How Do You Grow Cassava?
November 22, 2023
Growing cassava requires a bit of planning since you’ll need to grow it from seeds. This can be a bit challenging if you’ve never grown plants from seed before, but it’s not impossible. In fact, growing cassava is one of the easiest plant-based protein sources available and one of the most reliable as well. If you follow some easy steps, you’ll have plenty of success growing cassava at home.
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Cassava Growing Cheatsheet
🌡️ Thrives in tropical climates: 25-35°C
💦 Requires 1,500-2,500 mm annual rainfall
🌱 Prefers well-drained and slightly acidic soil pH 5.5-6.5
💪 Tolerates sandy soils but grows best in loamy soils
➕ Plant stem cuttings 10-15 cm deep
📏 Space rows 1-1.5 meters apart
⚡️ Apply organic fertilizer at planting
Growth & Harvest
📆 Takes 6-12 months to mature
🌿 Harvest when leaves yellow, 8-12 months after planting
💪 Yields up to 25 tons per hectare
🔪 Peel and remove toxic cyanide-containing peel
🔥 Boil, cook or ferment to eliminate cyanide toxin
Nutrition & Uses
🌾 Excellent calorie source: 160 cal per 100g serving
💪 Loaded with dietary fiber for better digestion
🌽 Versatile: flour, chips, animal feed, and more
🌍 Resilient crop, vital for food security
🌱 Drought-tolerant, key in climate change-stricken regions
💚 Promotes self-sufficiency and income generation
1. Choose A Variety That’s Right For You
Growing cassava is a great option for those who are health-conscious. You can enjoy the benefits of this superfood without worrying about excessive calories, or any other negative side effects that come with eating meat.
If you are trying out growing cassava for the first time, we recommend growing the popular cassava varieties that are available. These varieties are generally easier to grow than other varieties and produce the highest yields. You can also choose to grow varieties that are native to your region, as these varieties are usually more tolerant to local conditions.
The right variety of cassava is important because some varieties are better suited for specific growing regions. For example, the Asian Indian cassava is best grown in the tropical regions of Asia. The West Indian varieties are much more tolerant of the growing conditions of the Caribbean and South America.
2. Plant The Seeds
Cassava seeds can be planted in the fall or spring, depending on the variety you are growing. Planting them too early in the year can cause low yields and the plants are also very sensitive to frost, so planting them too late in the fall can cause damage to the roots.
To plant the seeds, you can use either a soil block or planting mix. You can sow the seeds in the block or mix at a depth of 1/4 inch (6 mm) and cover them with 1/4 inch (6 mm) of soil. Alternatively, you can sow the seeds on the surface. this method is especially convenient if you are planting many seeds.
Be careful not to overwater the seeds and ensure that the soil is evenly moist. If you are planting seeds on the surface, you can keep them watered by placing in a tray filled with water. You can sow seeds in the fall or spring, depending on the variety you are growing.
3. Grow The Plants
Cassava is a tropical plant, which means it grows best in hot, humid regions. It is tolerant to a wide range of temperatures, humidity, and soil types.
Cassava is a perennial plant, which means that it grows back after being harvested. the plants can grow to a height of 3 feet (1 meter). However, you can grow them shorter than this and still yield high-quality greens, as long as they are mature cassava plants.
Cassava is a monocropping plant, which means that you need to harvest it only once a year. The roots can grow up to 1.5 feet (45 cm) long and have a thick, woody husk. The husk should be removed when harvesting cassava. The roots can be harvested when the plant is between 7 and 10 inches (18 and 25 cm) tall.
4. Harvest Your Cassava Greens
When harvesting your cassava greens, be sure to do it just as the roots are starting to form. This will ensure you get the youngest and healthiest greens. The best method for harvesting your cassava is to pull the plant out of the ground. You can do this using gloves or using a pair of pruning shears.
After harvesting, you can store the roots in a plastic bag in the pantry. However, it is better to store them in an air-tight container to prevent them from losing their nutritional value. Cassava roots can last for over a year in good storage conditions. To store them, you can cut them into pieces and place them in an air-tight container.
5. Freeze Some Of Your Green Harvests If You Have Too Much
If you’re growing the asian indian variety, you can freeze some of the greens to store them for use during the off-season. You can do this by first harvesting your greens and then cutting them into pieces. You can then place them in an air-tight container and freeze them.
The Asian indian varieties have very high yields and produce a large number of greens. You can freeze the greens to save them for the off-season or during periods of bad harvest. If you’re growing the West Indian varieties, you can also freeze your greens. You can do this by first cutting the greens into small pieces and then freezing them in an air-tight container. The west indian varieties are easy to grow and produce a large number of greens. This makes them a good choice for freezing for later use.
Growing your own protein-rich foods like cassava is not only a great way to save money, but it’s also a great way to take back control of your diet. Enjoying fresh, homemade dishes is something that only comes with experience. With time, you’ll learn what works best for you and you’ll be able to create tasty, homemade meals that are also healthy for you.
Frequently Asked Questions about Growing Cassava
1. How do I plant cassava?
Plant cassava by using stem cuttings from mature plants. Insert the cuttings into the soil at a slight angle, making sure at least one node is covered.
2. What kind of soil does cassava prefer?
Cassava prefers well-drained soil with a pH range of 5.5 to 7.0 for optimal growth.
3. How often should I water cassava?
Water cassava regularly, keeping the soil evenly moist. However, avoid overwatering as it can lead to rot.
4. Does cassava require full sun?
Yes, cassava thrives in full sun and requires at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight daily.
5. How long does it take for cassava to grow?
Cassava typically takes about 8 to 12 months to reach maturity, depending on the variety.
6. When should I harvest cassava?
Harvest cassava when the leaves start turning yellow and the tubers are mature, usually around 9 to 12 months after planting.
7. How do I harvest cassava?
To harvest cassava, carefully dig around the base of the plant and lift the tubers from the ground. Handle them gently to avoid bruising or damage.
8. Can I grow cassava in containers?
Yes, cassava can be grown in large containers or pots with good drainage. Ensure the container is at least 18 inches deep to accommodate the growing roots.
9. Are there any common pests or diseases that affect cassava?
Yes, some common pests include mealybugs, spider mites, and whiteflies, while diseases like cassava mosaic virus and bacterial blight can also affect cassava. Take preventive measures and consider using organic pest control methods.
10. What can I do with harvested cassava?
Harvested cassava can be used to make various dishes such as cassava chips, fries, or even mashed cassava. It can also be processed into flour for baking or used as a thickening agent in recipes.
In conclusion, growing cassava is a rewarding and enriching experience that allows you to reconnect with nature and cultivate a staple crop with numerous benefits. As an experienced gardener, I have witnessed firsthand the transformative power of nurturing cassava plants from a small cutting into a flourishing crop. By providing the right conditions, such as well-drained soil, ample sunlight, and regular watering, you can ensure a bountiful harvest of these versatile tubers. Remember to prioritize patience and persistence as cassava takes time to mature fully.
While it may require some effort, the sweet taste of success is well worth it. Additionally, don't forget to take into account local weather conditions and diseases that could affect your cassava crop. Implementing proper pest control measures, using organic fertilizers, and practicing rotation every few years will ensure the continued health and productivity of your cassava garden. So, roll up your sleeves, get your hands dirty, and embark on this fulfilling journey of growing cassava. The sense of accomplishment and the satisfaction of savoring the fruits of your labor will be truly gratifying. Happy gardening, fellow green thumbs!