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Growing and cooking taro by Ray Grogan
My favorite cycles in Iowa: Tidy Cats and bunches

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I cut this one open to show the dirt level. If it were full, the plant might be a smidge bigger, but come spring it would have to be “turned over” (dump out the dirt, take one plant, and redo with new dirt).

 

The vision with the half full dirt is to skip the turnover by just filling it up more. That will give it more root space, and should result in at least fair growth.

 

(Note – taro plants float – so it takes about 4” of dirt to hold it down if you are going straight to water. Less dirt is OK if you let it root a week or so.)

 

Some spring the eventual end will come, with a root bound plant, chock-a-block with small corms, and no more room for dirt. At that point I will have two good options.

 

One is to do the “bunch” trick described on the previous page. (Actually, some of those pix were taken in Iowa.) Just plant the whole blob of roots into a deep hole in the garden outside. If I have plenty of planting material, and limited garden room, this is the best option for overall easiness at every stage.

 

The other option would be to break it apart. This will give many individual corms to plant, which will give more overall garden filled and more overall production.

 

 

I don’t have many pictures of this new trick. Basically it is just using a “Tidy Cat” container, and not filling it up too full the first time.

 

Tidy Cat containers can be acquired with a little dumpster diving at your local recycling center. It is handy to have a short hook on a stick.

 

These containers hold 2-3 times as much dirt as a milk jug, and the plants will approach their maximum size. Yet you can still lift them and move them quite easily. It is a good balance.

 

The plant in the picture is after one summer. It has had a few leaves harvested. Its next fate will be to get moved back indoors for the Iowa winter. For the move indoors I will harvest all of its leaves, leaving just a “periscope” new leaf in the center. Then during the first few months indoors it will continue to flourish and be harvested, then barely make it until spring.

 

When spring comes the “half full” of dirt comes in handy.

 

 

 

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On to landscape, shade, commercial