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How to grow the American potato: instructions for the cultivation of yam or sweet potato. From sowing to harvest.
A detailed guide that will explain the steps of thecultivation of the American potatowith measures to adapt this cultivar in the Italian latitudes.
Autumn is the ideal time to put asidebatatewith which to produce plants for cultivation in the garden.
American potato or sweet potato, the plant
ThereAmerican potato, also calledsweet potatoor batata, is the botanical species Ipomoea batatas, belonging to the Convolvulaceae family.
Its tuberous roots, large and fleshy, have a sweetish taste and for this reason they soon acquired the nickname ofsweet potatoes.
From a botanical point of view, theAmerican potatoit has little in common with our classic potato (Solanum tuberosum) with which it does not even share the same family (that of the Solanaceae for local potatoes). Also thereplantit's different.
According to the varieties, thebatatait may have a different colored pulp and skin: this is how we speak ofAmerican potatored, orange or yellow paste as shown in the photo below.
L'Ipomoea batatasit is a plant native to the tropical areas of the Americas. For the beauty of its flowers, some varieties ofbatatathey are grown for ornamental purposes. Due to its origins, it is important to point out that thesweet potatoit does not tolerate the cold, which is why in Italy it is treated as a late-spring or summer plant.
To give the best, thebatatait should be grown in environments with average temperatures of 24 ° C and with sunny exposure. Therebatatait is sensitive to drought while an excess of water can cause rot or “breakage” of the tubers.
Depending on the growing conditions, thebatatait takes from 2 to 9 months from planting to harvest.
How to plant American potatoes
ThereAmerican potatoit is not grown like home-grown potatoes. In Italy it is not possiblecultivate the American potatostarting from the seed as, with our climate, it is unlikely to produce flowers.
Forgrow potatoes, we Italians, are used to starting from the tuber but even this technique is not recommended forcultivation of the American potatobecause we would encounter the rot of the tubers which, compared to our potatoes, are more perishable. So who do you wantgrow American potatoes, how should he do?
It will have to start from specialherbaceous cuttingsthat can easily self-produce.
How to grow American potatoes
Forgrow American potatoesit will be necessary to start from herbaceous cuttings: two American potatoes will be enough to produce cuttings in such quantities as to cultivate 10 square meters of vegetable garden.
Between October and November, buy some tubers of American potatoes derived from organic farming. Store the tubers in environments where the temperature never drops below 15 ° C, low temperatures could cause irreparable damage.
Starting from early March, you can prepare your herbaceous cuttings: place each tuber in a pot with a diameter of 14-15 cm filled with soil for sowing (very soft and rich in organic matter), leave about 1/3 out of the ground of the tuber.
Place the pots in a very bright environment and where the temperature never drops below 12-15 ° C, even at night. Those who work in a domestic environment could place the two pots between the space of a double window, perhaps near a radiator, in these circumstances you will have to be careful to always keep the soil moist.
Warning: wet but not wet!
When the tubers have produced 15 cm sprouts, gradually bring the pots outdoors so that the sprouts adapt to the outside temperatures.
It suits yougrow sweet potatoAmericanin the open field only when the outside temperatures do not drop below 14 ° C at night, while during the day the temperature should be at least 21 ° C. In short, those who live in Northern Italy will have to wait until the end of May for grow American potatoes while those who live in the South will be able to anticipate based on the seasonal weather trend.
When the shoots have reached at least 15 cm and with 5-6 leaves, if the temperatures allow, you will have to detach them from the tubers and plant them in the soil that you have previously worked (with a spade of 25-30 cm). The planting of the shoots will be done at a distance of 70-80 cm between the rows and 40-50 cm on the same row.
If the soil has already been cultivated, it will not be necessary to proceed with new fertilizations. Follow the cultivation with very moderate irrigations. Irrigate at the time of planting and pay more attention to irrigation in the first two weeks after planting. Then it will be enough to irrigate only in long periods of drought. You can collect theAmerican sweet potatoesfrom late September to mid-October.
Sweet potato or batata, where to buy it
For thecultivation, you cannot use the tubers ofbatatathat you buy at the supermarket unless you choosesweet potatoesbio. The reason? The potatoes that we find on the market (American or local) are treated with an anti-germinating powder. For cultivation you can choose organic potatoes, untreated potatoes orAmerican potatoespurchased specifically from agricultural consortia or on Amazon, for all the info take a look at"This Page".
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