Sweet potato is actually a root vegetable. It is large and starchy with a sweet taste. Sweet potato, scientifically known as Ipomoea batatas, is a root crop harvested in several states. In certain parts of the United States, this vegetable is also called yam. Despite its common name, the plant is actually not related to yams or potatoes. The plant’s young shoots and leaves are sometimes eaten as greens.
Sweet potatoes can be planted by using the root crop itself or by using a stem cutting of the plant.
The latter is preferred by sweet potato planters because it yields 20% more. The stem cutting method is also known to make the plant grow faster and healthier, particularly the varieties of Ackersegen and Mariella.
Steps in Planting Sweet Potatoes Using Stem Cutting
Take stems from two to three-month old plants. Water the stems. Cover with a plastic sheet for two days. You will know if the cut stems are ready for planting when they have developed some roots. Do not take away the leaves before planting as this will lead to the reduction of the roots that will eventually grow and become crops.
Plant the stems in a pot made out of banana or jackfruit leaves. Add soil and animal manure. Put them in a shaded place that is protected from the wind. Water the plants 3 to 4 times a day. After 7-8 days, they will be ready for transplanting.
Prepare the field where you want to transfer the sweet potato plants. Sweet potatoes are known to grow best in clay or sandy soil. Remove dirt and clumps from the soil by sieving it. Fertilize the soil by mixing animal manure.
Create soil beds where the stem cuttings will be planted. Place the cuttings 20-25 centimeters apart so they will have room to grow. Plant the sweet potatoes with the pot made of leaves. As these leaves rot, they will provide additional nutrients for the plants. In addition, planting the pot with the stem cuttings will prevent damage in the root system if it is pulled out of the pot.
Water the plants in the soil beds twice a day for two weeks. After transplanting, put fertilizer 4 times with the following schedule:
- between day 12 – 15;
- day 25 – 30;
- day 40 – 45; and
- day 55 – 60
Make sure that the soil around the plant is not eroded so that your sweet potato plants will grow firm.
The sweet potatoes can be harvested after 3 ½ or 4 months.