Known for its sweet yet starchy flavour and dominant in many Asian and Polynesian cuisines, learning how to grow a taro plant is an easy feat to master.
Otherwise known as Colocasia esculenta, the humble taro plant has been cultivated for centuries in Asia, the Pacific Islands and New Zealand. As it’s particularly fond of hot and humid conditions, it’s no surprise that this root vegetable has long been used as an alternative to potatoes in these parts of the world.
Much like the potato, the appeal of the taro plant is often thought to be its wide variety of uses. Taro corms can be prepared in similar fashions to the spud, as it can be steamed, boiled, fried, roasted, mashed, or even pounded down into a paste or powder for flour, soups, and even bubble tea.
For the health conscious, it’s worth noting that taro root contains more than six grams of fibre per cup – more than twice the amount in a comparable serving of potatoes. If your veggie patch is looking a little dull and you’re on the hunt for a new addition, growing a taro plant is easier than you might think.
The Basics Of Growing Taro Plants In A Veggie Garden
Much like any other tuber vegetable that is high in starch, taro tubers are spherical and about the size of a tennis ball. Each plant grows one large tuber often surrounded by several smaller tubers, and are often covered with brownish skin and hairs, while the flesh is pinkish purple, beige, or white.
Firstly, it’s important to note that the large leaves of a taro plant can grow as high as one to two metres – so you’re going to need some space. Next, taros need partial shade away from direct sunlight, and prefer rich, water holding soil with plenty of organic matter. They don’t tolerate cold conditions well (especially frost), so keep this in mind when planting, especially as they need around seven months to be ready for harvest.
When you’re ready to start planting, place the tuber a few centimetres below the surface of the soil. Most people opt to add several taro plants to their veggie patch at once, but make sure that they’re at least 60cm to 90cm apart, with 1.8 metres between rows – again, while these guys get quite large, they need enough room to grow and share the soil’s nutrients equally.
In addition, taro is propagated in one of two ways –
- By offshoots from the mother corm. Offshoots are separated from the main plant when they are at least 15cm in height.
- 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 needs consistent irrigation and a well-drained rich soil with plenty of organic matter, so don’t skimp on the mulch, and be prepared for the responsibility of committing to a regular watering schedule. If you can do that, expect to be rewarded with a healthy yet tasty addition to your dinner table.
When learning how to grow a taro plant – or any vegetable for that matter – it’s crucial to protect them against any unwanted invaders if you want a decent harvest. Although healthy soil is one of the most effective ways to proactively fend off pests and diseases, tackling weeds is a whole other story. Using chemicals on fruit is a big no-no, especially if you plan on consuming your harvest – so what’s the alternative?
Introducing A Safer Way To Spray
Bioweed is an organic, non selective weed killer that works fast on contact with the weed, in order to rapidly desiccate and burn even the most stubborn of plants. It can be used anywhere around the house including garden beds, veggie patches, paths and driveways, and is safe to use around children, animals and even native wildlife.
The best part? Bioweed is the brainchild of well established agricultural leaders greenPRO, and is backed by over twenty years of research and development. Owned and manufactured in Australia, the primary ingredient of Bioweed is actually sustainably sourced pine oil, and is even approved by NASAA, ACO and APVMA for use around organic farms and food production.
If you’re on the hunt for a weed killer that’s safe to use around pets or kids, or simply want to know more about eliminating weeds safely – check out other tips and tricks in our online advice forum, or contact us for any further queries.