I’ve been fiddling around for the last few years with staple root crops for Florida.
Thus far, we’ve tested the following:
Jerusalem Artichokes: Generally not worth growing. Roots tend to rot.
Yacon: Worth growing. Easy but roots are not calorie-rich.
Malanga: Yields low except in greywater basin. More testing needed.
Cassava: Definitely worth growing. Easy and moderately productive.
Sweet Potatoes: Definitely worth growing. Very productive.
Boniato: Failed to set many useable roots.
White Potatoes: Generally poor yields. Succumbs to fire ants.
Ginger: Easy to grow. Yields moderate.
Turnips: Easy to grow. Very good yields.
Water chestnuts: Easy to grow. Moderate yields.
Now, thanks to my friend Mart, I also have some taro plants I’m testing out.
Taro, like malanga, is a type of edible “elephant ear.” They like moist or swampy conditions and have few if any pest problems.
Along with giving me plants, Mart has also hooked me up with a stream of information regarding the cultivation of this potential staple for Florida – like this informative video:
Anyone here have any luck growing taro? What have been your experiences?
Jerusalum artichokes not worth it? I had thought it was one of the staples and you had to worry about it taking over. Is this your more recent experience?
Here's the deal: I grew it in Tennessee and it was amazing. Very productive and almost no work. Got buckets of tubers. I wrote about that on The Prepper Project and highly recommend it as a crop for any place with colder winters. Here in Florida it's been disappointing. I keep planting it every year but haven't had near the luck. Maybe I'll find a better cultivar eventually. I've got some in the food forest that are blooming right now. If I dig this type in the winter and it's good, I'll rethink it.
Funnily enough, I bought a taro corm at the asian market last year, planted it, it grew, then I forgot about it. It came back on its own this year, and I've been keeping an eye on it and when it starts to fade, I'll (try to remember to) dig it up and see what's what. My sunchokes are no longer flowering (wilting in fact) so I'm going to dig one of them up this weekend. If the taro is successful, I know where to buy a bunch! I'll be sure to post the results on my blog!
I would wait a little longer on the Jerusalem artichokes. Let them get good and dead. Good luck with the taro!
I planted a few eddoes in the spring and recently harvested the first plant. About 2 lbs of tubers from a relatively small plant in a shady area. It was the surprise success of the year.
Hey – alright. Thank you for the report.
Jerusalem artichokes taste great. However they will give you gas. I tried anti gas pills but it didn’t help.
Any suggestions on getting rid of the gas after eating the chokes?
They’ll cause some serious stomach pain for sure. The trick seems to be long, slow cooking or fermenting them first. After… it’s too late!
How did your taro grow in the pond? I’m near Orlando, and my soil is pure sand. I love taro for their leaves – to make lau lau – my favorite Hawaiian dish. A few years ago I brought home some taro root from the grocery store after a trip to California, and planted them.
Planted them first in some pots with straight potting mix, put them in the sun and gave them daily water to keep them moist. Only about half grew and some got mushy and rotted. I thought maybe they were too wet. Maybe the “Chinese taro” (as it was labeled) liked drier soil?
The following spring I planted the survivors in large nusury pots that I buried in the ground, and filled with a mix of 3/4 potting soil, peatmoss, and compost blend, and 1/4 sand. With the sand mostly mixed into the bottom half. The plants grew big, beautiful leaves last year, which I continually harvested through the summer. They slowed down over the winter months, but this summer they never really took off again. I dug around in the pots recently and there there only small corms left. I expected to find big clusters of big tubers after so long.
I just bought some more from the grocery store to bring home with me from another trip to CA, and wonder if I should amend the soil in my buried pots (about 24″diameter) to keep them more wet? Or maybe I need to harvest the roots and replant in the winters? Did your pond-planted taro spread like the invasive wild taro found in FL waterways? I was hoping mine would – which is why I put them in pots to contain them.
David do you know very much about eddoes? I live in zone 8b, Mobile, AL, and I planted a few eddoe bulbs last year that I purchased from a local Asian market. The eddoes sprouted and grew elephant ear like plants and died back in the winter. This summer they have come back with a fervor and the plants look larger than before. I have not dug any of these up as I would like to just leave them in the ground as a backup, just in case, food supply. Do you happen to know if these tubers/corms continue to grown and or multiply underground if left undisturbed similar to the purple yam? I have looked around on the internet and can get info that they are truly edible but not a lot of info on their underground growth habits. I figured if anybody knew and or had tried them it would be you my green thumbed compadre. Please share the undisturbed knowledge sitting dormant up there in your cerebral cortex. Thanks in advance My Brother.
Hello, just bought malaga from grocery store, they had wax on them. Planted them in a 36″ pot, they rotted. I used amened soil. Will go the farmers market this weekend & try latin grocery store. Thack in adance for you video.
Hello, Planted them in a 36″ pot, they had wax on them rotted. I used amened soil. Will go the farmers market this weekend & try latin grocery store. Thank in adance for you video.
David what about the Eddoes…any experience, recommendations? Thanks.