Introduction to growing Taro root in the backyard
Taro is a plant well known for its delicious nutty roots is easy to grow and tastes excellent. Taro is a perennial herbaceous plant that grows from 3 to 6 feet tall. Taro is also called Dasheen. Taro is a water plant, but you don’t need wetlands or pond in your backyard to grow it. You can effectively grow Taro in containers if you do it right. Growing Taro root in a pot is one way to enjoy this attractive plant without wetlands or ponds.
A step by step guide to growing Taro root in the backyard of home garden
Taro root is popular as a houseplant thanks to its dramatic leaves, which are shaped like elephant ears. Whether you want to grow it for decoration or food, Taro root prefers a warm, moist environment and plenty of suns. Taro root plants rarely flower and produce seeds, so they are most commonly grown by planting a tuber, also known as a corm. Taro root leaves are elongated, light green, and heart-shaped similar to an elephant’s ear. Tubers are spherical and about the size of a tennis ball often covered with brownish hairs and skin; the flesh is pinkish purple, white or beige. Each Taro root plant grows one large tuber often surrounded by several smaller tubers. Taro needs seven months of hot weather to mature.
The health benefits of Taro root include its ability to improve digestion, prevent certain types of cancers, lower your blood sugar levels, boost vision health, protect the skin, increase circulation, decrease blood pressure, aid the immune system and prevent heart disease, while also supporting muscle and nerve health.
Different varieties of Taro root for growing in the home backyard, pots or containers
There are various cultivars and forms of Taro root; some with purple veins or purple leaves in the leaves, some for growing in dry conditions, and some for growing in wet conditions. Taro root cultivars are often grouped by the color of their flesh ranging from pink to yellow to white.
Soil requirement for growing Taro root in the backyard garden
Taro root requires moist, rich, well-drained soil to moisture-retentive soil. Taro root grows best in a soil pH value between 5.5 and 6.5. Grow it in the fertile soil and well-drained, which is rich in organic matter. The soil must be somewhat acidic to neutral with a pH level between 5.5 to 6.5. Avoid clay-rich and compacted soil.
Taro root plant spacing
Taro root is grown from small sections of the tuber, suckers, or small tubers. Plant Taro in furrows 6 inches deep and cover corms with 2 to 3 inches of soil; space plants 15 to 24 inches apart with a row spacing of 40 inches. Plants grow to about 36 inches tall and about 20 inches across.
Conditions for growing Taro root in pots, containers
Taro root can be grown in a container in a backyard or warm cellar to force shoots or stems for winter use. Force tubers in a warm bed of sand. Cut and use shoots when they reach about 6 inches tall; shoots can be blanched by placing a heavy burlap tent over the shoots.
Taro grows best in the hot and humid weather, and the ideal temperature for growing Taro falls between 20°C to 35°C. The plant does not support low temperatures and won’t thrive below 10 °C.
- Different varieties of Taro root can grow to different sizes, so the size shouldn’t be the only factor, but the tuber you use should be plump, clean, and free from soft spots or mould.
- Although there are more than 100 varieties of Taro, the 2 most common are eddoe and dasheen.
- Taro is a large tuber with a crumbly, dry flesh.
Choose a backyard location where water will be collected
If you have a low area in your garden where water tends to pool, this is the perfect place for your Taro root. Taro root thrives in moist environments, and having plenty of water will help ensure the formation of large, healthy tubers. If you don’t have a spot where water will collect, you can plant the Taro root anywhere. Just keep in mind that you will need to water your Taro root regularly.
Taro root plant propagation
The easiest way to propagate Taro is from tubers, which you can get from a nearby nursery. Put the tuber in a well-draining and compost-rich soil. Maintain the soil moist and you will see the tuber sprouting in 1 to 2 weeks.
Taro is propagated in two ways;
1. By offshoots from the mother corm. Offshoots are separated from the main plant when they are at least 15 cm in height.
2. By chopping the dark top section of the Taro tuber into small pieces, leave for a day to allow surfaces to dry and replant.
Taro root requires consistent irrigation and well-drained rich soil with plenty of organic matter. Fertilize 2 or 3 times during the growing season; potash is particularly important.
Growing Taro in a pot, container
Container grown Taro is potentially messy, so be prepared for that if you are growing indoors. A five-gallon bucket is a good choice for holding a Taro plant, as there are no drainage holes. Use soil that is rich, adding fertilizer if necessary; Taro root is a heavy feeder.
Fill the bucket with soil nearly to the top. A layer of pebbles or gravel for the last 2 inches helps to maintain mosquitoes at bay. Plant the Taro in the soil, add the pebble layer, and then fill the bucket with water. As the water level drops, add more. Your potted Taro plants need sun and warmth, so choose its spot carefully. Keep in mind that nurseries often sell only decorative or ornamental Taro, so if you want to grow it to eat the tubers, you may need to search online for plants. And expect it to take at least six months for a tuber you can eat to develop. You can also grow a plant from a tuber if you have one like you would with a potato. Depending on where you live, Taro may be considered invasive, so it’s smart to stick to container growing.
To get an idea of how many plants to grow, 10 to 15 plants per person is a good average. The plant is easily propagated via tubers, which can be obtained at some nurseries or from the grocers. Depending upon the species, the tubers may be smooth and round or rough and fibered. Regardless, just place the tuber in an area of the garden with rich, moist, well-draining soil with a pH between 5.5 and 6.5. Set the tubers in furrows 6 inches deep and cover with 2 to 3 inches of soil, spaced 15 to 24 inches apart in rows that are 40 inches apart.
Keep the Taro root consistently moist; Taro is often grown in wet paddies, like that of rice. Feed the Taro with a high potassium organic fertilizer, compost tea, or compost. For a non-stop supply of Taro root, a second crop can be planted between the rows about 12 weeks before the first crop is harvested.
Water requirement for growing Taro root in the backyard, pots, containers
- Keep Taro root plants well-watered; the soil must be consistently moist. Water Taro often in dry weather. Feed Taro with rich organic fertilizer, compost tea, or compost. Taro root prefers a high-potassium fertilizer.
- Water regularly and deeply to always keep the soil moist. Adult Taro root plants are drought-resistant but don’t grow long in the lack of water.
- Some Taro root cultivars grow in flood-prone areas with running water or on the banks of waterways. Stagnant water sites are not suitable for them because the corms may rot more easily in these conditions.
- For the healthiest Taro root, the soil must stay constantly moist. Touch the soil to see if it feels damp. If it’s dry, give it sufficient water to completely soak the soil.
- Use a spray bottle to mist the leaves of your Taro root plant at least once a day. This provides the humidity that your plant needs to thrive.
- A container-grown Taro root plant requires a similar amount of water. You can reduce the amount of water you give the plant just before harvest time to force the Taro to direct its nutrients to the tuber.
Taro root plant care
Keep Taro root planting beds weed-free. Keep the planting bed moist. In early spring, plant pre-sprouted tubers with protection using a plastic tunnel or cloche. Plants grown in a greenhouse must be misted often.
Pests and diseases
- Red spider mites and Aphids may attack Taro grown indoors.
- Taro leaf blight will cause circular water-soaked spots on plant leaves. Downy mildew may attack Taro.
Remove weeds as they grow. Weeds can reduce a Taro root yield by as much as half. Pull up any weeds you see as soon as they appear, especially while the Taro is taking root. Once the Taro root is established, it will produce its ground cover that will help prevent weeds from growing. However, this can take several months.
When and How to harvest Taro roots
You may also check this: Growing Organic Potatoes In Backyard, Containers.
To harvest the Taro root plant, you’ll have to break and loosen the tuber and its suckers manually. Pull the tuber out by hand, then wash it to remove soil and roots. Tubers will take 12 to 18 months to mature, although you should be able to harvest the leaves 2 to 3 times a year.
Within the first week, you should notice a small green stem poking up through the soil. Soon, the plant will become a thick bush that may grow foot to up to 6 feet, depending upon the species. As the plant grows, it will continue to send out shoots, leaves, and tubers which allow you to continually harvest some of the plants without harming it. The whole process takes about 200 days from planting corms to harvest.
To harvest the corms, lift them gently from the soil with a garden fork just before the first frost in the fall. The leaves may be picked as soon as the first few leaves have opened. As long as you don’t cut all the leaves, new ones will grow, giving a continuous supply of greens.
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