Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

Addy posted:
In my impatient hunt for cocoyam, I found and bought a kilo of taro (so said the sign) - hoping they are cocoyams in disguise! I picked medium-sized corms with what looks like little growing tips around the top.
Does anyone have advice on propagating them? Is this the right season to plant them? I'm thinking of starting them in pots, and putting them in the ground in Spring...

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Scarlett said:
Sounds good to me

The corms will probably stay dormant over the winter and should be planted out to their final position in Sept - October. You can keep them in pots or damp sand until you are ready to plant them out.

taro = Colocasia esculenta
cocoyam = Xanthosoma saggitifolium

Xanthosoma will grow happily in dryer conditions than Colocasia. Both of these are grown for tubers, as the leaves have calcium oxalate crystals in them that will irritate the throat. Apparently the cocoyams with brown or purple stems are not suitable for eating - choose only those with green or pink stems.

Tahitian spinach = Xanthosoma brasiliense is grown for the edible leaves and does not produce an edible tuber.

I wonder which ones you got. Sounds exciting!
Scarlett said:
Elisabeth Fekonia's book says this (Elisabeth is a site member):
"When the taro has about three leaves left [cold season], lift the plant carefully out of the ground and slice the corm off the aerial part leaving a small section of the top of the corm onto your plant. The corm will have baby suckers (pups) and these can be taken of and potted up or replanted. The original mother plant shuold have the leaves sliced off with a remaining young centre leaf left in place. This too can be planted out again in Spring."
Florence said:
I saw some very nice fresh looking taro and purple yam (that's what's on the label) at the Chinese supermarket yesterday, I was so tempted to buy them to grow ~~ Hope I will see them as nice when my garden beds are ready ~ Hope what you bought was what you wanted, any pictures of what you got there?
Scarlett said:
I planted my yam now the first time and it sat in the ground until spring and then sprouted - might be worth a go...? or you could keep it somewhere dry and dark and cool, or alternatively in damp sand - not sure which would be better. wouldn't be good for it to dry out completely i guess
Addy said:
I'll take a pic tomorrow AM and post it here! But it's so confusing - this website calls it a wild taro
Wilkepedia says "Cocoyam can mean:
* Taro (Colocasia esculenta) - old cocoyam
* Malanga (Xanthosoma spp.) - new cocoyam"
Maybe Donna's contact can tell us more?
Addy said:
Hah! Just read what Isabell Shiphard says about cocoyams - the way to identify them is by their leaves - the leaf stalk is attached to the edge of the leaf, unlike the taro's which is attached to the middle of the leaf!
Addy said:
Here're the pics of the taro - smaller than a handspan, and looks like they could be the baby corms from the side of the main one...

Scarlett said:
I had a look on the net

They probably look like taro rather than cocoyam I think - but I wouldn't bet on it

Taro (colocasia)

Coco-yam (xanthosoma)

...!? :)
Scarlett said:
Also I think the xanthosoma has pointy elephant ears whereas they're round on the taro, if you know what i mean
Florence said:
They look er.. pretty much the same..... I checked Jerry's fact sheet again.. it appears the difference's in cocoyam's that it's much easier to grow then Taro in our climate...

"Corms of cocoyam (white taro) and taro provide the most hypoallergenic starch known, ideal for babies. These clumping perennials relish warm, moist to wet, fertile soils, and thrive during flooding. Taro is drought intolerant and I have not yet been able to crop them in Brisbane. Instead I grow cocoyams. If watered like arrowroot, cocoyams take a year to mature. Both taro and cocoyams store well in the ground. Peel, dice and boil corms to neutralise irritating calcium oxalate crystals."
Addy said:
Hmmm so maybe the fact that I've bought them from a market stall means they're grown here, therefore, could be cocoyams?? fingers crossed, will know when th eleaves appear, and then will be able to share them around! And Donna's sourced some for us too! (Are you reading this, Donna?!)
Donna said:
Only just got back from my holiday but and desperately trying to catch up! I haven't heard anything more from the LSN source but will send an email today to see what happened - I expected them to be waiting for me when I got back to bring to the meeting tomorrow. Maybe they mean to send them when it is the right season to plant?


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