Do you know that the first batch of sweet potatoes was grown in the UK only in 2015? Being a native of sub-tropical climates, courtesy of its first introduction goes to a family run business covering Essex, Kent and Bedfordshire.
The correct temperature range for this crop is 21 – 26℃ – however, gardening experts have found some variants that can survive British seasons. To have a full-fledged growth, one needs to choose those correct variants and follow the procedure closely. A bit of an expert advice on gardening can help those who are planning to give it a shot this May.
So, how does one go about? Well, before plowing, scroll down to check out a ‘read-me guide’ for the perfect sweet potato plant.
How to start plantation process?
According to gardening experts – for starters, one has to get slips of sweet potato or rooted cuttings. Then, they have to be soaked in lukewarm water overnight before one plants them in a pot or garden.
Next, the soil has to be nitrogen free with maximum drainage facility. Then these slips or rooted cuttings should be planted 12 inches apart from each other, with a 32 inches gap between rows. If you wish to plant them in pots, a minimum area of 8 centimeters is needed in the pot.
Once this planting is done, gardening experts suggest adding manure consisting of blood, fish and bone on a monthly basis. This has to be followed by keeping the plant in the shade during mid-day sun.
Trivia: Do you know that compared to general potatoes, sweet potatoes have reported a 46% increase in sales? Also, its low calorie and carbohydrate count are additional positives.
Which varieties suit the UK climate the most?
Most of the newbies tend to buy the varieties sold in the supermarkets for starting their sweet potato plantation. This is a costly mistake! Since, sweet potato is specifically a crop of the humid regions, one has to restrict to only some varieties. What are those? Take a look –
Bonita Sweet Potato
These have light brown skin cover with a sweet tasting flesh. One must be careful while buying, since for apt results, potted cuttings are the only option.
Beauregard Sweet Potato
Specifically termed as Beauregard Improved, this variety comes with its orange tubers and an extremely sweet taste. Found in most supermarkets around the UK, studies have revealed it to have provided the best crop to date.
O Henry Sweet Potato
Coming with a rich flavor, one can find its tubers in clusters differentiating itself from others. Most of the gardening experts advise on growing this sweet potato courtesy to its maximum harvest results.
Primarily, these 3 varieties are grown in the British domain, but in recent times, other options as Carolina Ruby and T65 have also started making a mark.
Growth calendar for adequate results
To start off – pot slips have to be prepared in 3rd and 4th week of May, followed by planting of the crop in 2nd week of June – with harvesting time marked at 2nd to 3rd week of October.
Given the climate of the UK is frost dominated, in colder regions, one can try growing it in greenhouse poly tunnels. For that, the ground must be covered with black plastic mulch to maintain soil temperature and prevent water evaporation. Once tubers start growing one must remove this mulch.
Harvesting procedure to follow
Gardening experts advice one to start off this harvesting process by using a fork. Since, tubers of sweet potatoes are within range of 30 cm to 1 feet; this is how harvesting is done. Once finished, it must be stored in a heated greenhouse for high lifespan.
Hence, it is recommended that before you experiment with this nutritious ‘newly introduced’ crop in the British domain, do seek gardening advice from experts.
Where to seek that ‘expert’ guidance from? Make it a point to list out some of the top gardening websites and blogs, and stick to the one with maximum success rate. Check out experiences of the concerned advisors, their track record and testimonials to choose a quality service.
More info: http://www.gooderhamhorticulture.com/