Less than Impressive Cassava Harvests


I picked the most likely candidate in the overgrown cassava bed down the hill and dug it:

That’s barely worth feeding to the chickens!

Back when I grew cassava in North Florida, the roots would grow huge in the loamy sand. Here, I don’t know. People do get decent harvests, but my guess is the shade and the clay hurt our yields.

I’m going to try again and see if I can do better. These were grown in loosened soil but I think they could have used more sun.

We’ll see.

Tools for Digging in Georgia Clay


Digging in Georgia clay has reminded my of one thing that’s really been nice about being back in Florida: sand!

I know… people complain about the sand here. However, it’s truly a boon for the impatient gardener. You can dig a LOT in a short period of time, making getting to China that much easier than it is in clay soils.

Even awesome tools can fail. Ow.

When I used to live in Tennessee, I had hard and rocky clay. I had almost forgotten the pain. Sure, clay has its own advantages. It holds moisture and minerals, plus allows you to line ponds and dye all your clothing rust-red. But still… it’s hard to dig.

This last week when I was in Georgia, I decided to put in a small garden with my young niece and nephew. I had brought beans to plant, I had my Clarington Forge spade and fork, and there was a good sunny spot… so all was well.

Or so I thought.

Once I started trying to dig, I realized we were in trouble. Even with forged heads and sharpened blades, the tools literally bounced off the ground.

I don’t mean figuratively: I DO mean literally.

The tools… bounced… off… the… ground.

The soil there was harder than it was in Tennessee. My guess is because it was a concrete-like mixture of clay and sand together. Another problem: beneath the top inch or two of wet ground after a rain, the ground beneath was hard and dry. Not good.

Since I didn’t have any dynamite, I decided it was time to take a trip to Lowes World to see if I could find something to chop at the ground.

As a side note: before leaving Florida, I tried to pack my amazing Easy Digging grub hoe but it wouldn’t fit in the back of the car. I think it would have done wonderfully (and its long handle was more ergonomic than what I ended up buying) but there was no way to pack it without letting it hang out of the side of the car.

The police hate things like that, so instead I bought one of these:


After sharpening the blade and putting in about two hours of hard labor with that pickaxe, I finished digging a 14″ or so deep bed for planting beans. The entire bed was about a 3′ x 7′ and it definitely gave me a workout, plus some good blisters. The tool came through like a champ.
All’s well that ends well, however. My niece and I had a great time planting beans.

Tomorrow I’ll show you what else we planted. This small suburban backyard will never be the same.