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Such a root vegetable as sweet potato is not very popular in our country, therefore agronomists do not grow this crop so often. However, there are those who still prefer to cook sweet potato dishes.
From the article you will learn about sweet potatoes: what is it, is it possible to grow a plant in a dacha in the suburbs from a store tuber, how is it grown in other regions of the Russian Federation, and what are the techniques for growing decorative sweet potatoes?
Features of growing sweet potatoes and differences from other root crops
This plant is considered very unpretentious in terms of soil, but the temperature requires a consistently high. The root vegetable looks like a potato, however, it is not attacked by diseases and pests that are inherent in the Solanaceae family. Thanks to the lush and dense ground part of the sweet potato, weeds practically do not grow around it, moreover, such thickets help to keep the soil moist longer.
Many people refuse to grow this crop because of its sweet taste, but this opinion is wrong. There are quite a few varieties that taste very much like potatoes in taste and in some dishes their presence is even more welcome (how is sweet potato different from potatoes?).
Unlike the cultivation of other root crops, it is not recommended to plant sweet potatoes with tubers. And the growing season lasts from 3 to 5 months.
How to choose the right variety for planting?
A unified classification of varieties of this crop still does not exist. It is known that there are about 7000 species in the world.
The agronomist must choose a variety depending on the purpose of growing and the characteristics of the root crop itself. So, you need to focus on the following indicators:
- type of sweet potato: dessert, vegetable or fodder (these varieties are named in order of decreasing amount of sugar in them);
- color and shape of leaves and root crops;
- the accuracy of the formation of tubers;
- ripening period - early, middle or late.
All these signs are indicated on the seed package, so the agronomist can easily choose the variety that suits him.
Where and for how much can you buy seed?
The approximate cost will be indicated for Moscow and St. Petersburg. It is rather difficult to find seeds or cuttings of sweet potato for planting in Russia. Most often, vegetable growers order seed in online stores.... And sometimes they even make orders outside the homeland, since in European countries the diversity of this culture is much wider.
There is a variant of exchange between sweet potato growers. Usually they are looked for on the forums.
If a vegetable grower still manages to find material for planting, then the price of one cuttings will fluctuate between 50-70 rubles per piece, and a package of seeds weighing 10 grams will cost 180-250 rubles. Tubers for self-germination will be a little cheaper - 20-30 rubles apiece.
Step-by-step instructions: agricultural technology in the garden
Propagation by root tubers
Attention! Experienced agronomists do not recommend planting whole tubers directly into the soil, because due to the long growing season, the tubers will not have time to ripen and give a crop.
It is best to germinate a root vegetable and plant the resulting cuttings.
You need to start the germination procedure in March.... There are quite a few methods for carrying out this manipulation.
- The most popular of them is to place up to half of the root crop in the soil, water it well and put it in a bright place. The light should be at least 12-13 hours a day, and the soil should be constantly slightly damp. After a week of such germination, the first buds will appear on the roots, from which the cuttings will grow.
At first, you can do without soil. It is enough to wrap the tuber in a damp cloth or napkin. Or you can simply spray the tuber with water until the first cuttings appear. However, as soon as the first shoots come out, the sweet potato will still need to be placed in the ground.
- Another germination option is to place the tuber in a glass of water. You need to deepen the root crop by about 2-3 centimeters. Dense roots are formed at the bottom, and cuttings at the top. Remember that the root crop can be in the water no longer than a month, otherwise there is a chance of decay.
We offer you to watch a useful video about the propagation of sweet potato tubers:
It is very difficult to obtain seed material at home, since sweet potatoes practically do not bloom in our regions.
You need to sow seeds for seedlings at the end of January.
- Before sowing, it is imperative to soak the seed in warm water for 24 hours.
- Then they are processed in a weak solution of manganese, and then the seeds are completely dried.
- The soil for growing seedlings should be nutritious, it is advisable to purchase a ready-made substrate in the store. Before use, it must be disinfected by placing the soil in an oven heated to 200 degrees for 30-40 minutes.
- In the soil, grooves are made with a depth of 1-1.5 cm and seeds are placed in them at a distance of 1 cm.
- The seed is well watered and placed in a lighted place, covered with foil.
Placing seeds directly into open ground
For this growing method, it is best to choose early maturing products, since it is necessary to plant seeds in open ground after the danger of frost has passed.
The seeds are processed in the same way as in the case of seedlings.
The soil must be well loosened and composted... The seed is immersed to a depth of 3-4 centimeters. All this is poured with settled water, but not cold. From above, the area is covered with a film.
You can learn more about planting sweet potatoes here.
- Seedlings and cuttings can be transferred to open ground as soon as the length of the shoot reaches 25 cm. The air should be warmed up to 25 degrees Celsius. While the air is cooler, cover the beds with foil.
- This crop will grow well in any kind of soil. But it is still worth it to loosen it well by about 15-20 centimeters. Then add humus, potassium sulfate and superphosphate there. You can also use ammonium nitrate - dilute a matchbox with 10 liters of water.
- It is very important to ensure that the lashes do not take root in the internodes. To do this, it is necessary to raise the vines on each bed and tear the resulting roots.
- In the second half of August, you need to pinch the upper part of the lashes - such a manipulation will help make the tubers larger.
- The sweet potato is considered a drought tolerant crop. Therefore, it needs frequent watering only in the first month after planting. After this time, watering is reduced to once a decade. There is no need to moisten the soil 15-20 days before harvesting. As soon as you moisten the soil, it must be loosened so that a crust does not form.
- During the period of active growth of tubers, which occurs around August, the sweet potato needs additional feeding with potassium fertilizer. It is best to use an ash solution for this. It is prepared as follows: two glasses of wood ash are dissolved in 10 liters of water and infused for 7 days, while stirring constantly. Water each bush with a liter of solution.
How is it cultivated in different regions of Russia?
|Crimea||Cuttings should be planted as early as possible - mid-April.|
|Central Russia (Moscow Region and Moscow Region)||You need to choose a seedling growing method.|
|Krasnodar region||Both early maturing and late maturing varieties are suitable.|
|Ural||At temperatures below +25 degrees, watering stops.|
|Siberia||It is planted not earlier than the first days of June.|
- Formation of additional rhizomes. If you allow the growth of roots on the lying lashes, the main root will become poorer. This will also reduce the harvest.
- Poorly grown seedlings. When growing cuttings, you need to provide as much light and heat as possible.
- Late planting dates for cuttings.
- Lack of insulation at low temperatures.
- Wrong neighborhood - you cannot plant sweet potatoes near corn and soybeans.
- The presence of rodents on the site that can destroy the crop.
Harvesting and storage
You need to harvest in dry weather. This usually happens from mid to late October. If the soil was wet, the harvested roots must be dried. You need to store sweet potatoes in a dry place., the temperature of which ranges from 10-15 degrees Celsius.
There is no danger at all in the germination of root crops - they can be continued to be eaten, or they can be left for planting next year.
Diseases and pests
Due to the fact that the sweet potato is an overseas "guest", many diseases and pests inherent in our region do not threaten this root crop. But still, some of them get to root crops.
- Worms. To combat them, you need to remove the affected parts of the plant, and treat the rest with an insecticide solution. Or you can use a folk remedy: soapy water with lemon and garlic. Mix 50 grams of liquid soap with the juice of half a lemon and add 5 crushed garlic cloves there. Spray the sweet potato several times with a break of 2-3 days.
- Chafer. The fight against it is carried out using an infusion of onion husks (the ratio of husks to water is 1: 3). Insist 5 days and spray the plant throughout the growing season. If traditional methods do not help, you should turn to such drugs as Fitoverm and Aktofit.
- Insecticides can also help control spider mites, whiteflies, locusts and wireworms.
- Of the sweet potato diseases, the most common is the black leg. The affected areas must be removed. And then to change the aspects of care: to moisten the soil less, and also to reduce its acidity by liming. The site should be chosen well-ventilated and well-lit.
Prevention of the appearance of any disease and pest is the observance of all recommendations for cultivation and their timely implementation.
Batat is exotic for our regions. However, it contains so many useful elements and substances that it is still worth trying to grow this tropical root crop on your site.