Primitive Technology: Planting Cassava and Yams

Primitive Technology: Planting Cassava and Yams

In this video I build a garden to grow Cassava and yams, two staple food crops. Cassava is a shrub that develops large edible roots. Yams are a climbing vine that produce large, edible underground bulbs and smaller aerial bulbs on their vines.
I had 5 huts, but the wattle and daub hut (from the first video uploaded on this channel nearly 2 years ago) became dilapidated. I abandoned it in favour of the other huts I built and neglected the roof. This let water in destroying a wall. Also, the sweet potato patch behind it had a tree fall across it destroying the fence. So I demolished them both to make one large garden.
After removing the fence I set a fire under the fallen tree to burn it in half rather than spend the effort of cutting it with stone tools. After burning almost all the way through, it rained. So I came back later and cut through the rest of the log with stone tools. I eventually broke the tree in half. Using smaller logs as levers I moved the tree out of the garden clearing the space for the garden.
I then collected wood and built a simple fence that was woven loosely together with vine. The fence needs only to discourage large animals from entering to prevent them causing damage. Most times pigs and wallabies don’t know that food is growing in the garden and won’t try and enter if they see no reason to. Or at least that worked for the sweet potatoes so we’ll see if it works this time.
For the yam and cassava planting material I travelled far down stream to the site of my old stone hut that I built over 10 years ago. It had a corbelled dome roof that was damaged when a tree fell on it during a cyclone and it came down a few months later. The thick walls however have stayed standing for about a decade though.
Yams and cassava grew wild at this site which is one of the reasons I built the stone hut there. These plants are not native to Australia but grow wild here after having escaped from people’s gardens (similar to how wild pigs live here now after escaping from farms). The planting material for the yams are the bulbs that grow on the vines. The planting material for cassava are simply 25 cm long pieces of stem.
On returning to the garden, a scrub turkey was seen digging in the mounds. Protected by law, this bird has lost its fear of humans and in this case I’ve semi-domesticated it. Originally it was attracted to soil I dug up for the worms it exposed. I started leaving a pot out with small sweet potatoes in it for it to eat and now it investigates any pottery I leave for food. Now it visits my projects and will only leave if bored or chased away. I suppose this is similar to how chickens were domesticated, in fact bush turkeys and chickens are related and will produce hybrid offspring.
Unfortunately, it has learned that the garden contains food. Originally, I was only going to plant yams but I saw the turkey digging them up and eating them. So, I planted cassava in the mounds so that the turkey would be discouraged by finding only wooden stems to peck at. I secretly planted the yams along the fence of the garden because the turkey only thinks the mounds contain yams. They can’t smell very well and only find food by sight and learned behavior.
I planted the cassava in mounds 1 meter apart by pushing them flat into the soil. I planted the yams at intervals along the fence so they could use it as a trellis. 32 cassava stems and 12 yams were planted. Then a storm began and watered the garden. In less than a week the cassava had sprouted shoots and began to grow. The yams will take longer as I planted them deeper.
Cassava produces the most calories per time and space of any plant apart from sugar cane and sugar beet. But it requires much less fertiliser and effort. A hectare of cassava produces enough calories in 2 days to sustain a person for 1 year. It takes a year to come to harvest but will stay in the ground for a year without becoming woody. The tubers are high in starch and are what tapioca is made from.
This variety is called sweet cassava (actually not bitter cassava, it doesn’t taste sweet but starchy instead) and it needs to be boiled for 20 minutes to get rid of some cyanide it contains. The bitter variety contains such high levels that it kills if eaten raw and requires more extensive treatment to eat. There isn’t much nutrition in cassava other than the large amount calories it contains so other food would be required to provide protein and nutrients.
After I harvest the cassava I planted I’ll try fermenting it (which adds nutrition), drying it and pounding it into flour to make flat bread. Cassava flour has the same energy content as wheat flour, stores well and tastes somewhat similar. Or I could just cook it and eat it straight from the garden. I’ll use the yams like potatoes when they’re ready.

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20 Responses

  1. Keri Ann says:

    These videos make me want to move to the middle of the woods and pretend no one else exists

  2. Cash me ousside how bow Dah? says:

    I thought cavemen were extinct

  3. Slim Jim says:

    I want this guy as a companion in fallout 4. imagine all the guava we could plant

  4. QB Mac says:

    Can you make a video showing us how you made your camera?

  5. Lonely Roads says:

    Your videos are in too many websites, people are earning money with your work. Those thing are unfair!!

  6. Primitive Technology says:

    Cassava productivity facts from Wikipedia: The cassava plant gives the third-highest yield of carbohydrates per cultivated area among crop plants, after sugarcane and sugar beets. Cassava is a highly productive crop in terms of food calories produced per unit land area per unit of time, significantly higher than other staple crops. Cassava can produce food calories at rates exceeding 250,000 cal/hectare/day compared with 176,000 for rice, 110,000 for wheat, and 200,000 for maize (corn). Cassava is the third-largest source of food carbohydrates in the tropics, after rice and maize.

  7. Edison Fullante says:

    if im stranded on an island i prefer this guy and bear grylls as companion

  8. Don Stirneman says:

    Step one: Get notification of new Primitive Technology video
    Step two: read description so video will make more sense
    Step three: like the video in advance
    Step four: watch video and ponder
    Step five: scratch head at dislikes
    Step six: peruse comments and lose count of how many dumb questions are asked that are already answered in video’s description
    Step seven: wait for the next video like a crack head

  9. MrNixcake says:

    Congratulations, you have entered the Farming Age!

  10. Corné Dijkstra says:

    can you make a video with some primitive blacksmithing that you can make a little knife or a axe of some metal

  11. Josh ey says:

    Omg I just watched 3 mins of a Guy Manfighting with a Tree…. and he fucking won :O

  12. Broov GT says:

    natural ASMR ?

  13. Ümit Bozdemir says:

    Don’t change your style, brother, whatever people say…

  14. THe COntrarian says:

    reported video, cant let girls see theres guy like this out there

  15. H. Han says:

    One thing I’ve noticed about Primitive Technology’s editing is that he keeps a good rhythm going. He never stays focused on showing one scene for too long, giving usually a few seconds of focus on each subject or action he is demonstrating before moving on to the next. This is probably one of the main reason why its so easy to watch his video where absolutely no text or dialogue is given without losing interest or focus. This is also why I love this channel as he puts so much effort on and off the screen to ensure his content is always top notch.

  16. mfaizsyahmi. says:

    I can imagine how your activities would seriously confuse archeologists in 2300 when they find the remnants and ruins.

  17. Emily says:

    just imagine him sitting down editing this video on his imac?

  18. Jonathan Cross says:

    Has 3.8 million subs yet does not speak, sell a product, beg for support or make money from his videos. He is my hero.

  19. SioneM says:

    Hey man, really why don’t you put ads on your videos? You’re putting such an effort in your videos and we as your viewers want to support you somehow for the information and the entertainment you provide us with.

  20. metalhood says:

    April 1st: A video comes out with non-stop talking

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