Biologist: Estonia could start growing sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes.
Sweet potatoes. Source: Mike Mozart/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Growing sweet potatoes in Estonia is becoming a possibility due to the warning climate, extended growing season, and new technology, a University of Life Sciences researcher believes.

"Only 50-60 years ago, we could not have talked about growing sweet potatoes in Estonia. As a result of climate change, the growing season has been extended by three weeks, and even more in south-east Estonia. With the right cultivation technology, sweet potatoes can be grown in Estonia," said Eve Runno-Paurson on the morning show "Terevisioon".

The researcher said the vegetables can be grown in furrows like potatoes, but the yield and quality are significantly better if the technology used to grow cucumbers, such as plastic mulch and drip irrigation, are applied.

Additionally, it is important to choose the right variety, Runno-Paurson said. As the Estonian growing season is only four months long, the varieties commonly planted in the U.S. and elsewhere are suitable but not those used in Asia.

Sweet potatoes should be planted at the end of May or the start of June after night frosts have stopped. 

"Unlike potatoes, we don't put down tubers, but grow shoots in advance. In our northern climate, the shoots must be rooted," the researcher added.

Although there are many gardeners are interested, sweet potato cultivation in Estonia is still in its infancy.


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Editor: Andres Reimann, Helen Wright

Source: Terevisioon

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