Jᴀᴘᴀɴese sweet potatoes could refer to a particular boniato cultivar or the alternative popular term for a category of potatoes known as bonito. These species have creamy wʜɪᴛe to golden flesh with pink to dark purple skin. Compared to the orange-fleshed sweet potatoes that are popular in the US, Jᴀᴘᴀɴese sweet potatoes often have significantly drier flesh. Since it can be challenging to locate these potatoes, if you have an organic Jᴀᴘᴀɴese potato, you can cultivate the vines and then plant slips to produce your own crop of Jᴀᴘᴀɴese sweet potatoes in your yard.
Place the entire Jᴀᴘᴀɴese sweet potato on the ground, with the pointy tip sticking out a little. Because Jᴀᴘᴀɴese sweet potatoes can grow quite long, if the potato won’t fit in the pot, you can cut off the bottom section, let the exposed flesh calluses overnight, and then plant the potato with the cut, calloused end facing down. Place the pot in a warm area that receives direct sunlight. To prevent problems with rot, moisten the potato when planting it and let the top 1 to 2 inches of soil dry in between waterings.
When the vines are 10 to 12 inches long, a few sweet potatoes fall off. Where the vines emerge from the potato tip, trim them off. With the exception of the final one or two leaf sets ᴄʟᴏsᴇst to the vine’s end, remove all the leaves from the vine. You should wait until it is warm outside, roughly one month after the last frost, in addition to waiting till the vines reach the proper size before cutting and planting the slips.
Create long, thin holes for the sweet potato slips, leaving the remaining leaves exposed to the ground. The holes should be narrow enough to fit the slips. To establish proper contact between the earth and the vine slip, place the slip in the hole, fill it with dirt, and gently compact it. In rows, place the plants 12 inches apart, with the distance between each row being around 3 feet. Throughout the growing season, water the plants well about once a week. Plants require watering around once per week, but if you have enough rain, you might not need to.
Two weeks after setting the slips outside, use a slow-release, general fertilizer like 5-10-10. For a 10-foot row of sweet potatoes, use about 2 cups of fertilizer. Scratch the soil with a tiny garden rake to incorporate the fertilizer.
Keep the area surrounding all of the Jᴀᴘᴀɴese sweet potato plants weed-free. When planting the slips, hand weeding is necessary. After about two weeks, apply an inch of mulch. As the vines develop over the course of roughly a month, add one additional inch of mulch every week to reach a final mulch level of 3 to 4 inches. As you spread the mulch, lift the vines off the ground to avoid mistakenly covering them with mulch, which could cause new plants to sprout.
Depending on the development rates of the Jᴀᴘᴀɴese sweet potato cultivar you select, harvest the potatoes three to five months after planting. Pull the plant straight out of the ground by loosening the soil surrounding its crown. This ᴍᴇᴛʜod avoids harm to the sweet potatoes, which frequently happens when a hoe is used to dig up the potatoes. You might still need to sift through the soil to discover all the potatoes, but this way avoids ᴅᴀᴍᴀɢᴇ to the sweet potatoes.
Fresh potatoes should be dried out and kept between 85 and 90 degrees for five to ten days. Sweet potatoes taste better after being cured, and potatoes develop a protective second skin that allows them to be kept for longer than one or two months in storage.
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Video resource: Noal Farm