How to grow the batata
The sweet potato or American potato or batata (Ipomoea batatas L.) is a species of the Convolvulaceae family. The average chemical composition of Batata tubers is as follows: water 71%, starch 17.5%, other carbohydrates about 7.5%, fiber 1%, protein 1.8%, fat 0.2%, ash 1%. It is a species of Central American origin, introduced first in Spain by Columbus. Later it was introduced in Italy in the first decades of the seventeenth century. The sweet potato is grown almost exclusively in Asia, where it occupies an area of more than 10 million hectares. In this sheet we see how to cultivate the batata, the techniques and the ideal agronomic conditions.
The sweet potato is characterized by having a creeping or climbing stem, often glabrous, with leaves that can be petiolate, whole or lobed and with funnel-shaped flowers, violet or reddish, generally fertilized by entomophilous and semi-black seeds in section triangular. The tubers are fleshy, sugary and provided with gems, round, cylindrical or cone shaped; with a color that varies from white to yellowish to purple red. The propagation of the sweet potato can occur by cutting, tuber or seed. For biological or amateur cultivation consult the following card.
For its cultivation the batata requires high temperatures (at least 15 ° C for germination and not below 20 ° C for the entire cycle) and high water requirements. It is a plant that must be grown on loose, well drained and well-endowed soil with organic matter and potassium. Cuttings or tubers can be used for the plant. The apical cuttings of the stems can be planted directly or made to sprout first in a warm bed. The preferable distance is 50 cm between rows and 40 along the row. If you start from tubers you use the smaller ones and with many gems. The fertilizer inputs must include a reintegration of 60-90 kg / ha of N and up to 120-150 kg / ha of K2O, also depending on the original fertility of the soil. However, it is advisable to make the above mentioned elements with the addition of mature manure, with ash reintegration and not to use, where possible, synthetic fertilizers in order not to trigger degradation processes of soil fertility and excessive vegetation of the plant with consequent increase of parasitic attacks. On average, the cultivation cycle of the American potato lasts 140-160 days and the cultivation of this requires support, tamping and frequent irrigation.
For the harvest it is necessary to wait for the moment of yellowing of the leaves. On average, in the most intensive cultivations, from 200 to over 300 quintals per hectare of tubers can be obtained; that to be kept in a dry, dark and ventilated environment, they must be pre-cleaned from the ground and dried.
Among the adversities to be feared the most we remember the larvae of Cyclas formicarius that can damage the tubers if they are not collected at the time of the yellowing of the leaves.