Sweet potato also called Ipomoea batatas is a dicotyledonous plant that belongs to the Morning glory family.
It is a very rich source of vitamins, minerals and fiber.
They serve as food for man and are easily accessible.
Do you intend to plant sweet potatoes anytime soon, here is an article that can see you through the process.
Description of the Plant
Sweet Potato is a perennial plant that is usually grown in tropical areas.
It grows from underground tuberous roots with stems that can be as long as 6 meters.
The plant has green heart – shaped alternate leaves,
The plant can become 1.8 m (6 ft) – 3 m (10 ft) tall and expand in an area up to 2.4 m (8 ft) – 3 m (10 ft).
Planting Season for Potatoes
Sweet Potatoes are planted between March and June
Step 1 – Choose a Location
In order to have a sweet potato farm or garden, select a land that has direct access to sun and is a well drained soil, preferably the sandy-loamy soil.
Step 2 – Land Clearing and Preparation
This involves clearing and preparing the soil for planting
Cut down shrubs and grasses, remove any dirt such as nylons or paper
Till the soil to loosen it for aeration and water penetration.
this is very important for the crop to produce well as the plant reproduces underground,
Apply a good quantity of manure to the soil.
Make good ridges for planting
Step 3 – Slip Selection when Planting Sweet Potato
Sweet Potatoes are grown from slip
There are various species of sweet potato.
For instance we have in Nigeria: white, purple and yellow potato species
It’s up to you to decide on which variety to plant.
Step 4 – Plant the Slip
Firstly get the sweet potato vine as much as you want to plant.
Next make ridges, this should be about 60 cm (2 ft) wide and 30 cm (1 ft) high
Wet the ridges with water, preferably plant in raining season
Cut out half a foot of the vine, this is referred to as the slip
Plug out a few leaves from under it leaving the top ones
Create a hole in the soil and bury 5 cm (2 in) – 7 cm (3 in) of the leafless slip into the soil.
The spacing for planting should be between 30 cm (12 in) – 45 cm (18 in).
Image showing Sweet Potato Slips
Step 5 – Watering
Water is very essential for the growth of sweet potatoes.
Therefore it is advisable to water newly planted slip regularly until they are established.
Step 6: Pruning
Pruning the plant is necessary from time to time
Reduce weed and let the plant receive adequate nutrients from the soil.
It is advised to start pruning 2 weeks after planting and subsequently.
Maturity and Harvest
Sweet Potatoes come to maturity between 3 to 4 months after planting.
One indicator of a mature sweet potato plant is that the leaves turn yellow.
In order to harvest sweet potatoes, use a spade, hand fork, or an axe to dig the tubers out from the soil.
Pest and Diseases
- Flea beetle
- White grub
- White flies
- Sweet potato stem borer
- Bacterial wilt
- Black rot
- Bacterial soft rot
- Fusarium root and stem rot
- Alternaria leaf spot
- Leaf and stem scab
- Sweet potato early blight
- Sweet potato viral disease
Pest and Disease Control
- Only disease free seed material should be planted
- Remove infected plants and burn them
- Avoid the use of overhead irrigation
- Plant resistance varieties
- Rotate sweet potato with other crops
- Avoid washing them before storage if You intend to store them for long.
- Store in a dark cool and dry place for up to 6 months.
- Do not keep them near vegetables as it will cause them to ripen fast.
I hope You found this article helpful…. Do have a Blissful day.