The sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas) is a perennial that is grown for the purpose of consuming its tuber. Native to Central and South America, it belongs to the family of convolvulaceae. Its long creeping stems can measure up to 5 meters long. In summer, small white or purple flowers appear, very similar to those of the bindweed. China is responsible for 80% of world production.
How to grow sweet potato?
To cultivate the sweet potato vegetable, you must first know that it is better to be in a warm region. The tubers are planted in March sheltered from the cold, either indoors or under a frame. They can be placed in the sun outside as soon as the shoots reach 10 centimeters. Transplants should be spaced about 30 centimeters apart. The next step is to butter them, that is to say to bring the soil to the feet of the plant.
Maintenance and harvest of sweet potato
When the leaves turn yellow in September, the tubers are ready to harvest, provided that regular watering has been observed. In Spain, Portugal and Algeria, it becomes very invasive, it forms a ground cover carpet or nothing else can grow.
Multiplication of sweet potato
To multiply the sweet potato, we put a tuber on a damp support, in the light, from April. We will then see eyes appear as for the potato. It will therefore be necessary to cut these germs with a tuber stalk which will be transplanted into sandy soil in May.
Enemies of the sweet potato
The leaves of the sweet potato can be affected by powdery mildew.
Uses of Sweet Potato
The sweet potato is prepared like the potato. The tubers can be eaten as a starter or as a side dish. Thanks to their sweet flavor, they can also be eaten as a dessert. Unlike potato, the sweet potato leaves are also consumable. They are prepared like spinach leaves.
Virtues of sweet potato
The consumption of sweet potato would help prevent certain cancers. It is twice as rich in beta-carotene as carrots. Its richness in vitamins and minerals would be beneficial in case of hypertension and diabetes. Reference: Sweet potato: rich in vitamin A and vitamin B6 on Passeport Santé.