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Cassava, often called yuca in the U.S, is a starchy root vegetable that is similar to a long white sweet potato but with a woody skin. Cassava grows well with plenty of sun and warm weather, meaning a tropical climate is ideal for growing this vegetable.
GROWING CASSAVA: PLANTING GUIDE
- Growing zones: Cassava is from tropical environments and it needs 8 months of heat to grow well, ideally zones 8-11. Growing cassava below zone 8 is impractical. When it gets cold, cassavas freeze to the ground, but they’ll come back to life and gift you with wonderful roots and leaves.
- Sun: As you would expect from a plant that originates in a tropical environment, cassava thrives in full sun. It likes heat and humidity.
- Soil: Cassava is one of those plants that grow well in any soil type, even poor soil. Loamy soil rich with well-rotted organic matter produces the best results, however. Cassava may struggle in clay or compact soil, but even then it will produce enough to harvest. Soil should have a pH between 5.5 and 6.5 to produce the best results.
- When to Plant: Plant cassavas indoors once temperatures are warm outside. Transplant when temps have reached at least 70°F. Harden plants off for 7-10 days before planting, and protect plants from cold. All growth stops at 50°F and below.
- How to plant cassava: PBury ½ to 2/3 of the lower end end in the soil. Plant the cuttings in mounds or ridges. Plant when the soil is quite wet, after the beginning of the rainy season. You can plant the cuttings either straight or slanting. Push them well into the earth, leaving only 2 or 3 buds above ground. Then the roots that develop will be well nourished by the soil.
- Watering: Water the cassava plant immediately after planting. Keep the soil slightly moist for two to three weeks, then resume normal watering. Like all succulents, cassava retains water in its leaves, so very little water is needed.
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