How to grow sweet potatoes: Sweet potato is a starchy staple food. It is the staple food of people in China, Papua New Guinea, and several African countries. Sweet potato leaves are a nutritious vegetable. It can be eaten as an alternative to rice and wheat. Moreover, in many countries, including the United States, it is sold at a higher price than potatoes. Sweet potato is very important for its nutritional value/food quality, market price, vegetables, and fodder. According to the FAO, it is one of the most important crops throughout the world.
The sweet potato plant is a creeping herb. Scientific name Ipomoea batatas. It belongs to the family Convolvulaceae. It is long-lived and grows well in the summer climate. Once planted it to the land it survives year after year. Sweet potato cultivation is profitable in the summer season. It is profitable to cultivate sweet potato as a vegetable/fodder in the monsoon or rainy season.
How to grow sweet potatoes
The cultivation method of sweet potato briefly described as
Site selection and soil
Loamy and sandy loamy soil is most suitable for sweet potato cultivation. The site should be exposed to sunlight throughout the day. This potato grows best in the silty soil of the river bank.
Time of the cutting/planting the vine
The recommended time for planting is from mid-October to
The land should be deeply cultivated. For this reason, the soil has to be plowed several times to break up soil clods properly. Then the soil will be better to grow sweet potatoes.
Seedling cutting/planting the vine
Each piece of the vine should be 25-30 cm long. The highest yield gets by planting the apical part (including anterior buds). If the apical part of the plant is found, the middle part should not be planted. The older part should not be used as seeds/cuttings. Care should be taken that the lower portion of the middle part is planted in the ground.
Spacing of planting
Row to row distance should be 60 cm and Cutting to cutting distance should be 30 cm. (In case of improved varieties) it takes 55,555 cuttings per hectare for planting vines. The knot of vines should be planted 3-4 cm below the ground. Vines should be lay deep down in parallel and bend the upper part to make it steep. If the weather is dry at the time of planting, a few leaves should be pruned. Water should be given at the base of cutting/vines if there is no enough moisture in the soil.
Most of the farmers apply less amount of fertilizer in sweet potato cultivation. In order to get the desired yield, it is necessary to apply a balanced dose of fertilizer. Fertilizer recommendation is 10 tons per hectare of well-decomposed cow dung, 140 kg of urea, 100 kg of TSP, and 150 kg of potash.
If the land is deficient in sulfur and zinc, necessary
fertilizers should be applied.
Application of water/Irrigation
Sweet potato is a drought-resistant crop. So usually it requires less irrigation. Irrigation can be given if necessary.
How to Care for sweet potato
Weeding: Sweet potato fields should be kept weed-free until they are covered with vines.
Insects and diseases control: Diseases are very rare in
sweet potato, except for a single insect called weevil, other insects and
diseases are minor. Their loss is not significant.
Eggs and toxins are released from the insects by making tunnels/holes while eating the shells of the stems and tubers. As a result, infected tubers are not suitable for digestion. The infestation of this insect is less where the land is flooded during monsoon. Optimum yield is also obtained by applying 5 kg Heptachlor or 15 kg Furadan per hectare.
Harvesting of crops
Sweet potatoes are harvested within 150 days. However, the crop should be collected in mid-March. If the tuber is not separated from the vine by pulling rapidly, then it should be cut with a sharp knife so that it will not be infected by the disease.
Yield per hectare: Normal 20-50 tons. Optimum yields 60 tons depending on the place. It depends on the variety or cultivation method, soil condition, and weather.
Sweet potato preservation
This potato preservation process is very similar to the
local method of potato. Fresh/ non-wound/uncut potatoes need to be stored. It
is better to spread the tubers in the shade and cover them with herbs for a few
days before storing them in the warehouse.
Nutritional value of Sweet potato
It is a starchy staple food. It can be eaten as an alternative to rice and wheat. Sweet potato leaves are a nutritious vegetable that is available throughout the year. Moreover, sweet potato/vine is an excellent fodder.
Uses of Sweet potato
It can be eaten by boiled and burnt. Tubers and leaves are eaten as vegetables. It can be boiled into thin slices, dried in the sun, and then fried in oil and used as crackers.
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Keyword: Step-By-Step How To Grow Sweet Potatoes