Sugar Cane: You CAN Grow It Outside the Tropics (And Make Amazing Syrup!)

| 11/20/2013 10:23:00 AM

Tags: growing sugar cane, David Goodman, Florida,

planting sugar caneDid you know that you can grow sugar cane well outside the tropics? Or that it will produce a harvest on dry ground?

I didn't until a few years back. Since then, I've learned a lot about sugar cane - and come to love the rich flavor of organic homemade cane syrup.

I've always wanted to make my own maple syrup... but it's really hard to do when you don't have maple trees lying around.

If you're in the south, you know what I mean. There are maples here and there, but there's nothing like the great stands of magnificent sugar maples that are found further north.

Here, if you want syrup, you basically need to grow sorghum or sugar cane. I prefer the latter, since the yields are high and the plant is perennial.

How To Plant and Grow Sugar Cane

This is easy as pie. In the fall when roadside stands and farmer's markets are selling sugar cane, grab a few good-looking stems and bring them home. Each joint on the canes is capable of rooting and growing new shoots. I cut canes up into sections that contain 3 or 4 joints, just to give my plants a little redundancy in case of sprout failure or hungry vermin.

11/26/2013 9:38:43 PM

@thermop57 I feel your pain. I once tried to grow cassava in Tennessee. No dice. And don't get me started on my mango-growing attempts here... If I were in your shoes, I'd try a short-season sorghum, or perhaps just look for maples or birches to tap. -David

11/22/2013 1:50:10 PM

David Goodman, I love this idea, but since I live in Central Wyoming right now, and plan to migrate to SE Alaska, I'm more than a bit wary of trying to secure and then grow sugar cane.....I LIKE the idea, especially because of the large volume of compostables from the remnants of cane processing (methane septic tank production fodder), but man, living in a much colder climate that you Southerners in the SE of the USA, might well seem to be an insurmountable hurdle.

mother earth news fair 2018 schedule


Next: August 4-5, 2018
Albany, OR

Whether you want to learn how to grow and raise your own food, build your own root cellar, or create a green dream home, come out and learn everything you need to know — and then some!