By Spy Uganda
Are you a farmer planning to start a small or large scale cassava farming in your backyard and you are scratching your head wondering how to start it? suffer no more, TheSpy Uganda is here to guide you through.
What Your Cassava Needs To Grow
Your cassava will require optimum temperatures ranging from 25-30°C with a minimum temperature of 18°c. This explains the fall in yields where temperatures are above 30°C.
A well-distributed annual rainfall of 1000_1500mm is ideal but the crop can successfully grow in areas with rainfall ranging from 500-2500mm.
Soil; light sandy loam soils with medium fertility give the best result.
Though the crop can tolerate soils of low fertility, especially if feeder roots can penetrate deeper, deep cultivation before planting is therefore recommended.
Cassava Stem Sprouting
Cassava is propagated by cuttings got from a cassava plant stem. To make cuttings, choose stems 2 to 4 cm thick, from the strongest plants which are not diseased and have already produced tubers.
After the harvest, tie the selected stems in bundles, wait for at least 10 days before planting them. Keep the bundles in a cool, dry place until planting time. But remember that the cuttings must not be made from the stem until you are ready to plant.
Cut each stem into pieces 20 to 30cm long. There should be 4 to 6 grown buds on each piece.
How To Plant Your Cassava
In most East African countries cassava is still planted by hand. And planting is done at the onset of the rain season, often in flat fields, though planting on ridges is desirable in wet regions.
You can cut the sticks obliquely or at a right angle to the stem being cut.
You can then plant your cutting vertically or at an angle, with half their length in the soil, or flat below the surface.
How To Weed Cassava In Uganda
It’s good to interplant your cassava with other crops like beans during the early stages to suppress the weeds, You need to weed 3 to 4 weeks after planting.
Earth up plants (add soil on plants) during weeding as this greatly helps in tuber formation.
You may also use some chemicals to control the weed.
So, How Long will Your Cassava Take To Grow?
Generally, cassava reaches maturity in 9-24 months or up to 36 months depending on the variety, climate and soil conditions.
Some quick growing cultivars can be harvested in 6-7 months, but good yields are normally obtained after 9-12 months.
When used fresh, the tubers are normally only obtained after 9-12 months, otherwise, they become very fibrous.
How To Harvest & Sore Your Cassava
Depending on the variety, harvesting cassava for food could begin from the 7th month after planting for early maturing varieties; or after the 10th month for late varieties.
For a smallholder farmer you can harvest the tubers as you need them; without cutting the stems, begin by taking the biggest tubers from each plant, leaving the small ones to give them time to fill up.
As a commercial farmer, you would typically harvest all the cassava at the same time.
Once cassava is ready it should be harvested, because when left in the ground for a long period your cassava tubers will lose quality due to the hydrolysis of starch.