. Although crop rotation is essential, a stray potato left in place is likely to produce a volunteer plant. Rotational crops should not compete with volunteers and should improve the soil.

Legumes are a good choice to press the soil again, as is alfalfa. Another option is simply to plant a cover crop to enrich the soil for the next season. Red clover quickly fixes nitrogen and fertilizer in the soil, loosening the soil composition.

Choose other rooted or broad-rooted plants to rotate in the planting space, such as radishes, beets or corn. These plants will further loosen the soil for a better yam harvest in the future.

Planting yams can improve the soil, provide opportunities for rotation and contribute to the prevention of many pests.

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