The sweet potato is a ubiquitous vegetable to see in the tropical areas of the United States. Although it is unclear where it comes from, it is believed to be native to northwestern South America, specifically northern Peru and southern Ecuador. Interested in growing this crop but don’t know how to proceed? Not to worry! Today, we will tell you more about the sweet potato and how to plant it.
Sprouting and Planting a Sweet Potato in a Home Pot
If you want to sprout a sweet potato, you must use an ecological and organic tuber. This is to avoid tubers that have indiscriminately used pesticides, which could prevent their germination.
If you want to sprout a sweet potato, you can cut it in half or leave it whole. The sweet potato or its parts will be placed in containers of dechlorinated water. Dip half of the sweet potato under water and leave the other half above the water level. If you have cut it, you must place the cut part in the water. Using toothpicks or pike sticks can help keep the tuber balanced and suspended.
The container should be placed near a window so that they can receive enough light and grow quickly. After a week, you will be able to observe the first shoots and roots immersed under water. During the germination process, it is important to change the water every day to avoid that parasites affect its growth. The time to be planted in the ground is when the roots measure about 2.5 cm long.
The process of planting sweet potatoes in a pot begins with finding an extremely deep pot for a productive harvest. The pot should be filled with a substrate to a depth of 15 cm, well below the total height of the pot. The sprouted sweet potato should be placed in the substrate to cover it with compost to the point of sprouting. Finally, water thoroughly.
As the plant grows, you should fill the pot more with compost until it covers it completely. This is to bury the nodes of the plant, where the new sweet potatoes will grow. The plant’s guides should be rotated in a circular fashion in the pot as it grows. This makes better use of the pot space.
Once the sweet potato planting process is complete, you should ensure that the plant is watered daily for the first week, then gradually reduce the watering. Make sure the soil is never dry.
The amount of irrigation will depend on the weather conditions the crop is facing. In the case of dry soil, watering is more frequent. If the soil is dry, the amount of water to be used will be less.
One of the most known pests to attack these tubers are the wireworms or breams. The larvae of this beetle make holes in the sweet potatoes. It is necessary to fight them preventively with insecticides in granulated preparations. These are applied during the preparation of the soil.
Another pest is the black rocket. These are insects that climb on the plant at night to consume the leaves, causing damage at the end of the crop. The use of baits at the end of the day is recommended. Commercially, about 100 kg of bait is used per hectare, but the quantity should be consulted with a professional.
The main viruses that attack sweet potato are: sweet potato mosaic, sweet potato internal shortening virus and sweet potato complex mottle. Diseases that produce dwarfing, deformities in the leaves and little or no tuberization.
Fusarium oxysporum is a vascular disease that produces a yellowish color on the leaves. It eventually causes root rot and death of the plant. It is prevented by disinfecting the soil and cuttings before planting.
Mummification of sweet potato is caused by the fungus Monilichaetes infuscans. It is characterized by the production of reddish spots and cracking of the bark. This can lead to desiccation and mummification of the tubers. It is controlled with TBZ, benomyl, etc.
Sweet potato blackrot is caused by the fungus Cerastomella fimbriata, which produces dark brown spots. It can be prevented by using resistant varieties and disinfecting cuttings used for propagation.
Here you go! You now know more about the sweet potato and how to grow it. Do you have any other tips for growing vegetables? Share them with us in the comments below. Until then, happy gardening!