Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Taro - Planting More

I'm planting a lot more taro. Why? Hubby is now pre-diabetic, so we are adjusting our diet. He is eliminating potatoes, sweet potatoes, wheat, and rice. So we will cook with more taro, which is something he can have. 
(Freshly planted taro huli .... a lehua variety.)
Taro grows readily here. I'm surely no expert when it comes to taro, but many of the varieties grow well on my farm. Up until now I used to grow it then use it for trade and to give away. But now I'm going to have to pay a bit more attention to the crop. I need to learn which ones we prefer and find recipes that we like. 

The first step will be planting more. I'm acquiring some new varieties to experiment with. Today I picked up a new red stemmed one that I'll try. And I harvested a lehua variety which I replanted today. I already know that we like this one made into home fries. 
A new variety for me that I picked up today. I don't know the name
of this one, nor what its best use will be. 
I prepared the new taro pieces for planting. These are called huli. Excess stems were removed. Excess tuber was also removed. Then they were cleaned up in general, removing anything that would rot. Looking over each one carefully, I don't find any disease or insects I should be concerned about. I've had success planting them immediately although it has been suggested that I let them dry out overnight before planting. Perhaps that would make a difference in an area that was wetter. But planting immediately has always worked for me. 

I plant each huli deep, 6 inches down, and about two foot apart in the row. I can't go deeper because that's as much soil as I have before I hit the lava bed. But as the taro grows I will add mulch, with the mulch layer getting quite thick. I find that it takes anywhere from 7 to 15 months till harvest, depending upon the variety. That's for the tubers. Leaves and stems can be harvested sooner. Plants used for leaves and stems get set back, not producing good tubers. So I keep separate areas for the two types of harvest. 

The planting method I just described is the simplest way for me to grow taro. But there are many other ways to do it. As I add new varieties to my garden I'll describe some of the other methods. 

1 comment:

  1. I have found this publication to be very informative. I was wondering why we got so small roots but I've learnt here that harvesting the leaves impacts in the root produce.Living here in the Caribbean, we use a lot of the leaves, in our national dish Calallo,oil down and bhagee. The more often we harvest the leaves, the more they produce but the roots are very small. Thanks for sharing.