Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Growing Wai San...Yes, Believe It Or Not!

Whenever I see fresh wai san or shan yao or Chinese yam in the market, I'll buy some. As wai san can keep for a few weeks wrapped in paper in the fridge, it is a worthwhile buy. (And you know how I love making wai san soup and wai san congee).

Sometimes, I forget I have wai san sitting in my vegetable compartment and when I finally dig it out, it has gone all mouldy and icky.

I am not too sure if I mentioned this but I compost all of my organic matter - from cooked stuff to fish bones and meat bones. A lot of people will only compost vegetable and fruit - I am not too sure why they think fish bones or meat bones or chicken bones won't compost. Maybe they fear the smell of rotting animal matter?

As I've been composting using a 10-pot system taught by my friend Don for more than 2 years now, I can tell you that as long as you cover your waste matter with minimum 2 inches of soil, there will be no flies or maggots. Of course bones will not compost easily. It is after all made of calcium. However there is no smell even if I compost stuff like gravy, curry or even cooked stuff.

Anyway, a few weeks ago I found an old piece of wai san in my fridge. Decided to chop it up into smaller chunks and compost it in my compost pot.

I thought that was the end of it.

The wai san was not to be outwitted. My compost pot seemed to be the perfect environment for these chunks of wai san to grow!

When I dug out the compost pot, I saw that the chunks of wai san, left for dead, had grown healthy roots.

It was a surprise indeed.

Since it was growing happily, I decided to transfer these 4 chunks of wai san into a proper pot.

I have been googling about planting or growing wai san and what do you know? It is a seemingly easy tuber to grow. And it can be invasive and take over your entire garden so while it is a useful herb, you don't want to grapple with a wai san overgrowth problem.

The wai san plant grows like a creeper and has flowers which smell like cinnamon!

I shall keep you posted on how my wai san grows. If it really grows well, I may not ever need to buy wai san from the market again. 
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