How to grow the American potato in a biological way
Let’s see how to grow this vegetable also known as batata (Ipomoea batatas L.) or sweet potato. It is in fact a species that from the botanical point of view has little in common with the potato (Solanum tuberosum L.).
The cultivation of this sweet-tasting tuber must be carefully carried out following the agronomic indications and the appropriate advice. Meanwhile, let’s say immediately that there are different varieties that differ in the color of pulp and peel, which can vary from red to yellow.
This plant (especially some varieties) is often also cultivated for the beauty of its flowers. For intensive cultivation see the following sheet.
Given its origins must be said that the American potato does not tolerate the cold and so it is good to grow it in the spring-summer period. The ideal conditions are therefore an average temperature of 25 ° C and sunny exposures, while as regards the water availability this should not allow moments of aridity of the soil but are equally to avoid stagnation (which cause rottenness of the tubers). The vegetative cycle of the American potato is very variable, being able to oscillate in climatic conditions different from 2 to 9 months.
For the planting of the American potato it is mandatory to start from herbaceous cuttings. Difficult is the production of seeds because of our climatic conditions that hardly bring the plant to seed and difficult to reproduce by parts of the tuber because of the ease of rottenness.
To produce herbaceous cuttings you can start directly from the tubers to be placed 2/3 in a mold in pots with a diameter of at least about 15 cm or in boxes (if you have more tubers). These pots or boxes must be placed in bright areas with temperature that never fall below 12-15 ° C at night, taking care to keep the soil always moist but never excessively and then carrying these containers gradually outdoors when the shoots have exceeded about 15 cm. However, the cultivation temperature in open field must be carried out when the night temperatures exceed 15 ° C and the daytime temperatures remain constantly above 20-22 ° C.
The shoots obtained (which must reach 15 cm and 5-6 leaves), must be detached from the tubers and placed on well-worked soil (at a depth of at least 25 cm) at a distance of 40-50 cm on the row and at least 70 cm between the files. The fertilization must be done absolutely with mature manure or compost (at the time of main processing) and mixed again during pre-implantation finishing. The post-implantation of spraying with nettle macerate is excellent and gives the plant a great vigor and phytosanitary resistance.
Mulching is recommended, which reduces the possibility of rot and the irrigation requirement. The harvest of American potatoes can be had in our climates between the end of September and mid-October.