Sweet potatoes or sweet potatoes like to grow in warm conditions. The root part of the plant especially needs warmth. Since in the middle lane climatic conditions do not meet such requirements, we have to resort to new inventions and methods. To provide the required temperature for the sweet potato roots, you need to build a special bed and make a mulching layer of film. On such a bed, the soil will always be warmed, which is necessary for a good harvest..
Preparing the garden for sweet potatoes
If you act in the traditional way, then you can build a small greenhouse or greenhouse, but we will try a new method, more effective, which has been used for a long time in Canada..
The garden bed should be located on a plot of land with good lighting and the greatest amount of sunlight. It should be, as it were, slightly raised (like a ridge). The height and width of the beds is about 40 centimeters, but the row spacing is about one meter. In the center of a narrow bed, you need to make a groove of small depth. Then the entire bed is covered with plastic wrap that allows light to pass through, in the middle of which (in the direction of the groove) small holes must be made at a distance of 20 or 40 centimeters (depending on the sweet potato variety). They are needed for planting sweet potato cuttings..
Along the entire perimeter of the bed, the edges of the film must be carefully sprinkled with soil, and a small amount of sand must be added to the cut holes. The sand absorbs water very well, and then gives it to the plants in the garden.
When choosing a film for a garden bed, it must be borne in mind that an opaque black film heats up very well and keeps heat, but does not give it to the soil. But plastic film, which transmits light, also transmits heat well and, unlike black film, keeps this heat inside for a long time. To grow sweet potatoes with a mulch layer of film, it is very important to keep warm in the garden as long as possible..
Weed grass can appear on a garden with sweet potatoes, but it will wither very quickly under the film and will not have time to leave seeds for the next generation. There will be no problems with weeds next season.
Film mulch has several positive qualities:
- Protects the plant from temperature extremes.
- Keeps the root of the crop warm.
- Retains the required amount of moisture.
- Facilitates access of plant nutrition from the soil.
- Provides an opportunity for early planting of cuttings.
Sweet potato planting rules
Preparation for planting begins in about a week. First, you need to cut the cuttings from the tuber, if necessary, divide them into pieces (30-40 centimeters in length) and put them in warm water with a temperature of more than 25 degrees for rooting. You can start planting when the roots grow by about 5 centimeters, no more. Long roots are not recommended to grow, as this negatively affects the quality and appearance of future tubers..
Since the sweet potato is a thermophilic plant, its cuttings should only be planted in well-heated soil with a constant temperature of about 18 degrees. A regular thermometer will help determine the landing date. Soil temperature should be measured at a depth of approximately 10 centimeters.
It so happens that roots have already formed on the cuttings and they need to be urgently planted, but weather conditions do not allow this. In such cases, you can plant a sweet potato in a seedling container and keep it indoors for a while. Just do not keep the cuttings in water, it is harmful to plants. As soon as the weather is warm, you can transplant sweet potato seedlings into open beds..
If a completely opposite situation has arisen – the soil is ready for planting, and the cuttings are still without roots, then you can safely plant them in this form. You just have to water the young plants abundantly for the first time so that they can take root faster. And it is also desirable to create shadow conditions for them for this period. You don’t have to worry, the culture will definitely take root.
Planting sweet potatoes is best done in the evening or in cloudy weather. First, you need to prepare planting holes with a depth of 7 to 15 centimeters (depending on the size of the cuttings) in those places where the cuts were made in the film coating. Then you need to water all the holes abundantly and plant the cuttings in a horizontal position. At least three leaves should remain on the surface of the soil.
Subject to all the conditions for growing cuttings and preparing the beds, as well as under favorable climatic and weather conditions and with the help of film mulch, sweet potatoes very quickly take root in a new place and begin to actively develop.