The Arawak Indians gave these roots the name “Yam”, from where it spread around the world. Sweet potatoes today is one of the most common plants that are cultivated by man. The overseas vegetable is cultivated in the Russian regions, and apparently, the prospects for it are very good.
How to grow sweet potatoes
The homeland of this interesting culture is the American continent (the territory of Peru, Colombia), while now the Yam grows only in a cultivated form. One of his “relatives” is the familiar flower of morning glory (from the family of bindweed).
Sweet potatoes (although with the traditional and familiar to all Ipomoea Batatas has little in common) is a perennial plant, but in temperate climates cultivated as an annual. Bush it is a vine with lashes that can take root. The average height of the plant reaches 18-20 cm.
On elongated stalks are beautiful, heart-shaped leaves. Yam is grown for tubers, which are formed on the lateral roots of plants. Weight, size, shape, and color of tubers are very diverse and depend on the variety of culture. Different and the structure of the pulp, for example, in fodder varieties it is very dense, vegetable and dessert – soft, and in composition.
IT’S FUN! On the tubers of sweet potatoes are missing eyes.
The shape of Yam tubers can be:
Interesting color pulp and peel: red, white, cream, lilac, orange. The orange fruit contains a very large amount of beta-carotene, lilac, and purple tubers a lot of anthocyanins.
The taste of the fruit depends on which group (vegetable, fodder or dessert) a particular variety belongs to, as well as the conditions of cultivation and care. Many dessert varieties of sweet potato taste very similar to sweet melon, pumpkin, bananas. Grown and completely unsweetened forage varieties, as well as pleasant to the taste and widely used for stews and various side dishes vegetable types.
NOTE! The leader in the cultivation of this crop in China. More than a hundred different varieties of sweet potatoes are cultivated there.
Tubers of this plant are processed, they are made of molasses, starch, sugar. In the food industry of Ipomoea Batatas make a variety of sweets, cereals, soufflés, flour and even so beloved by many chips. Yam is eaten fresh, it is also baked, fried, boiled. The menu of different Nations (especially in Asia, Africa) includes many different dishes.
A valuable feed for livestock is sweet potato greens, which are not inferior in quality to alfalfa and clover.
Tubers of this amazing plant are higher in calories than potatoes, and the chemical composition is diverse. They contain carbohydrates, dietary fibers, fats, proteins, while the percentage of different substances depends largely on the variety.
As mentioned above, the orange tubers contain the most useful beta-carotene and some varieties of Yam in its number ahead of carrots.
Ipomoea Batatas have the color contained in the particular organic compounds – anthocyanins. These substances, moreover, which are plant pigments that act on the human body as the strongest antioxidants and flavonoids. They help to slow down the aging process, improve brain function, reduce the level of “bad” cholesterol, minimize the risk of cancer. Thanks to anthocyanins, vision improves, immunity increases, pressure normalizes.
Various vitamins B1, B2, B3, B4, B6, B9, C, E, K. are widely represented in the composition of Ipomoea Batatas.
With this method of growing seedlings, everything is done in the same way as with horizontal cultivation. The difference is that the tubers of sweet potatoes are not located on the “barrel” (horizontally), but on the “pop”, that is, vertically. This is how tubers grow in nature.
Growing in water
Another way to get high-quality and strong seedlings of sweet potato is to grow it in water. To do this, you need to prepare containers, tubers, defended water. Suitable jars, plastic cups (0.5 liters), where the water is poured.
In the hole of the jar or glass should pass the tuber (if the Yam is large, it is cut), and for fixing, you can use wooden toothpicks. The Bank is exposed to light, provide heat and wait for the appearance of sprouts. On average, shoots appear on the Yam after 15-20 days.
If you wish to get from one tuber, a greater number of shoots, they do not break down and cut.
IMPORTANT! The cut-off escape should have five well-developed internodes.
The cut is made so that the tuber remained stump with 2 internodes. From it will begin to grow a new escape, which is cut off in the next wave. It is not necessary to strive to get a lot of shots from one root, as the following will be much weaker than the first. Still, the tuber will give nutrients, and the first shoots will be in more favorable conditions.
The plot should be well illuminated by the sun, on the Southside. Well, if the North ridge will be covered with a fence or some small buildings. In this case, the plants will be provided with good heating.
Sweet potatoes do not tolerate even small shadows, and it also must be taken into consideration. The best soil for culture – loose, breathable. Roots grow well on sandy loam and sandy soils, a small loam.
NOTE! The bed under the Yam is not dug very deep, allowing the plant to build a powerful and strong root system.
A good harvest can be obtained only on well-fertilized nutrient soils. It is advisable to fertilize in the fall:
- compost (4-5 kg);
- rotted manure (up to 3 kg);
- superphosphate (20 grams);
- potassium sulfate (12-15 grams).
All doses are given per square meter of the bed.
It is necessary that there was no groundwater nearby, and if the soil is too acidic, then make dolomite flour or lime powder. In the spring, when preparing the plot, the bed under the Yam is once again dug and the holes are prepared.
Above has already been said about the ways of reproduction of Ipomoea Batatas. Due to special difficulties, the seed method is used only at breeding stations, when conducting research to obtain new varieties.
You can propagate sweet potatoes vegetatively, while there are a variety of options.
By cuttings, which take from adults the bushes of sweet potatoes. The method is suitable only in tropical areas where are grown whole plantations. Due to high temperatures and optimal humidity, quickly take root and grow well.
Propagated Ipomoea Batatas tuber pieces with sprouts. The method is also suitable mainly for areas with hot and humid climate (tropics, subtropics). In other regions it yields small crops, that is unproductive.
Planted cuttings of Ipomoea Batatas in pre-prepared wells.
IMPORTANT! Do not rush with the landing, as, judging by the reviews of summer residents, in cool weather shoots will take a long time to adapt and slow growth.
When planting, it is important to take into account the features of the variety, its size. For sweet potatoes of large-leaved varieties, the holes are made at a distance of 60-70 cm, for varieties with short lashes it will be enough to 30 cm.
Plants are planted in rows, keeping the distance between them (up to 80 cm for short-leaved, up to 120 for long-leaved).
Despite the fact that in General culture is not particularly capricious, it needs care. Without observance of certain rules of agricultural machinery on a Bush small tubers will grow and all efforts will be vain.
Sunny areas, illuminated by the sun all day, this is the best beds for growing. It is important to make sure that the plants do not get a shadow, as this affects the formation of tubers.
Be sure to remove all the weeds from the beds, it is necessary not to break them, and pull out the root. Ipomoea Batatas do not tolerate such a neighborhood, tubers should feel free. In addition, weeds can serve as sources of various infections, contribute to the emergence of pests.
Ipomoea Batatas is characterized by excellent “appetite” therefore, during the time of cultivation it requires feeding. If the soil was well fertilized in the fall, it will be enough to feed the crop a couple of times in the summer. Use for this organic matter, and in the second half of the growing season give priority to potash “lunch” for sweet potatoes. Great for feeding infusion of wood ash, you can also use ready-made formulations purchased in the store.
IMPORTANT! When changing the color of the leaves (from rich green to purple or pinkish) urgently need to make potash.
Sweet potatoes like moisture, but cannot tolerate its excess. Especially a lot of water is required Yam during the growth of the Bush, so at this time the culture is watered often. But in any case, the irrigation schedule should be determined to take into account the weather and precipitation.
Watering defended and warm water, often combined with watering fertilizing.
Since the second half of the growing season reduces the number of watering, as well as volumes. This is done for better formation and aging of tubers. But the reduction is done smoothly, avoiding sudden changes.
IMPORTANT! Ipomoea Batatas prefer stability in everything: moisture, temperature. Therefore, all changes must be gradual in order for the culture to successfully adapt to them.
Two to three weeks before digging the tubers, watering was completely stopped.
Collection and storage
In September comes the long-awaited collection of tubers of sweet potatoes. Terms of cleaning depend on the climate of the region, varieties, the main thing – to remove the thermophilic before the cold weather.
Yellowing of the leaves of the plant will be a signal that the tubers are ready for harvesting.
Dig up roots in a clear fine day, gently shaking off the ground with them. It is not allowed to tap the tubers against each other, so as not to damage their thin skin.
NOTE! Tubers of Yam can be in the soil away from the Bush, so when digging it is necessary to be very careful.
After digging, it is recommended to keep the tubers outside in the sun for the initial drying. Term – not less than a week. If the weather does not allow, the Ipomoea Batatas is laid out in the premises, providing a temperature of not less than +30ºC and humidity up to 80%. In this case, the tubers are necessarily inverted, and the room is ventilated.
The duration of such drying – 7-10 days. Wash tubers are not required, but immediately select those that will go to the next season for growing shoots for seedlings, it is necessary. Usually selected root crops of medium size, without damage and visible defects.
In dried tubers skin slightly coarsened, which will allow them to save without much trouble in the winter. After drying, the Yam is shifted to boxes, boxes and removed for storage in a warm, dry place.
IMPORTANT! Roots cannot be stored in the cellar, as they rot.
When harvesting root crops in wet weather the quality of them is deteriorating. Most often it is difficult to keep such in the winter, so they are allowed to feed cattle or immediately used for food.
Types and varieties of sweet potatoes
Yam official varietal classification is not, all hybrids and varieties of such plants, there are about 7 thousand. Only in China about 100 cultivated varieties of sweet potatoes. All varieties are divided into vegetable, fodder, and dessert. They are also distinguished by the color of the flesh, the color of the peel and the shape of the root. Also, there are such characteristics as the shape and color of the foliage, yield, as well as the accuracy of the formation of tubers. All varieties are divided into early maturation, middle and late maturation.
Dessert Ipomoea Batatas
These varieties contain large amounts of glucose and beta-carotene. The color of the flesh of the tubers orange or rich yellow and the taste is sweet. These varieties are light-and heat-loving, in this regard, in the middle latitudes, they grow quite poorly, best suited for them subtropics and tropics. The taste of tubers depends on the variety and can be similar to pumpkin, banana, pineapple, chestnut or carrot. They are perfectly combined with nuts, molasses, fruit and caramel, and therefore such a Yam is most often used in the preparation of casseroles, sweet porridge, and other desserts. The most popular varieties:
- Kumara Red. This hybrid is very demanding in terms of temperature and light. Large bushes have thick leaves and long lashes. The shape of the root crops is oblong-rounded, the taste of pale yellow flesh is moderately sweet. The taste of raw flesh has a slight astringency.
- Beauregard. For such a plant is very easy to care for. The very tasty and sweet tubers contain a large amount of carotene and glucose. Compact bushes, roots grow smooth copper color. The color of the flesh of the orange.
- O’Henry. This kind of American varieties of Boregard, characterized by high resistance to harmful insects and diseases. The color of the tubers pale cream, sweet pale yellow flesh has a dry texture.
- Garnet. This mid-season variety of American selection different average yields. Tubers pale red, sweet pulp has an orange color.
- Georgia Red. This high yielding variety grows well in the mid-latitudes. Compact shrub decorates the foliage is dark red in color. Color rounded roots copper-orange. Light flesh while the crude has a taste very similar to Ipomoea Batatas, but after heat treatment, it becomes soft and sweet.
- Burgundy. This early maturing variety of American selection is resistant to Fusarium. Dark red tubers have a very pleasant smell, and they include a large amount of sucrose. The color of the dark orange pulp does not change even after heat treatment.
The composition of tubers of vegetable varieties includes less glucose compared to dessert, but it is more than in fodder varieties. In this regard, the roots have a taste similar to frozen potato tubers. The flesh of their light color with splashes of yellow, orange or pink. After heat treatment, it becomes soft, tender and juicy. However, most varieties of root crops are not suitable for frying, as they differ in some watery, but they make a very tasty puree. The most popular varieties:
- Purple. Early maturing variety, characterized by high yield and resistance to harmful insects and diseases. These Ipomoea Batatas are superior in nutritional and taste qualities. On a powerful Bush has foliage of dark green color and long lashes. The purple color of root crops is preserved even after heat treatment. The flesh is almost unsweetened and has a taste of chestnut.
- White Yam. Tubers of this variety have a texture and taste very similar to potatoes. This sweet potatoes grow well in the middle latitudes and has a fairly high yield. The shape of light roots oblong, their flesh is white.
- Japanese. This variety is early maturing. In red root crops, the flesh has a pale cream color. In comparison with the varieties with orange pulp at the core of this variety is less sweet and drier. Such tubers can be a substitute for conventional.
- Bit-1. This Italian variety is late. White roots have a slightly sweet flesh of the same color.
- Bonita. This precocious variety is starchy and infant, it features high yield and resistance to
- Fusarium. From a pinkish-cream tuber flesh is white in color with a cream shade.
- Tumor. This early maturing variety is characterized by yield and resistance to harmful insects and diseases. The color of the roots is cream, the flesh is light and unsweetened, the taste is identical with the taste of potatoes.
In addition to the described varieties are very popular among gardeners such as: Tynung, Hannah gold, har Bay, Betty, Burgundy, Belva, Baker, Butterbach white, red and pink, White delight, Virgin, Delaware purple, Golden Bell, Derby, Jersey yellow and orange, Ginseng red, Indian, Carver.