How to Grow Ube Purple Yam in a Container? That is my top question when I received an Ube Purple yam for the first time. I listened and followed the answer to my question. Now, I’ll be sharing what I’ve learned and experience with this Easy Steps in Growing Ube Purple Yam.
At first, I do not know how to plant Ube. A kindly farmer who sells organic fertilizer is the one who taught me how to plant this. Thanks to him. Three important things to consider when planting Purple Yam are the kind of soil to use, the location of the plant and the trellis, and the best season to plant it.
Simple, isn’t it? Since I love growing plants. I followed his guidelines. It was a perfect season to plant as he gave me two Ube purple yam seedlings during the rainy season.. I gave the other Ube purple yam to a fellow friend in the community.
What is Ube Purple Yam?
Ubi (Dioscorea alata L.) or yam is a vine which produces both aerial tubers called bulbils and underground tubers or roots. The bulbils weighing a few grams and to over a kilogram come out from the leaf axils three (3) months after planting.
The ubi roots has 70 percent moisture and 28 percent starch. It also contains traces of fats, crude protein, sugar, crude fiber, ash and Vitamin C, B1 and B2.
Ube Uses/ cooking:
Tubers can be eaten boiled, baked, roasted, flakes, chips and can be processed into powder form. Dehydrated yam slices are used for the preparation of food such as ice cream, cakes, pastries and other dessert. The Ubi skin or peeling can be used as a raw material for the manufacture of food coloring.
How to Grow Ube Purple Yam in a Container?
Initially, I grow Ube Purple yam using the seedling that was given to me. It was mid of 2019 when I planted my first Ube. Since I live in a village with limited space, I only planted at the side of our parking space that is not that big. Imagine, I dug the soil about 2-3 feet deep for the land preparation. Since I already have loam soil, I just bought carbonized rice hull or CRH, coco peat coir, and Vermicast. The bulbils weighing a few grams and to over a kilogram come out from the leaf axils three (3) months after planting.
I harvested my first Ube after nine months of waiting. The underground tubers weighing one to six kilograms can be harvested six months after planting. I opted to harvest it when it is time already when the leaves are drying up. I harvested about 4.5 kilos of Ube Purple Yam. We are so happy! It is a blessing! We cooked it Ube Halaya and it was so delicious! I like boiled Ube, peel the skin, then eat it with fresh Niyog.
When is the best time to plant Ube?
The crop can be grown anytime of the year but for best results, planting should be done at the beginning or just after the rainy season when it can obtain all the moisture it needs for growth
With my second time to plant Ube, I decided to grow it in a container using a used sack of rice. How did it turn out? Did I use Ube seeds or Ube starter plant? What I use to grow another Ube Purple Yam is a small Ube starter plant from the previous harvest.
- Slice a part of Ube to use a starter plant. It should weigh from 60g to 250g. Be sure that each setts has enough skin area. Make sure to put an ash, CRH, or fungicide at the freshly cut sides of Ube. This will prevent rot or fungi from developing in the Ube. Air or sun-dry the setts until cuts are dry.
- Prepare the seedling pot and the container. Ubi needs a deep, loose soil. Simply combine 40% sandy loam soil, 25% CRH, 25% Vermicast or fine composts, and 10% coco peat. I also added the ash fall I collected from Taal Volcanic ashes when it erupted last January 12, 2020. You can add some sand as well.After drying, setts maybe pre-sprouted or planted directly. I prefer to pre-sprout it in a seedling pot first. It usually sprouted after 2-3 weeks. When it sprouted and started to climb, that is the time to transplant it.
- Transplant it in the container or sack of rice. I use a big sack of rice (50 kilo sack) but, I only use the half size. Better to use double the sack of rice before putting the soil mixture. Place the sack in a bigger pot enough for the sack to fit in. Then, you can add same soil combination at the outside surrounding of the sack in the pot.In my case, I place my Ube Purple Yam container or Ube sack at the location where I planted it first. What I did is to just bury my Ube sack or Ube container to the ground that has been dug before. Using a sack of rice as a container to grow Ube is good because it is breathable material that prevents over watering. It provides a healthy environment for root plants. It is easy to harvest Ube with the sack of rice as a container because you can just pull it up and dig in a certain area to get the Ube.
- Set the Ube trellis. Find a good position for the trellis of your ube. Use garden ties to guide the vines of Ube. With my Ube trellis, good thing that we have a pole that is as high as the roof on the second floor. The Ube vines grow in an upright direction and it almost reaches the roof of the second floor. It is minimalist because there are no scattered Ube leaves growing on the ground and you grow it in a container. Just make sure to guide the vines in an upright then it will simply follow with the direction of the trellis.In taking care of the growth of Ube, simply water it daily. Feed with an organic fertilizer such as Vermicast, used coffee grounds, banana peels, epsom salt, etc. I usually put used coffee grounds weekly after I brew coffee in the morning.
- Harvesting Ube Purple Yam. How long does Ube take to grow? The underground tubers Ube Purple Yam weighing one to six kilograms can be harvested six or 8 months after planting. Ubi is ready for harvest when its foliage is already yellowing or drying up. With my second Ube plant, it took me more than a year to harvest it because I waited for the leaves to dry up.
Here’s the actual photo of my Ube Purple Yam Harvest. It weighs more than five kilos. From the appearance of its cortex, it looks like a VU-1 (BASCO UBI) Ube variety. The cortex color is white with a purplish flesh/ tinge. The growth habitat is green with purplish leaf veins, nodes and petiole ends.
What is the best Ube Variety? I really do not know the real answer to this but, based on my research, Kinampay Variety is known for its sweet aroma and good taste and dubbed as the “Queen of Philippine Yams” which has smooth and round roots.
Ubing Kinampay is classified into five (5) varieties namely; Original Kinampay: reddish purple flesh Kabus-ok:white flesh with large roots Tamisan: reddish white flesh and sweeter in taste Binanag : creamy-white flesh and elongated Binato: big and hard root with whitish flesh color Other local cultivars are Binalog, Ubsah, Appari, Negro, Alabat, Kameral I and Kameral II.
Where to Buy Ube Plants? You can purchase it from some farmers or gardeners who grow it. If you are planning to grow Ube, it is better to just buy Ube and grow it.
I hope you’ve learned on “How to grow purple yam in a container?” with my Ube Purple Yam Story.
credit reference: Bureau of Plant Industry – Home (da.gov.ph)