Cassava in the Ground

We had a failure in keeping cassava through the winter.

I buried a bunch of stems into a sand hill near us to keep them through the winter. I did something similar in Florida. Here, however, it didn’t work. All of my cuttings rotted!

I will have to try a different method next year. The rainfall here is high, so I think the cold, sopping wet ground did them in.

I had saved enough to plant a small field… and now I have very few.

The only cassava that survived the winter were the cuttings I kept in bundles inside a pair of feed bags in the greenhouse, and the dozen or so cuttings I potted up in case my in-ground storage failed.

Always have backups!

Last week I re-shaped an eroded sandpile and made a new space to garden.

There was a biochar burn pit, some grass and a sloped area of eroded sand, but now there is a tall pile of sand and a nice flat area for gardening.

We shaped it into mounded beds and planted the cassava canes yesterday.

The bed on the far right has cane buried horizontally in it with some small shoots coming up that cannot be seen in this picture.

Today we’re going to mulch these beds to keep them from eroding. Heavy rains are expected this evening and I don’t want my hard work melting away. This area is like beach sand with almost no organic matter. The mulch will help keep it from eroding and add some life to the system.

I also buried some fresh cow manure under the sand when we made these beds.

We are getting a mounded cart-full of manure about every three days from our Dexter cows. I think they might be worth having just for their manure production – it’s just what my poor soil needs!

I am glad we managed to keep some cassava alive, though losing most of our stock was a blow. The high-producing variety I grew out last year was carefully cut into dozens of cuttings and stored in that sand pit. Now we only have a few of those remaining, and I won’t know which they are until they produce again and let me know via their exemplary production. It’s like starting over, but at least we didn’t lose everything.

The two bags of cuttings I saved were my old North Florida variety I got from Indians in Frostproof.

Sam at Scrubland Farmz kept propagating that variety when I moved overseas and hooked me up again some months ago. It makes large roots but requires a long growing season. It’s not well-suited to this area and will probably take two years to harvest.

Right now I am looking for fast-producing types if anyone has leads. We had a short variety in Grenada that made big roots in just four months but I can’t find it here. Yet! We’ll keep searching.

Have a great day, everyone. I hope to record some new videos soon.

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