Cultivation Of Sweet Potato

Nutritive Value: Sweet potato tubers are mostly consumed raw or boiled or roasted during fasting periods. Tubers with yellow and orange colored flesh are rich in carotene content. Sweet potato contains 70% water, 27% carbohydrates, 2.0% protein and 1.0% fibers, and is rich in minerals like potassium, calcium, sodium, phosphorus, magnesium, chlorine and iron, and in vitamin C.

Soil and Climate: Sweet potato is grows well in light and porous soil with a slightly acidic pH in the range of 6.0 to 6.5. It requires a tropical and subtropical climate and can be grown as a rainfed crop in forest soil.

Important Varieties: Pusa Lal, Pusa Safed, Pusa Sundri are popular sweet potato varieties grown in South India.

Planting and Irrigation: Sweet potato is mainly planted by vine cuttings and sometimes from sprouted tubers of sweet potato. The previous crop vines are cut into 30 to 40 cm long pieces having five to seven nodes on it. Vines are planted in such a way that both ends of the vine remain above ground while keeping the middle portion underground. Vines of sweet potato have a tendency to form roots from their nodes and anchor into the soil. To avoid anchoring of soil withadditional roots, care should be taken to turn the vines at specific intervals to increase tuber yield.

Plant Protection: Sweet potato is mostly a hardy crop free from pest and diseases. If the crop is taken year after year in the same soil then the insect pest like sweet potato weevil can attack the under ground tubers. This pest can be avoided by changing cultivation plots after each crop.

Harvesting: When leaves show a pale yellow color and the soil near the base of the plant shows cracks, then it is the right time to harvest tubers. It takes about 120 to 180 days depending on the type of variety grown. While harvesting the sweet potato tuber, al  vines are removed and then tubers are harvested through digging
with a kudali or shovel.