Sugar cane (Saccharum spp.) - In warmer climates, you can grow sugar cane (Saccharum spp.) right in your backyard. These grasses can grow 20 feet tall or more, and look quite a bit like their cousins bamboo, but come with the sweet benefit of providing copious amounts of edible raw sugar. Along with sugar beets, sugar cane is grown on huge plots of land, harvested, and pressed to release its sweet sap. While sugar beets are typically grown in cooler climates, sugar cane is grown in subtropical and tropical locations around the world. Sugar cane is a hardy plant that can survive brief cold spells, but as a tropical/subtropical plant, it requires heat and humidity to thrive. In cooler climates, plant sugar cane outdoors after temperatures have warmed up the soil and the danger of frost in spring has passed. In warmer climates, sugar cane is typically planted in November. Although sugar cane requires plenty of space in the garden and a long, hot growing season, it's a relatively easy-to-grow crop that has some novelty appeal to try growing in your backyard. On a side note, we are goat keepers, Goats, cattle, guinea pigs, and horses all love sugar cane leaves. One way to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions due to livestock raising, a little at a time.
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