Influence of Bed Cover Types on Production Time and Quality of Sweetpotato Slips

in HortTechnology
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  • 1 USDA, Agricultural Research Service, Southern Regional Research Center, 1100 Robert E. Lee Blvd. New Orleans, LA 70124
  • | 2 Lincoln University Cooperative Extension, 110 Allen Hall, Box 29, Jefferson City, MO 65102-0029.

Sweetpotato (Ipomoea batatas) cultivars, Carver, Potojam, Jewel and Centennial were evaluated for slip production, using topsoil, sawdust, sand and a general-purpose peat-based commercial growing media as bed covers. Temperature measured 2 inches (5.1 cm) below the surface of the hot bed varied with covers and date measured. Sand maintained the highest bed temperature, 77 °F (25.0 °C) at 0800 hr and 79 °F (26.1 °C) at 1400 hr, throughout the growing season. Peat-covered roots produced the maximum number of slips/plot (111), while roots covered with topsoil and sawdust produced comparable yields, 55 and 45 slips/plot, respectively. Slip production varied according to harvest date, with the third harvest producing the most slips/plot (83 and 153, in year 1 and year 2, respectively), which, was likely related to increased temperatures. Cultivar significantly influenced number of slips, length of slips, and number of roots per slip. `Potojam' was the most prolific slip producer for both early and mid season production under all bed covers.

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