The sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas) performs well in sandy-loam, loam or clay-loam soil. It needs good drainage and is sensitive to waterlogging, salinity and alkalinity. The optimum pH of irrigation water is 6,5. The main cultivars are Bophelo and Impilo (orange flesh) and Ndou, Monate and Bosbok (cream flesh).
A warm-season crop, sweet potato is sensitive to low temperatures. It performs best in subtropical areas, but can be grown in all provinces, provided that supplementary irrigation is available. The plant develops a degree of drought tolerance once the storage roots have formed.
Crop rotation is essential to prevent disease and pest build-up.
Prepare the soil by loosening it to a depth of 25cm to 30cm to allow for good root aeration, root penetration and drainage by ploughing or using a fork, hoe or spade. Remove stones and break down the hard soil layers until you have obtained a deep, fine bed.
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Taking the sting out of the drought
Living through long periods of minimal rainfall has become a way of life for many farmers in various parts of South Africa. Brett Walker, who farms mixed livestock in the Eastern Cape, spoke to Glenneis Kriel about the various ways in which he alleviates the impact of the ongoing seven-year drought in the region.
Living the organic farming fantasy in the Western Cape Winelands
Following the rebuilding of Tulbagh after the 1969 earthquake, Brian Berkman has discovered that this historic town is experiencing yet another revival with trendy art galleries and farm-to-table dining.
Benefits of irrigating with wastewater
A recent study by Dr James Meyer, a private consultant, and Dr Rian Pierneef, a researcher in bioinformatics at the Agricultural Research Council’s Biotechnology Platform, found that wastewater from piggeries significantly increased the microbial diversity of soil. Pieter Dempsey spoke to the researchers.
The pros and cons of drip irrigation
Drip irrigation saves water and electricity, but is not suitable for all crop types. So make sure you end up with the right system, says Bill Kerr.
Groote Post: channelling a crisis into an opportunity
In 2020, South Africa’s wine industry encountered an unusual challenge: a ban on the sale of alcohol as part of the fight against COVID-19. This crisis spurred Groote Post, a family-run wine farm outside Darling, to blend its Internet savvy and tourism offerings with its tradition of winemaking and selling. The farm’s Nick and Peter Pentz spoke to Jeandre van der Walt.
How composting works
Composting speeds up the natural decay of organic material by providing the ideal conditions for detritus-eating organisms to thrive. The result is nutrient-rich soil that helps plants grow.
A formula for successful fynbos production
Nico Thuynsma’s love for all things floral and horticultural, and fynbos in particular, led him to establish a nursery and cut flower operation in the Cullinan area of Gauteng, where he produces proteas and other types of fynbos. Pieter Dempsey spoke to him about his passion for growing these plants.
The Basics Of Bull Management
The money-maker in the herd is the bull, says eastern Free State Simbra breeder Rick Dell. He spoke to Annelie Coleman about the management and selection of breeding bulls for commercial cattle herds.
A charming countryside guest house
Ellas in Greyton offers exceptional food, lovely views and wonderful hospitality, says Brian Berkman.
Over-irrigating costs you money in terms of water and electricity, and may lower your crops’ potential. Under-irrigating is also detrimental. Learn to irrigate properly and at the optimal time, says Bill Kerr.
Plan ahead for late-summer COLOUR
Keep your garden bursting with colour until the first frosts with late-flowering perennials
Toby’s petunias may have a reputation for trailing, but he’s determined to make them more upwardly mobile
Globes of alliums make a sensational addition to a border
Love your leftovers
Transform left-over chicken curry into a delicious pasty for lunch the next day
Elevate your outfit for those special occasions with Millie Masterton’s bowtiful fascinator headband
Perfect for picnics, these tarts are deliciously sweet and a little naughty
It’s not too late to sow a mix of annuals that will provide a cheering block of colour well into the autumn months, says Hazel Sillver, as she reveals the best seeds to sow now
The coming of cosmos
Warmer temperatures, new varieties and the greater accessibility of plugs have made comos a must-have plant for gardens this summer, says Graham Rice
While not true asters, half-hardy China asters come in a gorgeous array of tastefully soft colours and can be planted straight into the ground in May, says Graham Rice
Don’t believe all you’ve been told about sweetcorn, says Bob, as he reveals the correct cultivation for success