Myers grows great yam

Keen amateur gardener, Ransford
Myers has got green fingers when it comes to growing white yam. This whopper
was planted in his front garden in Frank Sound last February/March from a yam
head given to him by friend Davis Scott.

Although he had no scales to weigh
the behemoth, he said: “It was definitely no less than 80lbs. In my opinion,
it’s very large for a white yam. It’s the largest I’ve ever grown and I’ve been
growing them for a long, long time.”

Department of Agriculture’s agronomist, Raymond Coleman, gave a qualified
assessment of the vegetable.

 “Based on the photograph, the yam would rank
among one of the largest yams to have been grown in the Cayman Islands,
however, it is impossible to verify if it is the largest grown on the Islands
to date, as records of yam weight produced throughout the years are not maintained,”
he said.

Dug up last week, the root
vegetable was given to five friends and there is still plenty left over for Mr.
Myers to cook.

The 45-year-old maintenance worker
at Morritt’s Tortuga spends much of his spare time tending to the many vegetables
and plants in his garden and on family land nearby.

Besides white yam, he grows
pumpkins, sea potatoes, cassava, okra, callaloo and breadfruit. Mr. Myers also
cultivates fruit, including cherries, limes, sweet and sour sops, watermelon
and oranges.

“I’ve been gardening all my life,”
he said. “It’s a hobby and is great exercise… My father had a farm in St.
Elizabeth, Jamaica, and I worked it when I was a small boy.”

When it comes to getting the best
from his produce, Mr. Myers said: “I follow what the old folks do. For example,
underground crops I plant when the moon is nearly full.”

Mr. Coleman said that among the
most common varieties of yam grown locally are Cayman white yam, Negro yam, Jamaican yellow yam
and Costa Rican yam. “There are also large cultivars such as Jamaican renta yam
and St. Vincent yam that may also have the genetic potential to produce this
size,” he added.