1) Plant History & General Information:
- Location on Property: Garden Z, Kahuna Cabin, Bamboo Hut, Garden J,
Scientific Name: Ipomoea batatas
- Region of Origin: Between the Yucatán Peninsula of Mexico and the mouth of the Orinoco River in Venezuela.
- We have two types of sweet potatoes growing here.
- Sweet potato, the leaves are glossy green, with up to 4 cm long, and new leaves are copper in color.
- Purple Sweet Potato – Leaves are purple with a green border.
2) Plant Uses:
- As Food: Used mostly for human consumption; large edible root and edible leaves.
- The leaves may be steamed, boiled or baked.
- The tubers boiled, steamed or fried. Prepared like a white potato.
- As Medicine: Sweet potatoes are extraordinarily rich in carotenoids, orange and yellow pigments that play a role in helping the body respond to insulin. And as unlikely as it may seem, coffee (another Magic food) and sweet potatoes have something in common: They’re both rich in the natural plant compound chlorogenic acid, which may help reduce insulin resistance.
- The famous Nurses’ Health Study at Harvard Medical School found that women who ate lots of foods rich in beta-carotene, such as sweet potatoes, reduced their risk of breast cancer by as much as 25 percent. Eating sweet potatoes is a smart move for you if you have high blood pressure because they are rich in potassium, a mineral known for bringing pressure down. You’ll get more potassium from a sweet potato than you will from a banana!
- Other Uses: Sweet potato vines also provide the basis for a high-protein animal feed. With high starch content, it is well suited to processing and has become an important source of raw material for starch and starch-derived industrial products.
3) Growing Instructions
- Growing: Grows like a weed. The plant does not enjoy frost. It grows best at an average temperature of 24 °C (75 °F), abundant sunshine and warm nights.
- Best time to Harvest: Depending on the climate and conditions, tuberous roots mature in two to nine months.
- Sunlight Requirements: Full Shade, Partial Shade, Full Sunlight
- Soil Requirements: Although sweet potatoes may be grown on various types of soil, best results and highest yields will be obtained on soils that are loose, free from rocks, fairly fertile with a pH of 5.0 to 6.0 and with good drainage. Sweet potatoes are grown in tightly packed or rock-filled soils will produce many misshapen roots.
Propagation: Sweet potatoes are typically propagated using slips. (the sprout that grows from the mature tuber).
According to this Hawaiian culture site “Propagation is from stem cuttings or slips, not from the tubers. the 6-9 inch slips are planted about a foot apart, preferably in mounds, pu`e, or ridges, allowing the vines to trail off outside the beds. It is a good idea to plant `uala near the periphery of a garden, as the plants tend to take over the area in which they grow, and to wander on and on. The vines make a lovely ground cover in any event.
In planting, the older vines are used, with the cuttings being vine ends broken off from 10-20 inches from the tip. Gather these in the evening, not in the heat of the day. Pluck all leaves off except for three or four at the end, being careful to leave the leaf bud at the tip. Planting can be the next day, or even several days later, if the slips are kept moist, such as in a bucket of water. Root buds may begin to appear during this time.
Controlling Spread: Space plants 12 inches apart in rows 36 inches apart.
Difficulties with this plant: The diseases of sweet potatoes are usually not of any great importance in Hawaii if disease-free tip cuttings are used as planting material.
History of this Plant at Hedonisia: /
Mashed Sweet Potatoes:
- 5 or 6 larger sweet potatoes or yams
- water for boiling
- 1 14oz can coconut milk
- 3/4 tsp ginger
- 1/2 tsp curry
- 2 T olive or vegan butter
- salt and pepper to taste
In a large pot, cover the yams or sweet potatoes with water and bring to a boil. Allow to simmer for at least 15 minutes, or until soft. Mash the sweet potatoes to desired consistency and add remaining ingredients. Yummy!
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