Monday 12 December 2022

New Zealand Yam Harvest - Oca

I know I've talked before on my love of this unusual tuber. It's starchy, tasty, easy to grow. So what's not to love?

Well I think the main reason it's not taken off is due to the unpredictable harvests. Sometimes you can harvest bucket fulls from half a dozen plants and sometime you might just get a handful. 

This is because it only starts to form tubers as the day length shortens, and being a tender plant that means it needs to be a late frost to get much of a crop. 

This year we've had quite a late frost (we had a few earlier ones but they didn't kill everything off thankfully). So with snow on the ground I went and harvested the crop to see how many we got. 

In the video I even get the children to try them as it's been a few years since we've last had them. They still liked them. 

Watch the video and let me know what you think. 

Do you grow New Zealand Yams (Oca)? Or have a good unusual tuber to grow?


  1. I think I looked into growing Oca once, but if I remember correctly, I decided it was too tropical of a plant for my winters. But I've been growing Chinese Mountain Yam. I just have a couple of plants, so so far, I've only harvested the "berries" for eating. Blog post with photos here. I'm going to dig the root soon and give that a try.

    My other unusual tuber is hopniss (ground nut). I've grown that one for several years now and it's a great perennial starch. Pictures and more in this post.

    1. Both of those sounds really interesting. I'd read about the cinnamon one before and thought it needed warmer climate that I could provide, maybe I'll have to give it a go. Does it spread far?
      I grow the new zealand yams outdoors and always thought you guys were warmer than us! But its all to do with late frost dates, so here it's such a roll of the dice. Have you ever eaten the roots from day lillies? They're supposed to be good but so far I've only eaten the flowers.

  2. Did you know you can eat the tops as salad? We used to grow them on the sunny side of a macrocarpa hedge, dry impoverished soil -they do better in that than the heavy clays of fertile England. Anywhere oxalis thrives so will these yams.

    1. Yeah, I think my soil is a bit heavy for them, especially how wet it can get here. The girls used to love munching on the leaves like cows, straight from the growing plant, when they were younger!


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