Growing Sweet Potato Plants





How shall I make a hot-bed to raise sweet potato plants? I don't mean to

put glass over bed, but want full description of an up-to-date outfit

for raising them.



Manure hot-beds have been largely abandoned for growing sweet potato

slips, though, of course, you can grow them that way on a small scale or

for experiment. In the large sweet potato districts, elaborate

arrangements for bottom heat by circulation of hot water or steam are in

use. In a smaller way hot air works well. The Arizona Experiment Station

tells how a very good sweet potato hot-bed at little cost is constructed

as follows: A frame of rough boards seven feet wide, twenty feet long

and fourteen inches deep is laid down over two flues made by digging two

trenches one foot deep and about two feet wide, lengthwise of the bed.

These trenches are covered with plank or iron roofing, and are equipped

with a fire pit at one end and short smokestack at the other.



Four inches of soil is filled into this bed and sweet potatoes placed

upon it in a layer which is then covered with two or three inches more

of soil. Large potatoes may be split and laid flat side down. The whole

bed is then covered with muslin, operating on a roller by which to cover

and uncover the bed. Thus prepared, the bed may easily be kept at a

temperature of 60 to 70 degrees F. by smouldering wood fires in the fire

boxes. The potatoes, kept moist at this temperature, sprout promptly and

will be ready to transplant in about six weeks. A bed of the size

mentioned will receive five to seven bushels of seed roots, which will

make slips enough to plant an acre or more of potatoes.





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