Garden And Gardener

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Dahlia yams

by Diane - October 2nd, 2012.
Filed under: Suttons Seeds.

One of James Wong’s top plants in his new book: James Wong’s Homegrown Revolution.

Dahlia ‘Yams’ Seeds
Part of the James Wong Homegrown Revolution Range.Decorative and edible. Dahlias were brought to our shores as a prized edible crop. Rediscover your very own stash of Aztec gold!Believe it or not, the runner beans we all know and love were actually originally introduced to UK gardens as an ornamental plant for their pretty flowers, whilst conversely dahlias were brought to our shores as a prized edible crop! Cultivated for hundreds of years by the Aztecs, these sweet, starchy tubers were scoffed in huge quantities alongside such supermarket staples as avocados, chillies and maize. In fact, the 18th century botanist Anders Dahl (which the species is named after) was utterly convinced that these would soon supersede the potato in popularity, which actually came close to happening when they were tried out as a blight resistant spud-substitute during the Irish potato famine. Today, they are still a popular food in their native mountains of Southern Mexico. Sow: February-April. Harvest: October-December.. Average Content 85 seeds

Sow: February-April. Harvest: October-December.
Culture: Full growing instructions given on seed packet.

Sow your seeds in a propagator (or pot covered with a piece of glass) using good quality, moist compost and place on a light, warm windowsill. Keep the compost moist but be careful not to over water. In only a couple of weeks you will start to see small shoots appear – remove glass or vent your propagator to encourage growth. Once your seedlings are 3cm (1¼”) high they are ready to be potted on. Transfer the seedlings to larger individual pots of approximately 9cm (3″) and continue to grow on the windowsill. When your plants are approximately 10cm (4″) high they can be planted in their final growing position after all risk of frost has passed around May. Pick a bright sunny site and dig in plenty of organic matter such as well-rotted manure or blood, fish and bone. Plant your dahlias 35cm (14″) apart and water in well. Stake with bamboo canes to support the plants as they get larger. Keep on top of the watering, spoiling your plants with regular applications of fertiliser to ensure the largest, most fibre-free roots. To get the very best tuber harvest you should also pick off all the flowers as they emerge, to direct the plant’s energies into root production. The tubers will be ready to harvest when the first frosts blacken the leaves, at which point the plants should be cut down to leave just 10cm (4″) of stem and carefully forked out of the ground.