planting cassava

Primitive Technology: Moving Heavy Timber and Planting Cassava

In this episode of Primitive Technology, our man in the jungle moves a large fallen tree from his plot and prepares a garden for planting cassava and yams.

This episode of Primitive Technology is as much about preparing a damaged garden spot for use as it is about actually planting cassava and yams as a life-giving food source.

Our man in the jungle, as we've come to call him, has a garden that has suffered from neglect and from a very large tree that had fallen directly in the middle of it. The tree also crushed the fence he had placed around the perimeter of the garden and he needs to get it out.

So, since he uses no modern tools in any of his primitive living projects he decided to burn the tree in half to make it more manageable. Burning saved him a lot of spent energy as opposed to chopping the tree in half with a stone axe. Then, he muscled the two halves out of the garden using levers and sliding poles.

I like this video because it shows that there is sometimes much preparation that goes into a project before the actual project itself takes place. His intention was to simply begin planting cassava and yams as a food source. But he spent an inordinate amount of time preparing the location before he could even begin to think about planting.

After he cleared the tree, removed the old fence and cleaned up the area, he built another fence around the perimeter of the garden.

Then he traveled to the site of an old stone shelter that he had built some ten years ago. This structure had a corbelled stone roof that had been damaged and caved in during a storm. This area had a number of cassava and yam plants that grew there naturally, so he harvested what he could and brought them back to the current garden site.

After building mounds like he did with his first garden, he found a bush turkey scratching to get at yam plantings. Realizing that he couldn't dissuade or kill the turkey (they're protected), he fooled it by planting the yams not in the mounds but along the fence, and planting cassava shoots in the mounds. Now when the bird pecks at the mounds all it finds are "sticks" and it gets discouraged.

In only a week the cassava has already sprouted and begun to grow. He intends to ferment some of it to increase its nutritional value, and make flour from other plants.

Like what you see here? You can read more great articles by David Smith at his Facebook page, Stumpjack Outdoors.

NEXT: Primitive Skills: Make a Cannabis Bowstring