I have something new in the yard. I like to garden, and if you can have something pretty that also produces food, so much the better. Here in Panama many foods are new to me, as are the plants that produce them.
Little by little as time allows I have been cleaning up and arranging the yard. My friends have helped me with advice, suggestions, seeds, and plant starts. Now we have bananas, pineapples, coconuts, plantains, guandu (pigeon peas), baby coffee plants, as well as a number of fruit trees that were here when I arrived.
My latest addition is yuca (or cassava). I saw someone planting it in the neighborhood and asked what he was doing. All you need is a stick or cutting, put it in the ground with part below and part above ground, and wait for leaves to appear. There is yuca growing wild in the woods, so off I went with my cutters to bring some home and give it a try. In about six months it should be ready for me to dig the tubers, with any luck about 15 pounds of them per plant.
I also learn new things through blogging. I read the Wikipedia link for yuca and learned a lot! Apparently this plant has poisons, so it must be cooked or properly processed to remove the toxins. I’m glad I didn’t take a bite of the raw root just to try it. The leaves can also be eaten but they also must be cooked to get rid of the toxins.
This root is a major food source for over half a billion people in Africa, Asia, the Pacific Islands, and other tropical areas such as Panama. Of all the root vegetables available here, it is one of my favorites. I will be very happy if I can grow yuca in my yard and enjoy the harvest. At the rate I’m going my yard is going to look more like a farm every year. But, here in Panama, this is very normal. It seems like almost everyone is growing food of one sort or another in their yards.