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"Let's give these a go," The Husband dropped a packet of James Wong Homegrown Revolution Dahlia Yams into the trolley at the garden centre. Being a man with an eye for the exotic rather than the practicality of a plant, I had a good look at the packet before agreeing. They seemed easy enough to grow and trouble free to keep. Anything that is both decorative and edible has to have a lot going for it.
The seeds germinated quite slowly. Not having a propagator I used a seed tray covered in a plate of glass and the seedlings popped up after about three weeks. The baby plants did well in the greenhouse until they reached the height of 30cm when they were gradually hardened off before going to their forever home in a large pot outside. All relatively straightforward so far.
The plants actually grew quite quickly and stood over one metre tall at their full height. The first flowers appeared in late July and boy, were they stunning! Fat round flower heads in a riot of hot colours: yellow, orange, reds and pink. The Dahlias remained in flower (with dead heading) all the way through until the end of September last year in what was a long growing season due to the warm weather.
In late October, the plants were showing signs of being over so I dug them up and scrabbled around excitedly looking for yams. What a disappointment. Out of fifteen plants we got no more than six hard, white gold ball sized yams. I'm not sure if it was something I did wrong, it seemed disappointing when we'd had such a great flower display.
I will be growing these again this year but purely for the gorgeous flowers.
James Wong's Homegrown Revolution Dahlia "yams " / 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 / 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 (1