H shares a grocery store haul and asks about keeping tropical roots alive through winter:
“Found these today at a local grocery store (Food Lion). Any suggestions for keeping until it’s warm enough to plant? Augusta, GA. Zone 8a.”
“I plan on putting the sweet potatoes in a pot to get some slips sometime in March. Not sure what to do with the rest. I just put out a cover crop where I plan on planting the sugar cane so I’m scared to plant them and then forget about them when I till under the cover crop. Also got calabasa, yautia, and ñame.”
I usually store dormant yam roots in a bucket with some slightly moist leaves, straw or hay over them through the winter, as I do in this video:
I have potted up taro/malanga roots before and they did fine. I’ve also put sugar cane in pots through the winter and had it do just fine.
The trick with roots (and canes like sugarcane) is pretty simple.
Keep them from drying out. Keep them from rotting. Keep them from freezing.
Tropical plants usually won’t grow much, if at all, when the temperatures are low – or even cool.
A bucket with roots and leaves in it is usually quite sufficient to keep them alive. If you pot them, do not water much. When it’s cool they just can’t take wet conditions and will often rot.
Good haul and happy planting.
I remember this video and it definitely got me thinking about trying to grow more root crops. I wonder how hard it would be to get hold of some valerian root. It’s nice in a sleepy tea mix and I also take it in capsule form. Sure would be nice to grow my own, it isn’t cheap.