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DEFINITION

A tropical vine (Ipomoea batatas) of the morning-glory family with variously shaped leaves and purplish flowers; also :  its large thick sweet and nutritious tuberous root that is cooked and eaten as a vegetable

 

BEST TIME TO PLANT

Unlike regular potatoes, which grow best when the soil is cool, sweet potatoes like it hot! They are tropical plants that are very sensitive to cold weather. In warm climates, many gardeners plant sweet potatoes about a month after the last spring frost, when both the air and soil are dependably warm

 

TIME FROM SEED TO HARVEST

After four to six months, depending on the temperatures, your sweet potatoes will be ready

AMOUNT OF WATER REQUIRED IN SOIL

Although sweet potatoes are a very tropical vegetable they can get by with little water once established. However, the freshly planted cuttings need to be watered regularly.

 

TEMPERATURES

Sweet potato plants are sensitive to cold, so they should not be planted outdoors until the soil has warmed to at least 16ºC. and nighttime temperatures are above 16ºC. To help warm the soil, spread black plastic over the planting area for a couple weeks before planting

WATER REQUIRED - HYDROPONICS

Sweet potatoes require sufficient amount of water in order to survive

 

HARVESTING AND STORAGE

You can harvest as soon as leaves start to yellow, but the longer a crop is left in the ground, the higher the yield and vitamin content. Once frost blackens the vines, however, tubers can quickly rot.

Use a spading fork to dig tubers on a sunny day when the soil is dry. Remember that tubers can grow a foot or more from the plant, and that any nicks on their tender skins will encourage spoilage. Dry tubers in the sun for several hours, then move them to a well-ventilated spot and keep at 29ºC to 32ºC for 10 to 15 days. After they are cured, store at around 13ºC, with a humidity of 75 to 80 percent. Properly cured and stored sweet potatoes will keep for several months

 

HEALTH BENEFITS

Sweet potatoes are high in vitamin A, vitamin B5, B6, thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, and, due to their orange color, are high in carotenoids,". Plus, they're fat-free, relatively low in sodium and have fewer calories than white potatoes

NUTRITIONAL FACTS

Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene). They are also a very good source of vitamin C, manganese, copper, pantothenic acid, and vitamin B6. Additionally, they are a good source of potassium, dietary fiber, niacin, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, and phosphorus