Step by step on how to grow sweet potatoes

By Yvonne Nitah

In the changing world, effective and efficient application of scarce resources to achieve more desired results are imperative. This is true for agriculture than any other sector at a time the world struggles to feed its population.

Yvonne Nitah writes on step by step on how to grow sweet potatoes:

Choose a location: Sweet potatoes require warm weather and full sunlight, so choose a location that gets at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day. They also require well-drained soil that is loose and free of rocks and other debris.

Obtain sweet potato slips: Sweet potato slips are small rooted cuttings that are grown from mature sweet potatoes. You can purchase them from a nursery or order them online.

Prepare the soil: Before planting your sweet potato slips, prepare the soil by tilling it to a depth of 8 to 10 inches. Mix in some organic matter such as compost or aged manure to improve the soil’s fertility.

Plant the slips: Plant the sweet potato slips in the prepared soil, burying them about 3 inches deep and spacing them about 12 to 18 inches apart. Water them well.

Water and fertilize: Sweet potatoes need regular watering, especially during dry spells. They also benefit from a regular application of fertilizer. Use a balanced fertilizer with an equal amount of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.

Control weeds: Keep the area around your sweet potatoes free of weeds, as they can compete with the sweet potatoes for nutrients and water.

Harvest: Sweet potatoes are ready to harvest when the leaves begin to yellow and die back, usually around 100 to 120 days after planting. Carefully dig up the sweet potatoes, taking care not to damage them.

Cure: After harvesting, sweet potatoes need to be cured to improve their flavor and texture. Spread them out in a warm, dry place with good air circulation for about 10 days. Then store them in a cool, dark place until ready to use.

Yvonne Nitah writes from Zambia
Credit: Technical Centre for Climate Change and Agricultural Development, Lusaka, Zambia.

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