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Satoimo Mothers: Planning for Spring

The ladies snuggled in for their long winters nap.
The other day while down at the community garden one of my fellow gardeners stopped by. He's always there, and his garden is one that I admire the most. His plants are healthy and happy, and his soil is considerably higher than the surrounding gardens. "Well, I've been gardening here for more than twenty years," was all he said when I commented on it.

That day, though, he had something else in mind. "Do you like satoimo?" he asked, and of course I said yes. This slimy potato, also known as taro, is a nice addition to our diet, and while I haven't always been a fan I appreciate its flavor and texture more now than ever. We walked over to his garden where I stood admiring his daikon and assorted winter greens while he gathered up a bag of the roots.

"Would you like to grow it?" he asked, holding up an enormous satoimo for me to examine. Anywhere from two to four times the size of the regular satoimo, this larger version is known as the "mother." If the mother satoimo is kept cool, dry and comfortable throughout the winter, she can be planted in the spring to grow new satoimo. "I have too many. My neighbors," he said gesturing to the other nearby gardens, "run away now when they see me. They know I want to give them satoimo."

I laughed and told him people who grow zucchini often suffer from the same problem. "I'd be happy to help you out," I said.

I dug a hole about 50cm deep at one end of my garden and wrapped the satoimo mothers in wara and covered them back up with soil. Come April, I'll dig them up and replant them for a fresh crop. Next year, I suspect my neighbors may start running away from me...


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