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Growing and cooking taro by Ray Grogan
Growing taro for corms



Growing season – pretty much has to be all year I think.


Bucket size – the pot you have the plant in has to be bigger, at least a few gallons. I used to use a 5 gal bucket in a 30 gallon trash can. Lately I have been experimenting with smaller.


Human strength – to lift a 5-gal bucket, full of wet dirt and a big plant, safely out of a trash can full of water, is just barely doable for me.

I have not completely wired the things that make corms taste best. Here is my list:


Timing – at least 6-9 months.


No leaf harvesting. Just let the plant run its course.


No fertilizer in the later stages. I think the best may be to mix in something like 10-20-20 early on (in the original dirt mix ideally), along with tons of organic matter / compost, and let it run its course.

The tastiest bun long corms I have ever had came from “super mature” ones, on a cold Iowa Halloween. I’d cut the leaves off about 2 weeks earlier. Then we had 2 pretty good frosts (enough to turn the taro stems to jelly). Harvest was just a quick scrape with a knife, leaving some skin, and cut off just above corm. Cooking was in a regular batch of my fake pulasami, with the corms laid in the pot first so they got a little extra heat. And I cooked a little hot and long, maybe an hour total. Enough for a little blackening. A little extra water and salt. The corms came out a nice juicy purple color, almost as easy to eat and tasty as pi’i ali’i. (The leaves cooked above the corms were a little bland, almost as if the corms stole some of their goodness.) Interesting. Next year I’ll try it again, and get better notes and pix. The set up at planting was the “bunch” method, and during this growing season I used no fert at all (my garden has had lots of compost and ferts in years past), and no watering (an OK year, but not wet). Also no til, just a hole and plop in. The leaves this year have been extra good, seemingly liking the hands off approach. The harvests were smaller, though, just to note. The corms on this bunch batch (which also leads to small corms) were smaller than tennis balls.

On to easiest Hawaii cycle



On the left you can see the purple color of a pi’i ali’i corm. And on the right the purple fibers inside a bun long corm.


If you want to grow corms it requires a little more than growing leaves.