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Full text of "Sweet potato culture for profit. A full account of the origin, history and botanical characteristics of the sweet potato"

iSB 211 

.59 P9 

iCopy 1 




*^ K. M, PRICE, B^ 



ILLUSTRATED, 



A' 



Tcsas Fmm and Ranch PubU&hin^^^. 




mi^^ 



Sweet Potato ^5 

Culture 

for Profit. 






0[= THE 



on, History anH Botanical ctiaractenstlos 



^(s^" 



OR THE 



SwEEX Potato.--^.. 

(ILLUSTRATED.) ., . \ 

Tull and Complete Instructions from ^^bw to Grow the 
Plants to Harvesting and Storing the Crop for Both 
Southern and Northern Latitudes. Complete Dis- 
cussion of the Diseases and Insects which Injure 
the Crop. A description of 47 V^arieties with 
a New System of Classifying tlAcm. The 
Chinese Yam and the V'ineless V''ariely 
are Discussed. Latest Improved 
/Machinery Discussed, &c. 



^^ R^H. PRICE, B. SC, 

Professor of Horticulture, Botany aud Entomology in Texas Agricultural and Mechanical 
College, and Horticulturist of the Taxas Experiment Station. 



PUBLISHEO BY 

Texas Farm and Ranch Publishing Co.^ 

DALLAS, TEXAS. 



LIBRARY OF CONGRESS, 



COPYRIGHT OFFICE. 

No registration of title of this book 
as a preliminary to copyright protec- 
tion has been iound../^^^ -^z- //.'_? 

C — ' 

Forwarded to Order Division -.■*-.....l'..^]A1l£..^ 

(Date) 



^ ^ C\ (Apr. 5. 3901— 5,000.) 



COPVRIGHIEU, 1896, 

BY 

Texa.s Farm and Ranch PrBLisuiNu Co. 

DALLAS, TEXAS. 









\N 



PREFACE. 

uTTOW can our present condition be improved?" is a ques- 
tion which comes up at some time in the affairs of all 
working men. Progress forward should ever be our watch- 
word. We owe it to ourselves, to humanity, and to our Maker. 

How the farmer may use the information to best ad- 
vantage contained in this little volume, and how" the teacher 
may readily get hold of the facts to present to his students 
are two objects constantly kept in view by the author while 
writing this book, which is the outcome of four years careful 
experimental work with the sweet potato. About all the 
results obtained by the author and given in this volume have 
been published in bulletin form by the Texas Experiment 
Station, but as requests for these bulletins have come, not 
only from nearly every state in the Union, but from foreign 
countries, so as to rapidly exhaust the editions of each one, 
have prompted him to put his own results together with many 
of those from other experimenters along this line, in per- 
manent book form. He has been able to find only one small 
volume and two pamphlets on the sweet potato for sale, neither 
one of wihch pretend to be exhaustive nor up with the times. 
Consequently, the author has experienced difficulty in giving 
accurate information on this subject to his students in the 
class room. It is believed the author's new system of classi- 
fication, recent results obtained on "mixing or sporting'' of 
varieties, and the chapter on the vineless or bunch varieties, 
will help greatly to clear up the confusion which now exists 
on these points. New methods of transplanting and recent 
improved machinery will help greatly to lessen the cost of 
production. 

In the preparation of this volume the author has found 
it a labor of love done during his spare moments from arduous 
and exacting duties. Inaccuracies may have crept in as they 
have in most books, and if such be found, the author will 
consider it a favor to have his attention called to them. The 



INTRODUCTION. 



author wishes here to acknowledge his obligations to those 
who have so kindly assisted him in the preparation of this 
volume: The Horticultural Department of the Louisiana 
Experiment Station for the cuts on varieties, Prof. Byron D. 
Ilalstead for several cuts on diseases of the Sweet Potato, and 
to Prof. Hugh N. Starnes and others mentioned in the book. 
If this little volume should point the way of prosperity to 
some debt-ridden and discouraged farmer who has relied upon 
the ordinary farm crops for success, and has failed; if it 
should help in any small degree the increase of hunum happi- 
ness, he will feel his labor has not l)een in vain. 

"THE AUTHOR." 

(_'(iLLi:(ii-: Statfox, Tkxas, 
A I ISA (I si 'jr.ili, iS9(). 



Agriculture is the nursing mother of arts. — Xenophon. 

Tillage and pasturage are the two breasts of the State. 

— Sully. 

The first farmer was the first man, and all historic 
nobility rests on possession and use of hind. — Emmerson. 

Agriculture is the most healthful, most useful^ and most 
noble employment of man. — Washington. 

There seem to be but three ways for a, nation to acquire 
wealth: the first is by war, as the Romans did in plundering 
their conquered neighbors — this is robbery; the second, by 
commerce, not always fair; the third, by agriculture, at all 
times honest, wherein man receives a. real increase of the 
seed thrown into the ground in a, kind of continual miracle 
wrought by the hand of God in his favor as a reward for 
his innocent life and virtuous industry. — Franklin. 



CONTENTS. 



PAGE 

Introduction v, 

CHAPTER I. 

Botanical Characteristics and Oi'isiji 1 

CHAPTER H. 

Chinese Yam — Origin and Culture 4 

CHAPTER HI. 

Uses of the Sweet Potato. As food for man and for stock. 

Canning and Drying o 

CHAPTER IV. 

Influence of Climate 13 

CHAPTER V. 

Influence of Different Soils. Preparation 14 

CHAPTER VI. 

Fertilizers. Commercial Fertilizers. Domestic Fertilizers. 

How to Use Fertilizers with Profit l(i 

CHAPTER VII. 
Propagation. By sets, by tubers, by vine cuttings. Best 
tubers for seed. How to grow the plants North and 
South 23 

CHAPTER VIII. 
Transplanting. When and how to transplant. Improved 

transplanting machinery. Ridge and level methods. . 30 

CHAPTER IX. 

Cultivation. Shallow and deep. Raising the vines 3(i 

CHAPTER X. 

Harvesting and storing. When and how to harvest. 

Storing North and South 38 



CONTENTS. IV 

CHAPTER XI. 

Yield of Varieties. North Jind South compared 44 

CHAPTER XII. 
Classitication. A new method. Rules of Nomenclature. 

Description of varieties with synonyms 49 

CHAPTER XIII. 

Variation of the sweet potato. How new varieties 

originate 67 

CHAPTER XIV. 

Shipping and marketing 69 

CHAPTER XV. 

Diseases of the Sweet Potato. How to prevent the injury 70 

CHAPTER XVI. 

Insect enemies and how to prevent their depredation 96 

CHAPTER XVII. 

The Vineless or Bunch Sweet Potato 98 

CHAPTER XVIII. 
Weights and measures in different states 103 

CHAPTER XIX. 

How to predict the weather 104 

CHAPTER XX. 

How to cook the Sweet Potato 106 

INDEX 109 



p^ 



ERRATA. 

Third word in 20th line of preface, for "wiheh" read which. 

In last line on 6th page, for "Experimental" read Experiment. 

In foot line on 8th page, for "Experimental" read Experiment. 

First line in III. division of table XII., for "silver" read soda. 

On page 63 figure "43" should read 34. 

On page 67 in line next to last which reads there "has" been should 
read tliere have been. ' 



INTRODUCTION. 



^^nCC an American farmer thought there was a better place 
^^ for him to live than the one at which he had been born. 
He had read short accounts of a place described in the agri- 
cultural papers which seemed to suit him. Once a small, mod- 
est book on the same subject had reached his hands. All the 
information he could obtain from such sources was read with 
great interest and pondered over well. Good common sense, 
which was this man's best earthly friend, told him that the 
location of this place in which he had become interested was 
favorable in regard to latitude and longitude. Salubriousness 
of climate and fertility of soil seemed very probable. Large 
and wealthy cities were of easy access by rail and by boat. 
The trend of population seemed to be in that direction. Fear- 
ing, however, that possibly it might be an overlauded place, he 
concluded it would be best to go and see it before leaving his 
home and moving there. It was a serious thing for him to 
leave the home of his childhood. His grandfather had come 
over from England with several others a century ago and had 
purchased a large homestead at small cost, and established a 
community which had now grown large and thickly settled. 
Nearly all his grandfather's children and grandchildren had 
married and settled around the old homestead. They were all 
interested in the same occupation in which their grandfather 
had been so eminently successful. Somehow, the occupation 
did not seem so remunerative as formerly, the soil had become 
worn by continuous cropping in the same kind of crops. The 
products did not sell so well in the markets as they had in 
days gone by. 

In meditating over the future, common sense taught this 
man that he must change occupation or location. Things 
could not go on as they had; in fact he thought a change was 
coming over the entire country, and he must prepare himself 
.to meet it successfully, * * * 



SWEET POTATO CULTURE FOR PROFIT. 




CHAPTER I. 

THE SWEET POTATO (Ipomca Batatas, Lam.), botanical char- 
acteristics — ORIGIN. 

The sweet potato belongs to the well known morning 
glory family, Convolvulacea. It is a perennial, though culti- 
vated as an annual. The creeping stems, in some varieties, 

grow 20 feet long and frequently send 
out roots at the nodes which, in favor- 
able seasons, bear small potatoes. 
There are three main types of leaves, 
the round, the shouldered, and the 
lobed or split. Color of the stems and 
leaves varies from dark green to light 
purple. No flowers are produced ex- 



FiG. 1. Sweet Potato 
Tubers. 

cept occasionly in 
Southern latitudes. 
When peduncles ap- 
pear they are axillary 
and bear three to five 
small purple flowers 
which are white 
around the border 
and purple in the 
throat. The pod 
contains four one- 
seeded cells. Flow- 
ers of the sweet 
potato shown in fig- 
ure ^S were photo- 
grS^phed by Mr. 
Bridgewater of Ten- 
nessee. The potato 
is an enlarged, fari- ^^^^ ^ ^"^^^ ^''^'"^'^ ^l"^'^^"^' 

naceous, tuberous root, which frequently contains 12 per cent, 
to 15 per cent, of sugar after being stored a while. The word 




SWEET POTATO CULTURE FOR PROFIT. 



potato was first applied to the sweet potato and is a (H)i'rii[)tioii 
of the Indian word "Batatas." In the middle of the six- 
teenth centiny, when irish potato tubers were being shipped 
to foreign markets, the word "potato" was also applied to 
the tubers of Solaniim Tuherosum., the common irish potato. 
Even down to tlie middle of the seventeenth century we are 
told that the sweet potato is generally understood where the 
word potato is used by English writers. Now, in the market 
( I notations wherever the ^vord potato occurs, the irish potato 
is meant, and for the other tubers the word "sweet" is 
placed before the word potato. 

"Tuber is an annual thickened portion of a subterranean 
stem or branch, provided with latent buds called eyes, from 
which new plants ensue the succeeding year."' 

Tubers of the sweet potato vary much in shape, size, 
color and texture of flesh. Shape varies from roundish to 
much elongated, frequently taperi.jg at both ends. On some 
varieties, vein-like ridges appear over the surface. Texture 
of the flesh when baked varies from soft and mealy to soft and 
mushy. Many varieties give off an agreeable odor when being- 
baked. Color of skin varies from pale white to yellowish red 
and sometimes purple. Color of the flesh when baked is 
nearly always dull yellow or brownish yellow. Flavor is 
greatly influenced by soils and seasons. 

Comparison avith the irish potato. The irish potato 
is an enlarged subterranean stem, as evidenced by the fact 
that it contains well-defined "eyes" or axillary buds. It will 
assume a greenish color when exposed to the sunlight, due to 
the development of chlorophyll which is characteristic of a 
stem. Neaily always the tubers are borne on the ends of 
small roots. This vegetable is not sugary. It belongs to the 
nightshade family, Solanacea. The sweet potato has no well- 
defined eyes when flrst dug. and will not turn green when 
exposed to the sunlight. Its tubers are borne near the sur- 
face of the soil on the upper ends of long roots. 

origin of the sweet potato. 

Knowledge concerning the native habitat of the sweet 

potato is not clear. Strong arguments in favor of its origin, 

both in the eastern and the western hemispheres have been 

advanced. Some of these arguments given by De Candolle in 



SWEET POTATO CULTURE FOR PROFIT. 



his "Origin of Cultivated Plants" will be given here, begin- 
ning with those in favor of an American origin. This origin 
is advocated by Humboldt, Meyer and Boissier. Humboldt 
says that according to Gomara, Christopher Columbus, when 
he appeared for the tirst time before Queen Isabella, offered 
her various productions from the New World, sweet potatoes 
among others. Clusius, who was one of the first to mention 
the sweet potato, says he had eaten some in the south of 
Spain, where it was first supposed to have come from the 
New World. Rumphius says positively, that, according to 
the opinion, sweet potatoes were brought by the Spanish 
Americans to Manilla and the Moluccas, whence the Portu- 
guese diffused it throughout the Malay Archipelago. It is 
certain that it was unknown to the Greeks, Romans and 
Arabs. 

On the other hand, the Chinese Encyclopedia of Agricul- 
ture speaks of the sweet potato and mentions varieties. 

Bretschneider has proved that the species is described for 
the first time in a book of the second or third century of our 
era. Boyer, Choisy and others hold to its Asiatic origin. 
Oviedo, who wrote in 1526, says that he found the potato 
extensively cultivated by the natives of St. Domingo 
and had introduced it himself at Avila, in Spain. Ac- 
cording to Thunberg, the sweet potato has been carried to 
Japan by the Portuguese. 

The plants cultivated at Tahiti and the neighboring isles, 
and in New Zealand under the names of umara, gumarra and 
gumalla, described by Foster under the name of Convolvulus 
Ghrysorliizus, is, according to Sir Joseph Hooker, the sweet 
potato. Seemann remarks in journal of Botany, 1866, that 
these names resemble the Quichuen name of the sweet potato 
in America, which is, he says, Gumar. 

De Candolle concludes that the arguments in favor of an 
American origin seem to him much stronger. However, there 
is a probability of prehistoric communication between Asia 
and America, and this vegetal)le having been in cultivation so 
long it may have been transferred. 



SWEET POTATO CULTURE FOR PROFIT. 



CHAPTER II. 

CHINESE YAM (Dioscorea Batatas D'cne.). 

Origrin and Meaning of Word "Yam." Origin 
of the Vegetable. Botanical Charac- 
teristics. Cultivation. 

Since the little word "Yam'' is the cause of great con- 
fusion in the nomenclature of sweet potatoes, especially in the 
Southern States, it may be well to give some space here to the 
discussion of the vegetable of which the word is more properly 
the name. 

The word Yam: French, Ignama de la China; Spanish, 
Igname; Hughs says it is of African origin and means "to 
eat" in several negro dialects on the coast of Guinea. 

The generic name of the vegetable was given in honor of 
a Greek physician and florist by the name of Dioscorides. 
There are several species of Yams belonging to this genera, 

such asZ>. Villosa,D.Japonica,D. Alata, 
D. Sativa, Etc. The latter one with its 
varieties, Wood says,*is understood to be 
that which is known as the "Sweet Yam" 
cultivated in Georgia and Florida and 
all tropical countries, on account of 
its sweet and nutritious tubers. If this 
be true it is readily understood how 
the word "Yam" came to be applied 
to the soft, sugar varieties of the sweet 
potato, and hence the confusion. 

The Chinese Yam is sometimes called 
Cinnamon Vine. It is, perhaps, native 
of the Phillippine Islands. It is ex- 
tensively cultivated in China under the 
name Sain-in. Was introduced into 
France in 1848, through the agency of 
M. de Montigny, the French Consul at Shanghai. Soon after- 
wards it was sent to this country from the Jardin des 
plantes de Paris. 

DESCRirTION. 

The vegetable is very hardy, perennial, annual, twining 
stems, which are green bluish color, and grow from 6 to 10 

♦Wood's Class Book of Botany. 




Fig. 3. Chinese Yam. 



SWEET POTATO CULTURE FOR PROFIT. 



feet long. Leaves are opposite, heart shaped, and have a 
glossy upper surface. White, small flowers groAv in clusters 
and are dioecious. Little bulblets are produced sometimes 
instead of flowers, and from them the vegetable can be prop- 
agated. From the roots, fleshy tubers grow down almost per- 
pendicular two or three feet, and are called botanically rhiz- 
omes. Shape of the tubers is somewhat like that of an Indian 
club. The fact that they groAV so deep down into the soil 
makes the tubers difficult to dig. This is the main objection 
to the vegetable ; however, the tubers are frequently left in 
the ground and dug as wanted. When baked the flesh is 
floury, white and light in texture. It keeps well and is worthy 
of culture, especially where the sweet potato does not grow 
well. 

CHAPTER III. 

USES OF THE SWEET POTATO. 

For the Table. For Canning. For Drying. As 

Food for Stock. Value of the Tops 

and Vines for Stock. 

As a diet for human food, the sweet potato may properly 
be considered a luxury. Fortunately, however, it is a luxury 
which nearly all the human family may enjoy. Those varieties 
which become soft and sugary when baked, and are sometimes 
erroneously called "Yams,'' are considered the leading vege- 
tables in many Southern States. A garden in the Southern 
States that has not the sweet potato in it is the exception. In 
ante-bellum days this vegetable formed one of the chief ele- 
ments of the negro's ration. It is frequently his practice in 
the South now to peal and eat the tubers raw like apples. He 
is almost as fond of it as the water melon, and takes a pride 
in planting it round his log cabin home of the South. Here, 
cotton, sweet potatoes, water melons, the negro and the mule 
have become almost inseparable. 

While the soft sugary varieties are most appreciated 
in the Southern States, quite a different variety is most appre- 
ciated in the Northern States. Mealy varieties, such as the 
"Nansemonds," "Jersey Sweets,'' "Fancy Vineland Sweets," 
sell higher than any other potatoes, the irish not excepted in 
the Xorthern States. The following table shows results of 



SWEET POTATO CULTURE FOR PROFIT. 



analyses of sweet potato tubers made at California Exper- 
iment Station and at Texas Experiment Station: 

TABLE III, ANALYSES OF SWEET POTATOES. 



Averages of 17 varieties'froni 
analyses made at Califor- 
nia Agr. Expt . Station 

Averages of 21 varieties from 
analyses made at Texas 
Agr. Expt. Station 



A. Percent, on Fresh Substance. 



69 00 



70.27 1.14 2 41 



2 08 



1.00 



.99 



Nitrogen-Free Extract. 



Sugar by 
(Copper Tei-t. 



Before 
Inver- 
sion. 



Total 
After 
Inver- 
sion, 



r-i'Z, 



3.42 



5 55 



r. Kl 



24.23 



24.no 1.20 



Averages of 17 varieties from 
analyses made at Califor- 
nia Agr. Expt. Station 



Averages of 21 varieties from 
analyses made at Texas 
Agr. Expt Station 



B. Per cent. Calculated to Water-Free Substance. 







y 

-I 




5' 




B 

■5" 

33 



Nitrogen-Free ."ixtract 



Sugar by 
Copper Test 



Before 
Inver- 
sion. 



Total 
After 
Inver- 
sion 



6.23 



3.83 8.10 3.33 



3.17 



7.73 



11.50 



19.00 



22.90 



7S.70 



80.73 4 25 



S3.J 



COMPOSITION OF THE IRISH AND THE SWEET POTATO COMPARED. 

The relative nutritive value of the sweet potato can be 
more readily understood when compared with that of the 
irish potato, which is recognized as a valual)le food product 
the civilized world over. 

The analyses in the following table were made at Storr's 
Agricultural Experiment Station and at California Agricul- 
tural Experimental Station: 



SWEET POTATO CULTURE FOR PROFIT. 



TABLE IV. COMPOSITION OF IRISH AND SWEET POTATOES. 





z 

c 
B 


^ 




Nutrients, Per Cents 


no 




m 







CD 




g 


3 ep 
» B 




m 










»-j 


D 


■d-- 






CO 


p 


2. 

5' 





tr 




5» 

3 W 




> 


O 










ci 


^ 


2-B 
























C 












S- 


•-1 


UU 




V5 












c» 








? 
















b' 


Irish Potatoes (Connecticut) 


12 


78 90 21 10 


2 10 


.10 


17 90 


1 00 


375 


Sweet Potatoes (California) . 


17 


69 00 31 00 




2 08 


1.00 


24 23 


1 08 


537 



It will be seen that the sweet potato contains ten times as 
much fat as the irish potato, the protein is about equal, and 
that the potential energy is one-third greater. The sweet 
potato has the sugar which the irish potato lacks, and also 
contains 8.9 % more dry matter. The sweet potato does not 
make a perfectly balanced "ration." Since it is lacking in 
protein, it should be used in connection with more nitroge- 
nous food, such as beans, peas, eggs and lean meat. This also 
applies to the tops which are sometimes used for salad. 

The table quality of sweet potatoes, while often good 
when the tubers are tirst dug, improves during storage. This 
seems to be due mainly to the loss of water and the increase of 
sugar. To test this 16 varieties were analyzed for me by the 
chemist of the Texas Experiment Station in November, in 
December, and in March, 1893-'94; the results are given in 
the following table : 



TABLE v. ANALYSES 


OF THE TUBERS 


AT DIFFERENT PERIODS. 




November 1 


. 1893 


December 20 


, 1893 


March 6, 1894 


Name of variety. 


Water 


03 CD 

" 3- 


Total 
Sugar 


Water 


«5 


Total 
Sugar 


Water 




Total 
Sugar 


Bunch (Yam)* 

Early Bunch (Yam). . . 


70 83 

73 26 

66 06 

71 81 

77 59 

67 23 

68 23 

65 83 
61 58 
75 81 

74 70 
79 04 

78 26 

75 44 

66 69 

69 19 


2 14 

2 66 

4 16 

3 33 
3 27 
2 5^ 
2 84 
2 19 

5 10 

2 77 

3 00 

3 35 
2 08 

2 92 

4 67 

3 76 


3 74 

4 60 

6 41 

5 00 
5 20 
5 26 

7 69 
2 77 
9 20 

5 26 

6 75 
6 41 

5 00 

6 98 
11 90 

8 07 


68 92 

65 01 

66 03 

70 34 
72 84 
66 98 
66 71 

64 01 

60 00 

71 47 

66 56 
70 97 

67 87 

61 64 

65 26 

69 06 


6 41 

5 55 

6 02 
3 73 

3 15 
5 55 
5 00 

5 26 

7 35 

6 K) 

4 54 
3 50 

5 50 

5 00 

6 66 
6 25 


12 50 

10 00 
12 50 

5 88 

6 00 

11 11 
9 60 

11 63 
10 50 

7 20 
7 14 

6 00 

7 46 

8 98 

12 10 

9 95 


68 85 
60 81 
(!3 90 
70 14 
()8 76 

60 55 

61 72 
59 81 
58 12 
70 S2 


4 06 
7 25 

6 10 

3 09 

4 75 

5 80 
5 75 

7 16 
5 56 
3 45 


14 38 
19 71 
16 42 




8 00 


Red Nose 

Brazilian (Yam) 

Negro (Choker 


11 13 

15 30 
11 50 
13 80 


Southern Qreim 

Red Bermuda 


10 64 

8 84 


Peabody 


70 00 
50 00 
59 50 


3 34 

1 15 

2 79 


10 30 




7 55 




11 50 








67 00 


4 60 


13 27 






1 





-Bunch, Karly Bunch ciud Vineleao are the same— R. H. P. 



SWEET POTATO CULTURE FOR PROFIT. 



The following comments were made by the chemist upon 
these analyses: "In many cases, the quantity brought in for 
analysis was too small to furnish average samples. It was 
expected, according to popular belief, that the water would 
decrease as the winter advanced. This was true in a general 
way, and is clearly shown by reference to the table. The 
increase of invert sugar, 'comprising grape sugar and fruit 
sugar, is not so uniform as that of total sugar, comprising 
cane sugar in addition to invert.' 

"The highest total amount of sugar on March 6th was 
found in the Early Bunch (Yam), although it was not the 
highest initial amount. Next to this came the Vineless in 
final total sugars. The Norton and the Pumpkin (Yam) and 
the Southern Queen carried the largest amount of total sugars 
on November 1st, the time when first analyses were made. As 
to the amount of water, the above three varieties together with 
the Vineless, the Brazilian (Yam), the Tennessee and the Negro 
Choker, were lowest in water or moisture when the analyses 
were first made. 

But the amount of water which they lost on keeping 
seems to have been very little. The greatest percentage loss 
of water was in the Delaware, next to this came the Early 
Bunch (Yam); but with a difference of eleven per cent, of 
sugar in favor of the Yam. So far as these analyses indicate, 
the Early Bunch (Yam) would seem to be the best potato for 
table use, when a dry potato with a large amount of sugar is 
wanted. The next best answering the purpose would be the 
Pumpkin (Yam). But I believe it is a fact, that dry mealy 
potatoes, low in sugar, are more appreciated in the Northern 
market than are the 'Yellow Yams' rich in sugar."* 

CANNING SWEET TOTATOES. 

Canning sweet potatoes is, of course, a new industry. It 
is gratifying to learn from those who have tried it, that there 
are prospects of it being made profitable. Since the vege- 
table comes in after nearly all other vegetables are gone, it 
would enable the factories to run a longer time during the 
year. Markets for this vegetable could then be extended, 
even to the very cold climates where it cannot be grown. 

♦Bulletin 36, on Sweet Potatoes, Texas Experimental Station. 



SWEET POTA.TO CULTURE FOR PROFIT. 



Upon this subject I cannot do better than give the results 
of those who have tried it, and were kind enough to write out 
the following statements for me : 

Water Valley Canning and Manufacturing Co., 
Water Valley, Miss., Dec. 9th, 1895. 

"Replying to your communication of December 6th, 
relative to canning sweet potatoes : The above factory packed 
some potatoes in 1893 and a small lot in 1894, but could not 
make the packing profitable, therefore, did not pack the 
present season. The main hindrance to the successful pack- 
ing of potatoes in the South, our experience at least, is the 
excessive freight rates to market. No potatoes are sold south 
of Chicago, very few east of there, and the bulk in the West, 
Colorado and Minnesota. 

"Baltimore and Maryland pack the bulk of the potato 
output of canning factories, and get freight rates to Chicago 
and the far West for much less than half the price Southern 
packers are compelled to pay. We packed a first-class line of 
goods, sold them right along in the Chicago markets, side by 
side with the best Maryland pack, but could not obtain within 
30 cents a dozen of the price paid for Maryland goods. We 
paid farmers here 30 cents a bushel of 60 pounds for the 
potatoes. We packed an average of 20 cans to the bushel and 
sold at from 85 to 90 cents per dozen, Chicago delivery. We 
had several communications this season asking us for prices, 
parties who had used the goods in 1893 and 1894, but as stated 
above, we did not pack." G. D. Brown, Secretary. 

BooNEviLLE Canning Company, 
Booneville, Miss., Dec. 16th, 1895. 
"Replying to your favor of the 6th instant, will say that 
in 1892 we packed about 500 cases of the Jersey Yams, and 
sold them in Chicago at fair prices. While they are salable, 
only in certain sections where the natural product cannot be 
easily obtained, and are, therefore, not very staple. I, from 
our experience, believe it to be a profitable industry." 

John T. Burnside, Manager. 

DRYING SWEET POTATOES. 

Upon this subject the author can write with only a limited 
experience. The author has dried them successfully in the 



10 SWEET POTATO CULTURE FOR PROFIT. 



sun when they presented somewhat the appearance of dried 
fruit. 

Dried potatoes were among the Japan exhil)it at the 
WorkFs Fair. Their method of preparing them is stated as 
follows: "Cleanly washed potatoes are placed in a suitable 
basket and immersed in boiling water for a short time: when 
taken out of the basket, they are cut into thin slices and 
spread over mats and exposed to the sun for two or three days. 
In order to make a superior quality, the skin of the potato is 
peeled off before slicing." 

Instances have been reported wherein the dried product 
was successfully ground into flour. How useful the vegetable 
may become in these lines, remains to be seen, but it seems 
safe to conclude now, that evaporation would l)e important in 
preserving the vegetable for stock food, at least, and also 
for shipping it long distances. 

FOOD FOR STOCK. 

It is not always convenient and advisable to ship sweet 
potatoes, and the question how to profitably dispose of a large 
crop may frequently come to the grower. In many cases 
there may be no better way than to feed the tubers to stock. 
They have been successfully fed to hogs, cattle, horses and 
poultry. Perhaps it pays better to feed the tubers to hogs, 
because they can do their own harvesting. For other animals 
the tubers should be sliced, and it is frequently the practice 
to boil them. At first there is some danger of producing 
colic if fed in large quantities. 

By reference to table No. 3, we find that 100 pounds of 
sweet potato tul)ers contain 69.00 to 70.27 pounds of water, 
1.14 to 1.15 pounds of ash, 2.08 to 2.41 pounds of protein, 
(so called flesh formers, the most costly of food constituents), 
.99 to 1.00 pounds of fat, 24.00 to 24.23 pounds nitrogen free 
extract ^starch, sugar, gums, etc.), and 1.26 to 2.62 pounds of 
fil)er. However, a clearer conception of the food value of 
sweet potatoes may be obtained by comparing the composition 
of the tubei's with that of corn. 

TABLE VI. RELATIVE FOOD VALUES OF CORN AND SWEET POTATOES 

Nitrogen 
Dry Matter 
lbs 

100 pounds corn contain 89.1 

300 pounds sweet potatoes contain*. . . . 87.9 

•Analysis Texas Experiment station. 



Protein 


free 


extract 


lbs 




lbs 


10.5 




75.0 


7.2 




72.0 



SWEET POTATO CULTURE FOR PROFIT. 11 



From the previous table we see that three pounds of sweet 
potatoes contain nearly as much dry matter, about two-thirds 
as much protein, and about as much carbonaceous material as 
is contained in one pound of corn. One-half pound of cotton 
seed meal or one pound of cowpeas(seed) to 10 pounds of sweet 
potatoes will fully supply the deticiency in protein. There 
are many acres of land that produce only 40 bushels of corn 
per acre, which if they were planted to sweet potatoes would 
produce 200 l)ushels, as the yield is often 5 to 8 times greater. 
The value from a food standpoint, leaving out the vines, is 
two-thirds greater than that of forty Imshels of corn. 

VALUE OF THE VINES AND TOPS. 

Farmers usually allow the tops to decay on the ground. 
In this w^ay a considerable percent, of the fertilizing materials 
is returned to the soil. This practice will also furnish some 
of the necessary humus, which is often lacking in the cotton 
fields of the South. On the other hand, the tops and vines 
make a very important food for stock, and especially dairy 
cattle. This is quite an important item during very dry 
seasons when pasturage is scorched and killed by drouth. 
When the ground is dry, stock may be turned on in the fall to 
harvest the vines and tops, and will not injure the tubers. It 
is best to feed the vines and tops while green as they do not 
cure well and are said to become slimy in the silo. Short, 
stubby vines of the Vineless variety throw up heavy and long 
peduncles, which bear a large mass of foliage. This foliage 
can be easily cut with a scythe, and, if the ground be nearly 
level, with a mower; thus leaving the short gritty runners on 
the ground. The writer has grown over 300 bushels of this 
variety per acre, and intended to cut the tops with a mower, 
but the frost got in its work first. However, it could have 
been easily done. The Vineless variety mentioned will be 
discussed further in another chapter. The yield in pounds of 
vines and tops per acre is about twice that of the tubers, in 
Southern latitudes, but does not appear to be so much in 
Northern latitudes. 

Green, succulent vines were taken from the field in 
Octobei-, 1893, and were analyzed at the Texas Station, the 
results of which analysis are given in the following table : 



12 SWEET POTATO CULTURE FOR PROFIT. 

TABLE VII. COMPOSITION OF VINES AND TOPS. 

Water 84.720 

Ash Content 2.735 

Protein 2.420 

Crude Fibre 2.320 

N. fr. Ext 7.215 

COST OF PRODUCTION AND PROFITS. 

Upon this subject I cannot do better than quote from a 
bulletin issued by the United States Department of Agricul- 
ture, 1895 : 

"Sweet potato growers in a number of states furnished 
the data used below in estimating the cost of growing sweet 
potatoes. Neither rent, cost of fertilizers, nor cost of ship- 
ping are included in the following statements. 

"Averaging the returns of several experienced growers in 
New Jersey, we have the following figures, which may be 
taken as representative of the cost (less fertilizers and rent), 
of growing an acre of sweet potatoes in New Jersey, Delaware 
and the tide-water counties of Virginia: Sets grown or pur- 
chased, $5; preparation of the soil, $1.97; transplanting (with 
wooden tongs), $2.12; horse cultivation, $1.62; hoeing and 
other hand work, $3.75; harvesting, $6.50; total, $20.96. To 
this, in addition to rent or interest, must be added $10 to $40 
per acre for fertilizers or stable manure. 

"The following figures are averages from six statements 
selected from among those sent in by growers in the Southern 
States, and give the cost of cultivating an acre: Seed pota- 
toes for sets or vine cuttings, $1.98; preparation of the soil, 
$2.79; transplanting sets or cuttings, $2.91; horse cultivation, 
$1.87; hoeing and other hand work, $1.62; harvesting, $5.66; 
total, $16.83. The figures used in making up these latter 
averages vary between the following limits: Seed potatoes, 
$1.25 to $4.75; preparation of land, $1.25 to $4.50; trans- 
planting, $1 (doubtless for vine cuttings) to $6; horse cultiva- 
tion, $1 to $3; hoeing, etc., 50 cents to $3.50, and harvesting, 
$3 to $8. 

"Numerous other estimates of the cost of growing an acre 
of sweet potatoes in the Southern States approximate closely 
to $16.83 and confirm the correctness of this figure. Returns 
from this section of the country indicate that this crop is too 
frequently left without manuring. 



SWEET POTATO CULTURE FOR PROFIT. 13 

"As regards costs per bushel, an Arkansas horticulturist 
who grows sweet potatoes on a large scale, places the cost of 
a bushel of sweet potatoes in the ground at 4.^2 to 11 '2 cents 
when the yield is 150 to 300 bushels per acre; digging and 
storing cost him 2 ^2 to 3 >2 cents, making a total cost of 7 to 
15 cents per bushel in the cellar. From Illinois and from 
Georgia come statements that 20 cents is the cost of growing 
and harvesting a bushel. 

"When we come to consider selling price and profits, we 
find difficulty in generalizing, on account of the wide fluctua- 
tions to which the price of this vegetable is subject in the 
large cities, and to the fact that over a great extent of coun- 
try there is practically no market, except for small quan- 
tities. 

The principal markets for Eastern growers are New York, 
Baltimore, Philadelphia, Boston, and Providence, and in spite 
of wide fluctuation in price, the sweet potato crop is usually 
profitable in localities favored with cheap transportation 
facilities to these cities. During the period from July 15 to 
August 15 there is only a limited supply of sweet potatoes in 
Northern markets, and potatoes of good quality find a ready 
sale at relatively high prices. The sweet potato is a profitable 
crop where local sales can be effected. In localities remote 
from markets the profit in groNving this crop on a large scale 
must come from converting sweet potatoes into pork or other 
valuable animal product. As a partial substitute for corn in 
the food of hogs the sweet potato should be extensively used 
in localities where, on account of poor, sandy soil, corn does 
not give large yields." 



CHAPTER IV. 

Climatic Influence. 

The sweet potato reaches its highest development in 
Southern climates. While this is true, it will mature a crop 
in the greater part of the temperate zone. In warm, sandy 
loam soils and with earlier varieties which are now coming 
into cultivation, it seems that the latitude in which it is now 
profitably grown can be much extended. As an instance, 
Maine is credited in the census report of 1890 withl 267 
bushels. 



14 SWEET POTATO CULTURE FOR PROFIT. 



At the Experiment Station of Geneva, New York, the 
estimated yield of Southern Queen was 292 bushels per acre, 
and the estimated yield of Spanish Red was 383 bushels per 
acre. 

In some parts of New Jersey, growing the sweet potato is 
quite profitable. The report of the New Jersey Station for 
1891 contains the following: "The raising of sweet potatoes 
is an important industry in the State, though few are raised 
north of Monmouth County. The chief shipping centers are 
Swedesboro, in Gloucester County, and Vineland, in Cumber- 
land County. In Gloucester County, and especially about 
Swedesboro, it is estimated that one-fifth of the cultiva])le 
area is given to this crop. In those sections great skill has 
been acquired in growing large crops of excellent cpiality; the 
market reports now quote New Jersey Sweets at higher prices 
than those grown in other sections. * * * When grown in 
hills, 220 bushels of large potatoes per acre is considered a 
good yield: when grown in drills 250 bushels per acre is 
nearer the average; 300 bushels per acre is a good crop, 
though larger yields are frequently obtained." 

In all the Southern States, and in many of the Western 
States, the sweet potato grows to perfection, even during dry 
seasons when many other crops fail. This drouth resisting 
quality of the sweet potato is due mainly to the roots going 
down into the soil so deep. The number of bushels grown in 
the states is shown in table 1. 



CHAPTER V. 

Influence of Soil on Quality of the Potato. The 
Best Soil for Potatoes. Preparation of Soils. 

The character of the soil has very much to do with the 
quality of the sweet potato. When grown on a damp clay 
soil the per cent, of starch seems lower, and the table quality 
is not the best. Such a soil makes the tubers rough and 
uneven. Dirt adheres to them and greatly injures the appear- 
ance. Neither do they keep so well when grown on such a 
soil. This difference of the tubers, however, is not so im- 
portant when it is intended to feed them to stock as it is 
when they are intended for table use. 



SWEET POTATO CULTURE FOR PROFIT. 15 



Sweet potatoes reach their highest development on a well 
drained, sandy loam soil. Light, warm, slaty soil will often 
grow good sweet potatoes. Not much moisture is needed 
after the plants are well started if the ground is in good con- 
dition. The Pumpkin variety, which, to my taste, is the best 
ta))le variety when grown on a light, sandy loam soil, yet, I 
have grown it on a damp clay soil when the table quality was 
so poor one would not recognize it as being the same variety, 
liccently cleared land usually grows potatoes of good quality. 

PREPARATION OF THE SOIL. 

Sod land is not desirable because it cannot be worked so 
well, and cut worms are very troublesome. If it is used, it is 
often best to plow it in the fall so that the sod will rot. The 
soil should 1)6 in tine tilth. If it has been in some hoed crop 
like cabbage, it is better. Sweet potatoes may also follow 
corn. If the land has been in corn or cotton a few years, it 
would often be best to sow clover or cowpeas on it and turn 
them under to enrich it and add vegetable matter to it, which 
has been exhausted. Wherever crimson clover will grow suc- 
cessfully it may be sown, frequently during August in the 
corn, and be turned under the following April or May in time 
for a sweet potato crop. 

It is claimed by some growers that in order to obtain the 
short, well-rounded tubers, which sell best in the market, the 
ground should not be broken over three or four inches deep. 
Our experience does not accord with this. The best potatoes 
I have grown were produced on land which was plowed eight 
inches deep, once in the fall and once in the spring (though it 
should be stated the land was rather stiff). During very dry sea- 
sons I have seen roots which had gone down a great distance 
after moisture through a very hard subsoil and were enlarged 
about one inch in diameter to two and three feet, thus forming 
no regular tuber at all. In my experience, the shape of the 
tuber depends very much upon the season, the dryer the 
season the longer the tuber. 

Preparation of the soil will depend somewhat upon its 
drainage and upon the kind of machinery to be used in trans- 
planting. Transplanting machinery will be discussed in an- 
other chapter. If the soil is low and is inclined to be damp^it 



16 SWEET POTATO CULTURE FOR PROFIT. 

is best to plant in ridges. If ridges are used they should be 
thrown up with a turning plow, three feet apart after the 
ground has been well prepared by plowing and harrowing. 
For many varieties grown in the South, four feet is better. 
A plank drag is a good thing to even these ridges just before 
setting time, and level them down to four or six inches of the 
surface of the ground. Level and ridge culture are discussed 
on page No. 31. 

CHAPTER VI. 

Manures. Analysis of Potatoes Showing Ferti- 
lizing Ingredients. Cinemical Fertilizers. 
Profits in their use. Formulas 
for using. 

No one fertilizer can be safely recommended as the best 
for a crop on all soils, because soils vary in composition. 
Some are poor in nitrogen, some in potash, and some in phos- 
phoric acid. Chemical analysis of a soil, while often very 
important, is not an infallible guide to the fertility of a soil, 
because some of the fertilizing ingredients shown to exist in 
the soil by chemical analysis, may be only partially available 
to the plant. If all the soils were alike, analysis of the vines 
and tubers would, perhaps, afford the best basis upon which 
to compound a profitable fertilizer, and which could be 
widely recommended. Since the composition of the sweet 
potato varies less than the composition of soils, analysis of 
the potato would seem to afford the more rational basis of the 
two, but the only sure way to find out the amount of certain 
fertilizers which can be advantageously applied to a given soil 
for a particular crop is to experiment. Chemical analyses 
point out the lines in which the best results are most likely to 
be obtained. Each farm should, in a certain sense, be an 
experiment station, and the owner, the director, the soil his 
laboratory and the plants his chemists. From analysis of all 
parts of the sweet potato taken as a basis, the individual can 
compound a fertilizer of his own and experiment to find out 
the need of his soil for this particular crop. It may be stated, 
however, that a complete fertilizer, containing nitrogen, phos- 
phoric acid and potash, is safer to use until experience has 



SWEET POTATO CULTURE FOR PROFIT. 17 

shown that one or two of these may be left out or used in less 
quantity. 

The roots and vines which grew on a highly fertilized 
field near Washington, D. C, were collected from a large plot 
and weighed. The roots averaged 17,898 pounds per acre, or 
about 350 bushels. Fresh vines completely covered the 
ground when cut, October 1st, 1894, and they weighed 10,374 
pounds per acre. Vines of many of the stronger growing 
varieties will weigh much more in many of the Southern 
States. Vines and roots from several varieties have been col- 
lected by the author at College Station, Texas, where they 
had grown upon good soil, and in every instance the vines 
weighed twice as much as the roots and sometimes more. 
However, as there is no very great difference in chemical com- 
position of vines and roots, except that the vines contain 
about 10 per cent, more water, the results obtained at Wash- 
ington w^ill be taken as the average. 

Fresh vines referred to were analyzed at Washington and 
proved to contain the following: Water 83.06 per cent., 
nitrogen, 0.42; phosphoric acid, 0.07; potash, 0.73; lime, 
0.44; total ash, 2.45. 

Fresh sweet potato roots were analyzed at the New Jersey 
Experiment Station, and were found to contain the following: 
nitrogen, 0.23 per cent. ; phosphoric acid, 0.10; potash, 0.51. 

From Farmer's Bulletin No. 26, United States Depart- 
ment of Agriculture, the following information is taken con- 
cerning fertilizers needed for the sweet potato : 

"If we assume 10,000 pounds of roots (equivalent to 185 
bushels) and 8,000 pounds of vines per acre as a fair yield, 
we have the following figures showing the amounts of ferti- 
lizing ingredients contained in roots and vines of a crop of 
this size: 

TABLE VII. FERTILIZING INGREDIENTS IN ROOTS AND VINES 

OF SWEET POTATOES GROWN ON ONE ACRE. 

In roots 
In roots In vines and vines 
lbs lbs lbs 

Nitrogen 23 34 57 

Phosphoric acid 10 6 16 

Potash 50 58 108 

"Much more potash than nitrogen and much more nitrogen 
than phosphoric acid is appropriated by the sweet potato, and 



18 



SWEET POTATO CULTURE FOR PROFIT. 



this is true whether we look only at the roots, the part always 
removed from the soil, or at the entire growth of roots and 
vines. 

"vVssuming that sweet potato vines are left on the land, 
and that wheat straw is finally returned to the soil from 
whence it came, we liiid that 185 bushels of sweet potato roots 
remove practically as much nitrogen and phosphoric acid and 
more than seven times as much potash as 20 bushels of wheat. 

"The amounts of nitrogen, available phosphoric acid, and 
potash contained in a sweet potato crop of 185 bushels of 
roots and 8,000 pounds of vines would be supplied by the fol- 
lowing amounts of commercial fertilizers: 

TABLE VIIl. COMPARISON OF FERTILIZERS. 



57 pounds nitrogen in — 



363 pounds nitrate of soda, or 
542 pounds dried blood, or 
803 pounds cotton-seed meal, or 
11,600 pounds barnyard manure 



16 pounds* available phos- 
phoric acid in — 



96 pounds dissolved bone- 
black, or 
138 pounds superphosphatef 



108 pounds potash in — 



210 pounds muriate of potash, or 
320 lbs sulphate of potash, or 
793 pounds kainit, or 
475 pounds cotton-hull ashes 



*According to an analysis made at the Texas Experiment Station about 25 pounds of 
phosphoric acid, i e, 150 pounds of dissolved bone, or 215 pounds superphosphate, is required. 

fCalled also acid phosphate and dissolved South Carolina rock, and containing 11 6 per 
cent available phosphoric acid 

It may be considered sufficient in some cases to apply only 
tiic quantity of fertilizing material that is removed by the 
roots of the sweet potato, the vines being left on the ground. 
Ten thousand pounds of sweet potato roots contain fertilizing 
ingredients equal to those found in the kinds and iunounts or 
fertilizers given below: 



TABLE IX. 



FERTILIZING INGREDIENTS IN DIFFERENT FORMS. 



23 pounds nitrogen in- 



146 pounds nitrate of soda, or 
2i8 pounds dried blood,* or 
324 pounds cotton seed mealf. or 
4,694 pounds barnyard manure§ 



10 pounds available phos- 
phoric acid in — 



60 pounds dissolved bone 

black or 
86 pounds superphosphate 



50 pounds potash in- 



97 pounds muriate of potash, or 
150 lbs sulphate of potash, or 
367 pounds kainit. or 
220 lbs cotton hull ashesll 



♦Containing also about 4 pounds phosphoric acid 

tContaining also about 10 pounds phosphoric acid and 6 pounds of potash 
JContaining also about 15 pounds phosphoric acid and 20 pounds of potash 
llContaining also about 17 pounds of available phosphoric acid 

A large per cent, of vegetable matter is required in a sf)il 
to grow the best crop of sweet potatoes, and often chemical 



SWEET POTATO CUF.TURE FOR PROFIT. 19 



fertilizers will not give their best results when this vegetable 
matter is lacking. Truck farmers frequently apply large 
quantities of woods earth, composted pine needles and other 
vegetable material with beneficial results. By plowing under 
such leguminous plants as clovers and cowpeas, this vegetable 
matter is easily secured to the soil, and in addition that most 
costly of fertilizers, nitrogen, which such plants bring from 
the atmosphere in an available form for plant food. Wher- 
ever crimson clover will grow successfully, for instance, it 
may be sown in the corn fields late in summer and be turned 
under the following May, and the soil be prepared at once for 
sweet potatoes. Lime will be found beneficial in some in- 
stances where the soil is heavy. 

DOES THE FORM OF NITROGEN USED IN CHEMICAL MANURES 
INFLUENCE THE GROWTH OF SWEET POTATOES? 

While as much as 57 pounds of nitrogen is found in 185 
bushels of sweet potatoes, including vines, yet heav}* applica- 
tions of nitrogenous mineral fertilizers do not seem to be 
required for this vegetable in the extreme Southern States. 
In some instances where heavy applications of nitrate of soda 
have been used in the Southern States, the results were injur- 
ious. During 1894 the writer applied at the rate of 460 
pounds sodium nitrate per acre on five different plots, by 
itself, with sulphate of potash, with muriate of potash, with 
bone black, and with all three combined, and in each instance 
the yield of potatoes was lowered below the average of three 
other check plots with no fertilizer, and in all others, except 
in the one instance where bone black was used. Perhaps this 
may be accounted for by the fact that the sweet potato having 
a long period of growth, and during hot months when nitrifi- 
cation is active in soils containing a large per cent, of vege- 
table matter. It might also have been due to the fact that 
nitrogen in this mineral form is not the best for the sweet 
potato. The same negative results were also obtained by the 
writer when nitrogen in this form was used at the Texas Sta- 
tion upon irish potatoes. 

At New Jersey Station, "organic forms of nitrogen, as 
dried blood, are more desirable than nitrate of soda." How- 
ever, experiments conducted there later were more favorable 
for nitrate of soda. 



20 SWEET POTATO CCJLTURE FOR PROFIT. 

At the Georgia Station, "cotton seed meal is preferable 
to nitrate of soda as a source of nitrogen." So far cotton 
seed meal has proved better than nitrate of soda as a source 
of nitrogen with the writer. 

From fourth annual report of New Jersey Station, 1893, 
the following is taken: 

TABLE X. PROFITS FROM DIFFERENT FERTILIZERS. 

Cost of Net value of Net Net Gain, Average for 

Fertilizer crop per acre gain 1892 two years 

Unfertilized $113 33 

Minerals alone $7 70 141 01 $30 68 $25 31 $28 00 

with nitrate 12 34 139 70 26 37 23 30 24 84 

" " blood 13 34 US 71 5 38 35 14 20 26 

"The net gain from minerals alone is $30.68 per acre. 
The net gain from minerals with nitrate is $26.37 per acre, or 
a difference in favor of minerals alone of $4.31 per acre. The 
nitrogen costs $4.64 per acre, hence, while there was a slight 
increase in yield from its use, it was not sufficient to pay the 
extra cost. This result is in accord with that of 1892. 

"The use of dried blood in connection with minerals 
resulted in a lower yield than was secured from the minerals 
alone, and consequently a much decreased net gain. This 
effect of dried blood is the reverse of that shown in a similar 
experiment in 1892 and others in 1891, which showed an 
increased yield from nitrogen, and that organic forms, as 
dried blood, were more useful than the nitrate of soda. 

ARE COMBINATIONS OF CHEMICAL AND HORSE MANURES MORE 
PROFITABLE THAN HORSE MANURE ALONE? 

This method of manuring is highly regarded by some of 
the best growers, because it admits of securing the advantages 
that may be derived from the mechanical and biological proper- 
ties of the horse manure and from the greater solubility of 
the chemical manures. Plot 7 received one-half as much, and 
plot 13 the same amounts of manure and chemicals as were 
used when each was applied singly. The result stands as 
follows : 

"table XI. VALUE OF CROP FROM DIFFERENT FERTILIZERS. 

Average 
net gain 
Net value or loss 

Cost of of crop Net gain Net gain for two 

fertilizer per acre or loss 1892 years 

Unfertilized $113 33 

Manure and chemicals,one-half $26 17 118 69 $ 5 36 $14 68 $20 02 

" " whole.. 52 34 92 43 —20 90 16 02 —2 44 

Manure alone 40 00 106 76 —6 57 4 57 —100" 



SWEET POTATO CULTURE FOR PROFIT. 21 



"The only net gain was secured from the combination of 
small quantities of the manure and chemicals ; this gain was 
but $5.36 per acre. Twenty tons of manure per acre, both 
alone and in combination, with full quantities of minerals, 
though increasing the yield, resulted in a considerable loss." 

PHOSPHORIC ACID. 

Applications of phosphoric acid to the sweet potato crop 
have been profitable in most instances. Since it is one of the 
necessary elements in a complete fertilizer, and 16 to 25 
pounds are found in a normal crop grown on an acre, it could 
not be left out when the fertilizers are to be applied to soils 
deficient in this element, as is the case with most Southern 
clayey soils. The writer has found it decidedly profitable on 
such soils. 

Since the phosphates, when first applied to the soil^ 
largely enter into forms in which they are not immediately 
available as plant food, larger quantities should be used than 
are necessary for the immediate crop. Ph< sphoric acid may 
be purchased in the form of dissolved boneblack, acid phos- 
phate (superphosphate), floats, slag and some other forms. 
While floats and slag contain larger amounts of phosphoric 
acid than bone black and superphosphate, yet, in this form 
the phosphoric acid is more insoluble and consequently acts 
more slowly on plant life. 

POTASH. 

Potash is the most important fertilizer for sweet potatoes. 
This is reasonable, since a normal crop contains 108 pounds 
per acre, and sandy loam soils upon which the vegetable 
grows best are deficient, usually, in this element. 

Potash in the form of muriate proved best at New Jersey 
Station, kanit at Georgia Station, and sulphate at Texas 
Station. It seems that further work is necessary to demon- 
strate more fully which form is the best for most soils. 
Kanit, which is a low grade fertilizer, can be bought cheaply 
near seaport cities, and at such places it is apt to prove the 
most profitable form to use. 

HORSE MANURE, OR BARNTARD MANURE. 

One advantage that horse or barnyard manure has over 
chemical fertilizers is that the results are seen for a loifger 



22 



SWEET POTATO CULTURE FOR PROFIT. 



time after the a})plication to the soil. None of this material 
which is produced on the farm should be allowed to go to 
waste. It is decidedly better to haul it at once directly froui 
the barn to the fields, than it is to let it be exposed to leech- 
ing rains and then haul it out once a year. Perhaps a better 
way to use it for the sweet potato crop is to first compost it so 
that it will be well rotted when applied to the soil in the 
spring. In doing this it is a good idea to keep the compost 
covered with al)out two inches of clay dirt or with some 
plaster (gypsum) to prevent the escape of nitrogen. After it 
becomes wet and heated, it should be turned. It should be 
turned two or three times at intervals of about two weeks, so 
as to hasten its rotting. Apply it broadcast at the rate of 10 
or 20 tons per acre, according to the fertility of the soil. 

HOW^ THE FARMER MAY PREPARE HIS OWN FERTILIZER. 

By reference to table 9, it will be seen at a glance the 
amount of material a normal crop of sweet potatoes take from 
the soil. It will often pay to buy the ingredients and mix the 
fertilizers on the farm during winter months when other work 
is not pressing. They should l)e well pulverized and mixed 
thoroughly. 

In the following table are formulas which have given 
good results at some of the experiment stations: 

TABLE XII. FERTILIZER FORMULAS FOR SWEET POTATOES. 



Kind and amonnt of fertilizer per acre 



Nitrogen 



150 pounds of nitrate of soda 
350 pounds superphosphate . . 
150 pounds muriate of potash 



285 pounds dried blood 

320 pounds boneblack 

160 pounds muriate of potash 



III. 

100 pounds nitrate of silver . 

160 pounds boneblack 

80 pounds sulphate of potash. 
10 tons barnyard manure 



IV. 

360 pounds cotton-seed meal 
320 pounds superphosphate . . 
640 pounds kainit 



Pounds 



Available 

pho.s- 

phoric 

acid 



Pounds 
41 



t27 



t43 



Potash 



Pounds 



*The manure supplies gS pounds of nitrogen, the nitrate of soda only i6 pounds, 
fin addition to 64 pounds of phosphoric acid in stable manure. 
}In addition to 11 paundi of phosphoric acid in cotton-seed meal. 



SWEET POTATO CULTURE FOR PROFIT. 23 

The above fonnulas, which are taken from Farmer's 
Bulletin previously referred to^ are for complete fertilizers 
and are intended for rather poor soils deficient in nitrogen, 
phosphoric acid and potash. The quantities mentioned in the 
fornudas will be found rather large for most soils, and the 
farmer himself must find out by experimenting how much or 
what fertilizers pay best on a given soil. In the Southern 
States where cotton seed meal and cotton seed hull ashes may 
be easily obtained, a good fertilizer for an acre may be made 
by mixing 300 pounds cotton seed meal with 200 pounds cot- 
ton seed hull ashes. If fertilizers in this form are used, they 
should be applied to the soil some time before the crop is 
planted, so that the fertilizing ingredients in these organic 
forms will become available when the young plants most need 
them. 



CHAPTER VII. 

Propagration of the Sweet Potato. The Best 
Tubers for Seed. The Plant Bed. 

The sweet potato may be propagated in four ways: by 
seed, by pieces of tubers, by slips or draws, and by vine cut- 
tings. As the sweet potato rarely matures seed in the United 
States, propagation in this way is impracticable. The hall 
variety is said to have come up among some morning glory 
seed planted by a lady. This is one way in which new varie- 
ties may be started, but it is not the only way. Sweet pota- 
toes, like some other plants, produce "sports." If the seed 
of the sweet potato were abundant it would be impracticable 
to grow a crop from them because the tubers would be few 
and small from them the first year, owing to the very 
small size of the seed. No one attempts to grow a general 
crop of irish potatoes from the seed borne in the small, round 
balls on top of the vines. They are grown almost exclusively 
from the tubers. This is one of the main reasons why the 
irish potato has lost the power of growing much seed. The 
same reasons may answer in part for the non-seed producing 
habit of the sweet potato. It should be stated, however, that 
in warm climates near the equator much more seed is pro- 
duced. 



24 SWEET POTATO CULTURE FOR PROFIT. 



PROPAGATION BY PIECES OF THE TUBER. 

The sweet potato can be grown from pieces of the tuber, 
just the same as the irish potato is grown. But, as the sweet 
potato is more susceptible to injury from cold, damp weather, 
the tubers will usually rot before sprouting if planted in 
northern latitudes. After testing this method, I feel confi- 
dent that it can be used more extensively, with profit, in warm 
climates where cold, damj) weather is not so apt to prevail for 
any great length of time during spring. The tubers should 
not be put into the ground until it is time to plant melons. 
Tubers should be cut transversely into about one ounce 
pieces. This method is rather costly as it would take as 
many bushels of sweet potatoes to plant an acre, as it would 
irish potatoes when they are cut to two eye pieces. It will 
take the tubers from two to four weeks to throw up sprouts, 
owing to the condition of the weather. 

PROPAGATION BY SLIPS, DRAWS OR SETS. 

We mean by slips, draws or sets, shoots which come from 
the roots that are planted in hot beds. The word "slip" we 
prefer to use, as it seems the most fitting. This method of 
propagation is the one most commonly used. It is about the 
only one for northern latitudes. There are various ways of 
starting the plants, which will now be mentioned. 

THE PLANT BED. 

The simplest form of plant bed which may be used in the 
warmer climates, consists in selecting a warm, well drained 
and sheltered place; dig up the soil carefully, place the tubers 
on it, cover them two inches with rich loam soil and keep 
moist. It takes the slips some time to come in this way with- 
out bottom heat. The kind of bed used will depend upon the 
climate and on the degree of forcing required. 

The method most frequently used in furnishing bottom 
heat is that of using fermenting manure. In using this 
method, select a location well drained and protected from the 
northern winds. Dig a pit 12 to 18 inches deep, six feet wide 
and as long as desired. Drive stakes down in each of the four 
corners and along the sides of the pit, to which nail plank 
along the sides of the pit to keep the dirt from falling down, 



SWEET POTATO CULTURE FOR PROFIT. 25 

and to prevent mice and moles getting in. The stakes must 
project above ground so that plank may be nailed to them on 
the outside above the ground. These planks should be twelve 
inches wide on the north side and six inches wide on the south 
side. Pile dirt up around these outside planks to keep out 
cold. The pit is now ready for the manure. Before putting 
this in, a layer of leaves or straw three or four inches deep, 
should be spread over the bottom of the pit to help keep in 
the heat. Fresh stable manure from the horse is best because 
it reaches a higher degree of heat. The amount required 
depends upon the climate. For the Gulf States, a layer of 
three or four inches thick is enough, Avhile for the New 
England States, the layer should be eight or ten inches thick. 
After the manure is put in it should be tramped down and 
slightly watered if not already wet enough. In good manure 
the heat will reach 100 degrees Farenheit ; in three or four 
days I have known it to go as high as 140 degrees. At the 
end of three or four days the manure should be turned over 
with a fork so as to make the fermentation even all over, 
tramp it down again and water if not wet enough. If the 
temperature should run very high it can be kept down by wat- 
ering. If made too wet, fermentation may be almost entirely 
checked. To use the proper amount, therefore, requires 
some experience and judgment. When the temperature 
comes down to 85 degrees, dirt can be put on and the potatoes be 
planted. Rich, loose, sandy loam soil is best. Woods earth is 
very good. Put on a layer of about three inches. Place the 
tubers on this dirt about one-half inch apart. Cover with 
three inches of sand, good garden soil will do. For top cov- 
ering of the hot bed various things are used, such as sash, 
boards, cloth, straw and leaves. A layer of six inches of 
straw or leaves is often used until the plants grow three or 
four inches high, when the cover should be removed during 
the day, if not too cold. The main objection to this open bed 
is that rain may soak the bed and chill the tubers. A layer of 
leaves covered over with plank is better, provided some are 
left off during the day to give ventilation. Sash are best 
because they keep in the heat and do not obstruct the sun- 
light, but they are more costly and require closer attention as 
to ventilation and watering. 



26 SWEET POTATO CULTTRE FOR PROFIT. 



It should be stated here that in the extreme Southern 
States, horses frequently are not stalled and stable manure is 
scarce. As a substitute, a layer of about four inches of cotton 
seed is used instead of manure, cotton seed hulls are also 
sometimes used, but the heat generated by them is slight. 

FIRE BEDS. 

In the more northern latitudes, where growing the plants 
is a regular business, perhaps some form of fire bed is best. 
These beds vary much with the nuiterial used, and in the 
manner of construction. There are two main classes, the hol- 
low bed and the tile bed, 

A successful New Jersey sweet potato grower descril)ed 
his method of growing plants in this way in the Rural Neic 
Yorker, as follows : 

"My bed is made by scooping out a space 12 feet wide by 
50 feet long, to the depth of one foot. At one end is built a 
brick furnace two feet high, two feet wide and three feet 
long. The top of the furnace is arched, and on a level with 
the bottom of the pit. A hole must be dug in front of the 
furnace for an entrance. Two flues are laid from the furnace 
to within three feet of the opposite end. They should rise a 
little — four or five inches in the whole distance will be enough. 
They may be made of six inch drain tile, terra cotta pipe, or 
brick, whichever is the cheaper; I make them of brick. The 
ground is made perfectly smooth and firm, and two rows of 
brick set on edge six inches apart, for each flue. The top is 
covered with brick laid crosswise, all joints made Avith mortar. 

Eighteen inches from the bottom of the pit, is the floor. 
I use cedar rails from three to four inches in diameter. Three 
strong pieces are laid on blocks or posts at the required height, 
the full length of the bed, one in the middle and one at each 
side. The rails are cut 12 feet long, and laid crosswise. The 
sides are made of inch boards, and should be 20 inches high 
above the floor. They are nailed to stakes driven in the 
ground, and are banked clear to the top with the earth thrown 
out of the pit. The smoke-stack is built over the furnace, 
but has no direct communication with it. There is an open- 
ing into it from the space under the floor. This arrangement 
insures a good draft at all times. As soon as a tire is started 
in the furnace, the air in the stack is heated, and begins to 



SWEET POTATO CULTURE FOR PROFIT. 



27 



rise at once, drawing a fresh supply from the space under the 
floor. This creates a vacuum which is filled by the smoke and 
heat from the flues. Some beds made on this plan, have tho 
flues go only half the length of the bed, with the smokestack 
at the opposite end from the furnace. I like the former plan 
better, for the reason that a good draft is assured, all the heat 
is utilized, the furnace may be smaller, and less fuel is 
required." 

In Farmer's Bulletin No. 26, of U. S. Department of 
Agriculture, the following method is given: 

"The flues have a slight grade and terminate in a chimney 
directly over the furnace. The four-inch space between the 
double wooden walls which inclose the hot-air space below 
the bed, is filled with sawdust. The two by four-inch studs 
of this wall, which support the bed, are three feet long. 
Earth is heaped against the walls on the outside." 




Fig. 4. Sweet-potato bed, with furnace and flues. 
F, furnace;f f f, flue; c, chimney. The arrows indicate the direction of liot air current. 

WHEN TO BED OUT THE TUBERS. 

When to bed out the tubers depends upon the location, 
the season, and the amount of bottom heat used. Under 
ordinary circumstances, slips may be grown from four to six 
weeks after bedding the tubers. Slips are ready for setting 
out in the field when they are about five inches high above 
the ground. Before they are set, they must be sufliciently 
"hardened off" by leaving the bed open frequently and letting 
the plants be gradually exposed to the atmosphere. It is 
sometimes the practice when plants are large enough to set 
before it is time for them to go out, to detach them from the 
roots and "heel them in" at some protected place. This must 
be done with care or the plants will rot if crowded together 
when in a rather moist condition. From three to four "draw- 
ings" can be made from one bed. After the drawings, the 
roots may be taken out of the bed and fed to hogs. 



28 SWEET POTATO CULTURE FOR PROFIT. 

At the following dates, plants are usually set out: Jack- 
sonville, Fla., March 20 to April 1"; other Southern States 
such as Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Arkansas and Texas, 
April 1 to 25, and southern part of New Jersey they can be 
set from May 1 to 15. It must be remembered, however, that 
plants can be set much later than the above mentioned dates, 
and will produce a good crop. Most varieties will not produce 
tubers tit to be dug before 90 days, though I have grown a 
good crop of the "Gen. Grant" variety in 75 days from vine 
cuttings when the season was good. When the tubers are 
dug so early in their sappy, half-matured state, it must not be 
expected that they will ship very far. 

KIND OF SWEET POTATOES FOR SEED. 

Tubers to grow slips from are used from the size of a 
cigar up to several pounds. Large potatoes take less space 
per bushel than small potatoes. A bushel of large potatoes 
will require about fifteen square feet; a bushel of medium size 
potatoes will require about twenty square feet; a bushel of 




Fig. 5. Best tuber for seed. 

small ones, about twenty-five square feet. The amount of 
potatoes to grow sets from is hard to estimate, because of the 
conditions of the bed and the number of plants per acre, vary 
indifferent localities all the way from 5,000 to 10,000. Med- 
ium size potatoes will produce from 2,000 to 3,000 plants per 
bushel in two drawings. There is a great lack of definiteness 
in reference to the size of tubers. From definite experiments I 
have found that tubers the size of a cigar will produce com- 



SWEET POTATO CULTURE FOR PROFIT. 29 

paratively few slips, while those which are very large d to 5 
pounds) will not produce as many slips ]3er bushel as those 
from one inch to an inch and a half in diameter. The best 
size we have found is shown in figure Xo. 5 made by the Rural 
Neic Yorker to illustrate the best size used by a successful 
grower in New Jersey. 

The sweet potato is sometimes compared with the irish 
potato, and it is, therefore, claimed that slips from small tubers 
will not grow as large a crop as slips from large tubers will. 
This comparison is wrong as will be seen upon a moment's 
reflection. In the case of the irish potato, a part of the tuber 
is cut off and remains in the soil from which the vine con- 
tinues to draw some of its nourishment. Slips are taken from 
the sweet potato while the tubers remain in the bed, and they 
have an independent life while growing in the field, so that 
the tuber could not influence the food supply, and therefore 
would seem not to affect the yield materially. This reasoning 
is borne out by my experiments, the results of which are 
reported in the following table: 

TABLE XIII. YIELD FROM SLIPS TAKEN FROM DIFFERENT 
SIZES OF TUBERS. 



Shanghai, yield from a tuber weighing 5 pounds . 
Shanghai, yield from very small rubers 

Vineless. yield from very large tubers 

Vineless, yield from verj- small roots 





Calculated bushels 








per 


acre 






Large 


Sm 


all 


Total 


31-5 


34 


10 


40 


325 


74 


ioi 


72 


13 


32 


416 


04 


■ 285 


^8 


25 


82 


310 


QO 


354 


66 


17 


66 


372 


32 



In the above experiments each plot contained the same 
number of plants. It would not be safe to conclude from 
the above given facts that slips from very small tubers will 
always give larger yields than slips from large tubers. A 
safer conclusion would be that slips from small tubers will 
produce fully as large tubers as slips from large tubers, be- 
cause this experiment was carried on only one year. Some 
gi'owers go over the field at harvest time and select short, 
stubby tubers for seed. If this practice is followed tubers 
should be selected from vines bearing the largest number of 
the type desired. It appears that the sweet potato can be 
improved upon by this selection. 



30 SWEET POTATO CULTURE FOR PROFIT. 

PROPAGATION BY VINE CUTTINGS. 

As a rule, I have obtained much better results by using 
cuttings from vines which are strong and vigorous, like those 
of such varieties as Hall, Southern Queen and Shanghai. All 
the leaves should be taken off the cutting so that the vitality 
will not be exhausted before the cutting takes root. The tip 
of the vine is too tender to be used with success. Any other 
part of the vine will do. The cutting should be about 12 
inches long. One inch is enough to project above ground 
when the cuttings are put into the field. 

Propagation by vine cuttings is the cheapest way. One 
acre of a vigorous growing variety will produce enough vine 
cuttings to plant one to three other acres. Continuous cutting 
oif the vines lowers the yield some. It should not be done 
late in the season. Some plants should be set very early for 
this purpose. They will pay well when the tubers are costly. 
Tubers from vine cuttings are usually rather small, long and 
smooth. They are the best for seed the following year, and 
can be grown in nearly all the southern states from Virginia 
to the coast. 

In Texas I have grown a crop of 15U bushels per acre 
with the vineless variety from cuttings planted out 19th of 
July. During a fair season many of the vigorous growing 
varieties will produce a fair crop from vine cuttings in 90 days. 
For these cuttings the ground should be thoroughly prepared 
and kept well stiiTed after setting. If the soil is in good con- 
dition and irrigation can be used the cuttings will grow quickly 
and make almost a perfect stand. How best to set them is 
discussed more fully in the chapter on transplanting. 



CHAPTER VIII. 

Transplanting. When to Transplant. Ridge and 

Level. Distance Between Plants. 

Transplanting Machinery. 

By transplanting is meant setting the plants in another 
place. It is sometimes the practice of growers to transplant 
when the ground is very wet. This is not at all necessary, on 
the contrary it frequently leads to bad results, the dirt becom- 
ing dry and baked around the young plants and thus preventing 
the rapid growth of young roots. The plants frequently be- 



SWEET POTATO CULTURE FOR PROFIT. 



31 



come yellow and start off to grow very slowly. While the 
sweet potato plant is very susceptible to injury from cold, it 
will stand with impunity considerable dry weather. The soil is 
in the very best condition for transplanting when it is just right 
for plowing. I have set the plants in the ridges after the 
plow during a warm sunny day and did not lose one per cent. 
It is best, however, to set during a cloudy day or late in the 
afternoon. The main point in this case, as with other plants, 
is to press the dirt firmly around the roots. Growers some- 
times pour a cup full of water around the plants. This is 
not necessary if these instructions are followed, neither for 
plants nor for vine cuttings. If the ground is dry a cup full 
of water put around the roots and dry dirt be raked over im- 
mediately, it will be beneficial. If the roots of the plants be 
thrust into a mud batter made of loamy soil and water before 
transplanting, it will be beneficial. 

WHEN TO TRANSPLANT. 

It will pay to wait until the ground becomes thoroughly 
warm. When the ground is warm enough to plant lima beans 
it is nearly warm enough to transplant sweet potatoes. In the 
extreme southern states plants are frequently set April 15th 
to 25th. In New Jersey, for instance, transplanting is done 
one month later. 

TRANSPANTING ON RIDGES AND ON LEVEL. 

Both methods are in use among growers. The ridge 
warms up first in the spring. On the contrary, it dries out 
quicker and is a little more difficult on which to use trans- 
planting machinery. However, the ridge is more generally 
used and appears to give generally better results. 

At the Louisiana station the results given in the following 
table Avere obtained after two years experimenting and show a 
decided advantage of the ridge over the level : 

TABLE XIV. HEIGHT OF ROW — AVERAGE FOR TWO YEARS. 





Height. 


Yield in Bushels. 


z 


Merchantable. 


Culls. 


1 


On the level 


130 03 
219 84 
197 07 
221 59 
261 18 


33 57 
22 53 
17 33 
16 45 
25 45 




2 


Four inches 

Eight inches 




4 

5 


Twelve inches 

Sixteen inches 





32 SWEET POTATO CULTURE FOR PROFIT. 



At the Georgia station during 1893 and 1894 the results 
were conflicting, but showed a slight difference in favor of the 

ridge. 

At the Texas station during 1895, the following results 
were obtained: Level culture, 17H.()t) l)ushels: ridge, H inches 
high, 211.44 bushels. 

DISTANCE APART JiF/PWKEN THE PLANTS. 

In New Jersey "two methods are followed in regard to 
the setting of plants in the field, one in which the plants are 
set in hills two and one-half feet each way, the other in which 
they are grown in drills eighteen inches by two and one-half 
feet." If the plants are set by the check method the crop 
may be cultivateil easier, but it is seldom used in the southern 
states. The distance apart at which the maximum crop may 
be grown depends much upon latitude, soil and variety. Vig- 
orous growing varieties require a greater distance than weaker 
growing ones. The vineless variety may be planted very close. 

In the following table will be found the results of the 
Louisiana station obtained during three years, except in 
the fifth plot the results of which were obtained during only 
one year: 

TABLE XV. AVERAGE OF THE LAST THREE YEARS IN DISTANCE 

IN ROW. 



Distance. 


Yield Per Acre in Bushels. 




JMerchnniahle. 


Cul s 




252 (,7 

275 01 

281 82 
249 (18 


13 86 


'I'welve inches 


11 01 

1(> 48 


Kighteen inches 

Tweutv-fonr inches (IS93) 


11 71 
15 % 



At the Georgia station for 1893, the following results were 
obtained : 



TABLE XVI. DISTANCE TEST. 



IS 


Distance. 


Calcnlated Yield Per Acre in Bushels. 


p-l 


Marketab'e. 


Small. 


Total. 


1 

2 
3 


Eiehteen inches (l'/2 ft.) 

Tweuty-fonr inches (2 tt ) 

Thirty inches (2;4 ft.) 


202 04 
184 74 
179 64 


65 58 
52 34 
50 11 


267 62 

237 08 
229 75 



SWEET POTATO CULTURE FOR PROFIT. 



33 



If the plants are set 30 by 30 inches, which is claimed to 
be the least distance that is convenient, it will take about 7,000 
plants per acre. 

TRANSPLANTING MACHINERY. 

The cost of transplanting is usually expensive. When 
done with a dibble or stick by hand it is hard work. The 
writer, after testing a number of machines and methods, finds 
that one of the best and easiest ways to transplant the slips 
is with a common one horse turning plow; though transplant- 
ing can only be done in this way on a level. Cheap and un- 
skilled labor may be used. When a furrow is being thrown 
open the plants may be dropped along against the straight 
side of the furrow after the plow. When the end of the row 
is reached the plow may be turned around and the dirt be 
thrown back on the plants. The droppers may also come 
back along the furrow and step on the dirt just above the 
plants to press the dirt against them tirmly. The writer has 
also set vine-cuttings in this way successfully. In this way 
three men and a mule will plant about 3 acres in a day. This 
method is shown in the following tigure, and is original with 
the author: 




Fig. 6. — Trunspliinting with a plow and a mule, a, Dirt thrown u|) by 
a plow, b, Plants laid along on straight side of furrow. 

In figure No 7 is shown a vei-y simple transplanter manu- 
factured by J. W. Parker, Paulsboro, N. J. This nuichine 
consists of two wooden strips which slide up and down 
against each other, and are held together by tin cross bands. 
The one with a paddle on one end punches the vine or cut- 
ting in the ground and is then raised, while the other with a 
foot on the end is pushed down by the side of the plant to 



34 



SWEET POTATO CULTURE FOR PROFIT. 



press the dirt firmly around the roots. If the ground is in 
good condition this machine will put the plants in the ground 
as fast as one man can drop them. The plants are dropped 
along the 7o\v with the roots toward the transplanter. It 

might be stated that 

there is rubber on the 

end of the paddle to 

prevent it from injur- 
ing the plants while 

they are being pushed 

down into the ground. 

The machine may be 

used either for slij)s or 

for cuttings. 

A very convenient 

and simple machine any 

one can easily make is 
Tex.Exjx a common wooden dib- 
d/r^tion, |-,]g^ Break off a well 

seasoned limb of hard 

wood just below a fork 

and leave it about three 

feet long and sharpen 

the other end. If some fig. s-showmg 

Fig. 7--Sweet Potato . , ., , ... lence of Ordinary 

Transplanter, a, The tin be nailed OVCr tlllS 
paddle which pushes , , , , t - 

the plant down, b, end smoothly the dirt 

The foot which press- „, , , . . , • i j_ -^ i j.i 

GS the dirt around the Will not be SO apt tO StlCK tO it, and thUS 

bother the work of transplanting. 

A more costly machine is made by W. A. Lake Manufac- 
turing Co., Harriman, Tenn., and is shown in figure No. 9. 
This machine works well with small plants, but if they are 
leafy they do not slip through the schute so readily. It is bet- 
ter adapted for such plants as tomatoes and cabbage. It is 
known as The Peerless Plant Setter. 

There is a larger machine known as the Bemis transplant- 
ing Machine, manufactured by Fuller & Johnson Manufactur- 
ing Co., Madison, Wis., which is desirable for transplanting 
on a large scale. This machine is drawn by two horses. One 
man drives and two boys set the plants when the horses are 
going in an ordinary walk. It will set from three to six acres 








Fig 9— Peerless Plant "better 



per day depending upon 
the skill of the boys and 
the closeness of the plants. 
It has a water attach- 
ment which puts the wat- 
er around the roots be- 
fore they are covered. 
From four to six barrels 
of water may be used on 
an acre. It has also a fer- 
tilizer attachment which 
distributes the fertilizer 
along in the row. Slips 
and vine-cuttings may be 
set by it. It is a very 
valuable machine and may 
be used on the farm for 
setting many other kinds 
of plants. The only ob- 
jection one could have 
is its cost, which is about 
$75.00. 




Fig. 10-The Bemis Trausplautiug Machine. 



.36 



SWEET POTATO CULTURE FOR PROFIT. 



CHAPTER IX. 

Cultivation, Shaliowor Deep. Raisingrthe Vines. 
Pinciiingr off the Ends of the Vines. 

The soil should be well cultivated after the plants are 
set so as to keep it loose and moist, also to keep down weeds. 
Usually after the ground dries when a hard rain has- fallen, the 
cultivator should be started. Cultivation should be kept up 
till the vines cover the rows. Care should be taken not to 
throw dirt on the vines with the cultivator as they will take 
root at such places. Some growers use a special cultivator 
which lifts the vines so that the rows may be cultivated closer 
and later in the season. Shallow cultivation is usually the 
best since it does not break the fine roots which go far in 
search offood. 




Fit;. 11 — Cultivator with Vine Lifter. 



KAISING THE VINES. 

There seems to be some difference of opinion among grow- 
ers as to whether lifting the vines and not allowing them to 
root at the nodes is beneficial or not. The method of raising 
the vines has been tested at the Louisiana and Georgia sta- 
tions and at each one it lowered the yield. In the following 
tables are given the results beginning with those obtained at 
the Louisiana station: 



SWEET POTATO CULTURE FOR PROFIT. 



37 



TABLE XVII. VINE-LIFTING EXPERIMENT (LA.) 1893. 







Yield 


in Bus 


hels 


Yield 


ill Bushels 


a 




Per 


Acre. 1892. 


Per Acre. 1893. 


S 


















<o 






oi 






a 

H 


Treatment. 


fi 






^ 






H 




a 






a 










as 






<6 










.C 






J3 






6 






= 


5 


t< 


M 


"3 


S-, 






s 


o 




3 


o 






s 


o 


H 


s 


U 


H 


1 


Vines left undisturbed 


352 49 


76 78 


429 23 


310 2 


25 7 


335 9 


2 


Vines lifted twice per wee 


226 85 


2U 94 


247 79 


294 5 

15 7 


2U 


314 5 




Difference 


125 04 


55 84 


1X1 44 


5 7 


21 4 



TABLE XVIII. VINE-LIFTING EXPERIMENT (GA.) 1893. 



d 

s 


Treatment. 


Calculated Yield Per Acre in Bushels. 




Marketable. 


Small. 


Total 


1 

2 


Not allowed to root along vines 

Check plat (normal treatment) 


)48 1 
;;54 9 


8 2 
15 4 


156 3 
270 3 




Difference in favor of normal treatment 


106 8 


7 2 U 114 



PINCHING OFF THE VINES. 

It is sometimes the practice of growers to pinch back 
the vines, believing that it will increase the productiveness. 
This practice also seems to be injurious. This method has been 
tested also by the Louisiana and Georgia stations and the re- 
sults are given in the following tables beginning with those 
from Louisiana, obtained during 1893: 

TABLE XIX. VINE-PINCHING EXPERIMENT (LA.) 



c 

a 

0) 

p. 


















Yield in 


Bushels Per .\cic. 
















w 


Treatment 












o 


Merchautable. 


Cui:?. 


Totiil. 


1 




310 2 

2.i7 2 


2.'> 7 
16 5 


■MS 
273 


9 


2 


Pinched eontinuallv (to two 


leet) 





TABLE XX. VINE-PINCHING EXPERIMENT (GA.) 



s 


Method. 


Calculated Yield Per Acre in Bushels. 




Marketable. 


Small. 


Total. 


1 




195 7 
85 1 
37 8 


5 6 
19 8 
12 3 


201 3 


2 
3 


Pinched weekly to 2 leei through season 
Pinched weekly to 2 feet after Sept. 1st. . 


104 9 
50 1> 



38 SWEET POTATO CULTURE FOR PROFIT. 

CHAPTER X. 

Harvestingr. When to Harvest. How to Harvest. 
Storing. Pit method of Storing. House Meth- 
od of Storing. Leaving the Tubers in 
the Ground until Wanted. 

If the crop is intended for stock food, cattle may be turned 
on in dry weather to harvest the vines and tops, afterwards 
hogs may be turned on to harvest the tubers. In this way 
nearly all the crop may be saved at a minimum cost. 

If the crop is intended for storage or for sale at once, con- 
siderable care should be taken in harvesting it properly. It 
is sometimes the practice of growers to harvest part of the 
crop about the middle of August and sell it. The tubers are 
palatable as soon as dug, and often very good profits are real- 
lized by harvesting and shipping early, though the yield be 
only one-half as great at this time. Owing to the sappiness of 
the tubers at this time considerable risk is run of great loss by 
soft rot, especially when shipped during hot, damp weather. 

For storage the tubers are not in condition to be dug 
until growth nearly ceases and the tubers are more mature. 
There is a difference of opinion as to when the tubers are in 
the best condition to be dug. Some contend just after a frost; 
others contend just before a frost. The first frost which 
merely kills the tops and seems to have no effect upon the 
tubers. The author has left the tubers in the ground and dug 
them in December and they kept well. The best test the 
writer has found by which to tell when the tubers are in con- 
dition to be dug is to break several tubers and expose the 
pieces to the air for some time. If sufficiently mature to keep 
well the original color is maintained while the exposed places 
"heal over;" if not mature the exposed places assume a dark 
or greenish appearance. 

Do not dig when the ground is wet because dirt will ad- 
here to the tubers and injure the sale, and they are also much 
more difficult to keep. It is better to wait two or three weeks 
for proper conditions than to run such a great risk of losing 
the greater part of the crop. The tubers are not apt to be 
injured much by being left in the ground some time after 



SWEET POTATO CULTURE FOR PROFIT. 39 

frost. At the Texas Station the writer has left them in the 
ground all winter and they kept well during a dry winter, 
during a wet winter the tubers spoilt. Severe frosts and freez- 
ing of the ground a quarter of an inch did not hurt the tubers 
except those which came to the surface of the ground. This 
will be discussed further under the head of storing. Dig in 
the forenoon of a bright day and gather up the tubers in the 
afternoon. 

HOW TO HARVEST THE TUBERS. 

Digging may be done with a spading fork, a plo^v or with 
a digger made for the jDurpose. It is much more difficult to 
get digging machinery to work on the SAveet potato than it is 
on the irish potato, because the tubers are more oblong and 
extend down into the ground further and the vines are much 
in the way. The skin of the tubers is very tender and suscept- 
ible to injury. Wherever a bruised place appears the soft rot 
is apt to start. To keep them well, therefore, they must be 
harvested carefully. 

Vines may be cut off with hoes, corn cutters or with a 
rolling coulter on the beam of a turning plow. The latter 
method the writer has found to work very satisfactorily if 
the rolling coulter is sharp. The rolling coulter is fastened 
on the beam of a one horse turning plow and extends down 
about one-half inch below the point. This plow is run on 
each side of the row, cutting the vines and throwing some dirt 
away from the row at the same time. If the plow is run too 
close to the center of the row some of the tubers are apt to 
be cut also. The field should be gone over in this way if the 
crop is left after the first frost. To throw the potatoes out the 
coulter is taken off and the plow run a little to one side of the 
row. Two horses should be used for this. The pickers then 
come along and pull the tubers out and scatter them along on 
top of the ground. They should not be thrown in piles 
because they are more apt to be bruised in this way. If the 
pickers be careful nearly all the crop will be gathered because 
all the tubers are attached to one vine. It sometimes pays to 
harrow the ground after picking so as to rake out any tubers 
which may be left under the dirt. 



40 



SWEET POTATO CULTURE FOR PROFIT. 



It is perhaps best to assort in the field as the potatoes are 
gathered. One man may pick up the "primes," another "sec- 
onds," and another small roots and bruised ones for stock 
food. Each class should be put in boxes or crates, which are 
placed in a wagon and hauled to the storage house. 

If the vines have not been harvested before, they may 
now be gathered by running a heavy bull-tongue plow over the 
field and dragging them into piles. Afterwards they may be 
hauled off in the wagons. 

PIT METHOD OF STORING. 



The pit method is very much used in the extreme south- 
ern states and it is cheap and convenient. Select a warm, 
well drained place and spread over the ground about six 
inches of dry straw. Carefully pile about twenty-five bushels 
in a heap on the bed of straw and cover thickly with corn 
stalks, wheat straw or pine needles. If corn stalks be con- 
venient it is better to put them on first to give better venti- 
lation. It is best to put a shed over this heap. Leave the 
potatoes with no other covering but straw for about two 
weeks, if the weather does not get too cold, when they will 
have gone through a sweat. Put a few inches of dirt on 
which may be increased as the weather gets colder. Some 
straw or stalks should project out leaving places for ventila- 
tion. Ventilation may also be provided for by having tiles or 
something similar project up through the pit. If the pit be 








Fk;. 12 — Potatoes stored in a pit. 



SWEET POTATO CULTURE FOR PROFIT. 41 



not covered with a shed it is best to cover these ventilating 
phices with a board daring rainy weather. In the previous 
figure the pit method is shown where the potatoes are placed 
down into the ground several inches, this makes it easier to 
cover with dirt but it should not be done unless a drain is 
cut around the pit to carry off the surplus water and prevent 
it injuring the potatoes. 

HOUSE METHOD OF STORING. 

Houses are frequently built especially for storing sweet 
potatoes. The potatoes when stored this way can be exam- 
ined easily at any time and can readily be taken out when 
wanted. In the northern states these houses must be built 
tighter and with more care than in the southern states. Arti- 
ficial heat is used during very cold weather in many northern 
states. The following extract from the Rural New YorJcer 
gives the method of a New Jersey grower in storing "Fancy 
Vineland Sweets:" 

"The best form of storehouse is a one-story building with 
a basement, with the heater in the basement. An ordinary 
heating stove is used: the size needed will depend on the size 
of the house. The tighter and better built it is, the less heat 
it will require to heat it. The floor should be on a level with 
an ordinary wagon body; this will allow unloading and loading 
without any heavy lifting. The marketable potatoes may be 
stored on the first floor, and the seed and feeding potatoes in 
the basement. Provision should also be made in the base- 
ment for a coal bin. The potato bins should all have false 
bottoms raised two or three inches from the floor, and slatted 
sides set the same distance from the walls, to give free ventil- 
ation all around the potatoes. It is better to have the bins 
divided by partitions every three or four feet; this will allow 
the taking out of a small quantity without disturbing the rest, 
and will also allow filling the bins clear to the ceiling. It will 
do no harm to have the potatoes piled seven or eight feet 
deep, if the filling is done carefully. They should never be 
moved or disturbed in any way, unless they are to be disposed 
of at once, as a great many will rot in a few days after being 
moved. The temperature should be kept at 90 or 100 degrees 
while the house is being filled, and for a week or so after- 



42 



SWEET POTATO CULTURE FOR PROFIT 



wards, giving free ventilation all the time. This dries them 
out quickly, and carries them through "the sweat" in a short 
time, making what is called a kiln-dried sweet. After they 
are through sweating, and the sprouts are just beginning to 
show on the tops of the bins, the temperature should be 
lowered to 55 or 60 degrees, and kept there. The more even 
the temperature, the better they will keep." 

By some it is claimed that the temperature may come as low 
as 45 degree Fah. when the outside temperature is low. The 
object being to keep the tubers a little warmer than the sur- 
rounding air, so that the moisture will not condense on them. 
In southern latitudes this heating by fire seems not nec- 
essary to make the tubers go through the sweat, neither does 
it seem necessary in keeping them over winter. The sweet 




TejCjEA^, ^ta.tco?^ 



Fig 13 — a, Posts which go up through the center from floor to ceiling. 

b, ventilator which may be opened in warm weather and closed in cold. 

c, Double wall, d, Potatoes stored in sand, e, Cross-pieces which run 
from posts to wall. 



SWEET POTATO CULTURE FOR PROFIT. 43 



potato, while quite susceptible to injury from cold, will stand 
much more than is commonly supposed. That peculiar, 
slightly bitter and unpleasant taste frequently met with in 
stored tubers and quite commonly believed to be due to having 
been frozen, is very often due to being affected by the black 
rot fungus. A very small infected place will taint the whole 
tuber. 

The writer has been very successful in keeping the tubers 
from being frozen and from being injured by mice by storing 
them in a house built according to the following plan at the 
Texas Station : 

It consists of two outer walls with a dead air space be- 
tween. Also two doors, a double floor, and a ventilator. The 
ventilator may be opened and closed at will. During warm 
days in the fall the doors are left open for further ventilation. 
Inside are upright pieces which project from the floor to the 
ceiling. Strips reach from these across to the wall, and on 
these planks are laid lengthwise, which are also nailed against 
the sides of the posts, thus forming a long box. The potatoes 
are stored in these, and dry road sand mixed with them. 
Mice can not get through dry sand. Potatoes kept well in 
this house last winter (1894 — 1895) when the temperature 
went down as low as 7 degrees Fah. and not one per cent 
was injured by freezing. The sand must be changed every 
year for sweet potatoes, because it is very apt to contain 
spores of disease which Avill infect the next crop when stored. 
Where we did not change the sand nearly all the crop was 
lost from black rot. 

STORING IN A CELLAR. 

In good houses, barnes or cellars, in southern latitudes, 
potatoes may be kept over winter easily. 

A method of a farmer who has had large experience in 
northwestern Arkansas is given in a bulletin of U. S. Depart- 
ment of Agriculture, as follows : 

"Divide inside of cellar into slatted stalls 6 feet wide, 3 
to 4 feet deep, giving a foot space between the stalls. If stalls 
are one above another, leave 6 inch space between the stalls. 
For a large cellar 20 or 30 by 50 or 75 feet, leave a 3 or 4 foot 
hall lengthwise through cellar and build bins on each side df 



44 SWEET POTATO CULTURE FOR PROFIT. 

hall. * * * Take sweet potatoes immediately from field to 
cellar and put in bins 3 or 4 feet deep. If ground is wet, sun 
a while so that the dirt will slip from the potatoes. * * * Put 
nothing around, over, or under them. Leave free to air. 

* * * Every night or day that the thermometer registers 40 
degrees above zero, but mostly at night, if possible, keep all 
ventilators wide open; but should it get above 65 degrees out- 
side, close all ventilators tight, for if you let hot air in your 
cellar it will condense or cause potatoes to get wet (sweat). 

* * * Keep as near 45 or 60 degrees inside as possible. But 
be sure never to have any part of this cellar stand open when 
the air outside is 15 degrees warmer than inside. This hot air 
not being allowed to strike the cool potatoes or walls and 
condensing is the whole secret in keeping them. Cool or cold 
air will go all through them and drive out all the moisture, 
but hot air will not." 

It is sometimes claimed that vines can be kept over win- 
ter; after trying several methods and keeping them sonie time 
the author has failed. 

LEAVING THE TUBERS IN THE GROUND OVER WINTER. 

The tubers often keep well over winter in light, sandy 
soils in some of the extreme southern states if they are left 
undisturbed where they grew. If the soil is heavy and the 
winter a wet one they are apt to decay. If the tubers are to 
be left in this way, a turning plow should be used to throw 
dirt up over the rows leaving a furrow between to drain off 
the water. 



CHAPTEE XL 

Yield of Varieties from Slips. Character of Flesh 

when Baked. Table Quality. Yield 

from Vine-Cuttings. 

The yield of different varieties is given from four exper- 
iment stations, New York (Geneva), Georgia, Louisiana and 
Texas. The character of flesh when baked is given as tested 
at Louisiana station and Texas station. Table quality when 
baked is given as tested at Texas station. 



SWEET POTATO CULTURE FOR PROFIT. 



45 



TABLE XXI. VARIETY TEST AT NEW YORK STATION (1891). 

Estimated Yield Per Acre. 
Husli. 

Bermuda 24-t 

Brazillian 131 

Cuba Yam ^9 

Early Golden 143 

Early Peabody S91 

Old Maurice 104 

Providence 388 

Southern Queen 292 

Spanish Red 383 

It will be seen from this table that Spanish Red yielded 
at the rate of 383 bushels per acre, Providence at the rate of 
388 bushels per acre, Southern Queen at the rate of 292 bush- 
els per acre, and Early Peabody at the rate of 291 bushels per 
acre. This would seem quite favorable for sweet potatoes 
that far north. 

TABLE XXII. VARIETY TEST AT GEORGIA STATION ( 1894). 



Variety. 



White St. Domingo 

Shanghai (or California). 

Boone's White 

Hayman 

Early Golden 

Tennessee (Yam) 

Boone' 8 Red 

Norton 

Peabody 

Red No.'-e 

Red N ansemoud 

Southern Queen 

Black Spanish 

Red Nansemond 

Bermuda Red 

Orleans Red (Choker) — 

Southern Queen 

White NaDsemond 

Brazilian (Yam) 

Big Stem J ersey 

Yellow (Yam) 

Yellow Jersey 

Ticotea 

Pumpkin (Yam) 

Heckler (Yam) 

Vineless 

Yellow .Nansemond 

Jersey Sweet 

Spanish (Yam) 

Spanish Bunch 

Barbadoes 

Georgia (Yam) 

Straaburg 



Calculated Yield Per Acre 


in Bushels. 


Marketable. 


Small. 


Total. 


:-i. 9 4 


42 5 


381 9 


327 1 


47 2 


374 3 


312 


32 1 


344 1 


313 9 


26 4 


340 3 


244 H 


6+ 8 


31)9 1 


231 S 


69 9 


301 5 


246 7 


30 2 


276 9 


^09 9 


43 5 


253 4 


211 8 


37 8 


249 6 


182 4 


58 6 


241 


204 2 


32 1 


2315 3 


200 4 


34 


2.S4 4 


204 2 


24 6 


:;28 8 


162 6 


65 2 


227 8 


175 8 


51 


226 8 


203 


22 7 


225 7 


152 2 


61 4 


213 6 


130 4 


78 4 


208 8 


171 1 


32 1 


203 2 


151 2 


49 1 


200 3 


156 9 


34 


190 9 


104 9 


86 


190 9 


117 2 


71 8 


189 


160 7 


28 2 


188 9 


128 6 


45 4 


174 


144 6 


29 3 


173 9 


115 3 


56 7 


172 


118 9 


45 4 


164 3 


138 


20 8 


158 8 


130 4 


26 4 


156 8 


90 7 


37 8 


128 5 


86 


32 1 


118 1 


83 2 


19 8 


103 



From this table it will be observed that White St. Do- 
mingo yielded the largest number of bushels, followed by 



46 



SWEET POTATO CULTURE FOR PROFIT. 



Shanghai, Boone's White, Hyman, Early Golden and Ten- 
nei*see. The finest varieties for southern table use, such as 
Pumpkin, Yellow and Vineless, did not yield as heavily as 
the coarser varieties. 

TABLE XXIII. VARIETY TEST AT LOUISIANA STATION (1894). 



Variety. 



Barbadoes 

Bermuda 

Big Stem Jersey 

Canal 

Delaware 

Dog River 

Early Goidon 

Georgia 

Gold Skin 

Hayman 

Matejito 

Negro Choker 

New Jersey 

Norton 

Peabody 

Padisha 

Pumpkin 

Providence 

Red Nansemond 

Southern Queen 

Strasburg 

Spanish (Yam) 

Shanghai(or ( California) 

Sugar or Creole 

Southern Red (Yam) . .. 
Southern Yellow (Yam). 

Ticotea 

Tennessee 

Vineless 

Yellow (Yam) 

Yellow N ansemond 

Java No. 1 

Java No. 2 

Java No. 3 

Java No. 4 

.fava No. 5 











Yieldf 


d in Bush. 


Charac 


ter when Cooked. 


Time of 
Ripening 


— plan 


ted May 1. 




"3 03 _o 




Color. 


Hard or 


Wet or 


"3 


5 




soft. 


dry 




a« 


o 


H 


Nearly, white 


Soft 


Medium 


Medium 


499 9 


32 04 


531 94 


Nearly white 


Hard 


Dry 


Late 


302 59 


53 09 


356 75 


Lightyellow 


Hard 


Dry 


Medium 


296 6 


24 8 


321 4 


White 


Hard 


Very Dry 


Medium 


336 


12 4 


348 4 


Light yellow 


Medium 


Moist 


Medium 


302 «r) 


45 6 


348 45 


Dark yellow 


Hard 


Dry 


Late 


160 2 


16 


176 2 


Yellow 


Medium 


Dry 


Medium 


514 4 


16 02 


530 42 


Yellow 


Medium 


Medium 


Late 


560 or) 


20 8 


580 85 


Yellow 


Rather s< f t 


Medium 


Medium 


257 •> 


29 5 


286 7 


Light yellow 


Medium 


Dry 


Late 


63S .S 


12 4 


651 2 


White 


Hard 


Dry 


Medium 


373 3 


12 


385 3 


Nearly white 


Hard 


Dry 


Late 


489 5 


35 2 


524 7 


Nearly white 


Medium 


Medium 


INIedium 


240 7 


4S 2 


288 9 


Nearly white 


Soft 


Medium 


Late 


638 


16 


654 


Yellow 


Hard 


Dry 


Late 


684 5 


12 4 


696 9 


Yellow 


Soft 


Wet 


Medium 


340 18 


8 29 


349 47 


Yellow 


Hard 


Dry 


Late 


299 6 


24 8 


324 4 


Yellow 


Soft 


Wet 


Early 


lO.'i? 8 


14 5 


1072 3 


Yellowish white 


Medium 


Rather di v 


Late 


696 9 


20 7 


717 6 


White 


Rather hard 


Dry 


Late 


622 2 


18 6 


640 8 


Light Yellow 


Kather hard 


Dry 


Late 


352 6 


35 2 


387 8 


Light Yellow 


Medium 


Medium 


Late 


fiOl 9 


18 6 


520 5 


White 


Hard 


Dry 


Late 


741 02 


17 6 


7!58 62 


White 


Soft 


Moist 


Medium 


377 5 


14 5 


392 


White 


Hard 


Dry 


Medium 


539 3 


16 02 


555 32 


Yellow 


Soft 


Wet 


Medium 


99 5 


10 3 


109 8 


White 


Soft 


Wet 


Late 


514 4 


53 9 


568 3 


Light Yellow 


Soft 


Medium 


Medium 


124 4 


45 6 


170 


Light Yellow 


Soft 


Rather moi.'it 


Early 


280 5 


37 2 


317 7 


Yellow 


Medium 


Medium 


Medium 


336 


45 6 


381 6 


Vellow 


Medium 


Medium 


Medium 


170 9 


37 2 


207 29 


VVliite 


Medium 

Soft 

Soft 


Medium 

Wet 

Wet 




204 8 
87 1 
120 3 


20 8 
41 6 
12 4 


225 6 


Pink 




128 7 


White 




132 7 


vVhite 


Soft 


Wet 




64 3 


16 ('2 


80 32 


Dull White 


Soft 


Wet 




194 9 


24 8 


219 7 



From this table it will be seen that Shanghai made the enor- 
mous yield of 758 bushels per acre, followed by Red Nanse- 
mond, Peabody, Norton, Hayman, and Southern Queen. 
Louisiana is one of the best states for the sweet potato, and 
the yield now (1896) is said to be over 3,000,000 bushels for 
the state. The experiment station for this state has done 
very much to encourage the growth of sweet potatoes and, it 
appears with very favorable results. 



SWEET POTATO CULTURE FOR PROFIT. 



TABLE XXIV. VARIETY TEST AT TEXAS STATION (1894). 



Name of Variety. 



Barbadoes 

Big Stem Jei sey 

Black Spanish 

Brazilian 

RroDze 

Canal 

Cavitt's Earliest 

Chinese HO days 

Cuban (Yarn) 

•Delaware 

Dog River 

•Early Golden 

Extra Early Caroline . 

Florida (Yam) 

'Georgia (Yam) 

Gen. Grant 

'Gold Skin 

Hall 

'Haymai: 

Hayti Spanish 

Jersey Red 

■ Matejita 

Nancy Hall 

Nansemond 

Negro Choker 

New Jersey . . 

Norton 

Orange 

Padisha 

"Peabody 

Peruvian 

Pool's (Yam) 

Providence 

Pumpkin 

Queen of the West 

Red Bermuda 

Red Nansemond 

' Ked Nose 

Rockport 

Shanghai (California) 

'Southern Queen 

•Strasburg 

• Sugar (Creole) 

■Tennessee 

Ticotea 

Vineless 

White Brazilian 

' Yellow Jersey 

■ Yellow Nansemond . . . . 
Yellow (Yam) 



Character of flesh when Baked. 



Yield per Acre in Bush . 



Season. 



Bluish white, soft, damp Medium 

Yellowish white, rather soft. . . Late 

White, dry, mealy Late 

White, dry, mealy Late 

White, moist, sweet Late 

Pale yellow, mealy Late 

Light yellow, soft, moisi, Early 

White, soft, sweet Medium 

Yellow, soft, damp . . Medium 

Cream yellow, soft, wet Late 

Yellowish red, soft, wet Late 

Light yellow, soft, drv tCarly 

Yellowish soft Early 

Wliite, soft, mealy Late 

Yellowish, soft Late 

White, soft, mealy Early 

Yellow, mealy Early 

Redi--h yellow, soft, moist Early 

Pale yellow, soft Medium 

White, soft, dry Late 

Pale yellow, mealy Late 

Creamy yellow, soft Late 

Kedish yellow, soft, moist Early 

Yellow, damp, soft Early 

Cream colored, soft, mealy. . . Late 
Light yellow, soft, mealy . Early 

White, soft Late 

Redish, soft, wet Late 

Redish, soft, wet, strong Early 

Cream yellow, dry, miealy Late 

Redish yellow, soft, wet Late 

Dull yellow, soft, damp Late 

Yellow, soft, damp Late 

Light red, soft, wet Late 

Creamy yellow, mealy, dry... . Late 
Cream colored, soft, mealy .... Late 

Pale yellow, soft, sweet Late 

Light yellow, soft, mealy, strong Medium 

Redish yellow, soft, wet Late 

White, soft, damp Medium 

White, soft, damp Late 

White, soft, dry Late 

W hite, soft, mealy Late 

Yellow, soft, damp Late 

White, soft, dry Late 

White, soft, sweet Early 

VV hite, soft, damp Late 

Creamy yellow, mealy Medium 

Creamy yellow, soft, damp Late 

Light yellow, solt. dry Late 



373 34 
156 20 
143 S6 
275 20 
575 83 
270 68 
3U3 98 

25 91 
135 55 

80 37 

93 50 
436 20 

89 57 
324 36 
369 45 
614 35 

101 70 

319 93 
311 06 
311 12 
105 56 
208 65 
143 56 

97 76 

275 73 
155 40 

320 00 

101 43 
194 44 

6 
262 94 
198 90 
138 12 
225 70 
103 70 
413 05 
411 14 
192 63 
300 76 
402 7 
277 50 
185 52 
150 00 
161 16 

102 06 
290 98 
272 22 
110 9 

276 07 
V7 80 



30 11 

19 40 
3 88 
12 05 



5 76 
2 
5 19 
26 60 



14 00 
7 76 



403 45 
175 60 
147 74 
287 25 
575 83 
276 44 
306 88 
31 10 
162 15 
80 37 
107 50 



443 96 271 25 

89 ill 68 83 
333 25 



3 
11 90 

20 77 

7 76 
19 61 

8 40 
3 

39 88 

56 55 

4 60 



'675 
15 56 


'i4'58 
3 88 
10 S3 

8 50 


3 88 



147 37 

127 39 



21 61 

10 37 
13 32 

8 88 

11 36 
5 20 

15 56 
26 16 



196 22 7 



77 13 
179 61 



.369 45 
618 23 
113 60 
340 80 
318 82 
330 73 
105 56 
217 05 

147 44 
437 64 
332 28 
160 OU 
320 00 
108 18 
210 00 

276 

277 52 
202 78 

148 45 
234 20 
103 70 
416 93 
411 14 
214 24 
311 13 
415 45 
286 38 
196 88 
155 20 
176 72 
12S 22 

24 89 315 89 251 60 
272 00 

110 92! 73 08 
276 07 173 46 

17 50 95 391 85 26 



190 76 



154 81 



123 14 



From this table it wall be seen that Gen. Grant made the 
largest yield for one year and Shanghai for two years. Other 
varieties which made the largest yield for two years are Early 
Golden, Red Nansemond, Negro Choker, Brazilian and Vine- 
less. In this connection it should be stated that the year 1893 
was an extremely dry one and consequently the yield of all 
the varieties was low. It gave a good test of the drouth re- 
sisting qualities of all the varieties, during w^hich Shanghai 
made the heaviest yield, followed by Vineless. Shanghai was 



48 SWEET POTATO CULTURE FOR PROFIT. 

the largest yielder at Texas and Louisiana stations and was 
second at tlie Georgia station. It is interesting to note that 
Southern Queen, Hayman, Peabody and Early Golden are 
heavy yielders at all the stations, though they are not, by any 
means, the best for table use. Red Nanseniond, however, is 
an exception, as its table quality is quite good. 

CHARACTER OF FLESH AND TABLE QUALITY. 

Character of flesh as tested by the author and given in 
table twenty-four, may be relied upon when the tubers are 
grown upon a somewhat heavy, damp, clay soil. From this 
table the grower can select a variety which is apt to suit his 
liking. As stated previously, the author prefers a soft, sugary 
potato best, and therefore makes the Pumpkin the best i-i a 
scale from to 10. Flowever, the soft, mealy Nansemonds 
are very flue and are preferred in most of the northern states. 
They are mostly grown in New Jersey and sell higher than any 
other varieties in most northern markets. The vineless vari- 
ety which is now attracting great attention is somewhat be- 
tween a soft, sugary variety and a soft mealy one, and it is, 
therefore, not so apt to meet with so much objection from 
different parts of America on its table quality. 

YIELD FROM VINE CUTTINGS. 

It is well known that potatoes will grow from vine-cuttings 
if the cuttings are put into the ground in time to mature a 
crop before frost. They will mature a very fine crop in four 
months if the season is good. The author has grown a good 
crop from vine-cuttings of the Gen. Grant variety in 72 days. 
The readiness with which the vine-cuttings start off to grow 
depends somewhat on the variety. The heavy, vigorous vines 
start quicker and grow better than the weaker ones. 

TABLE XXV. YIELD FROM VINE CUTTINGS AT TEXAS STATION (1894). 



Length of Ro\»', 50 feet. 



Barbadoes. yield from vine-cuttings planted June 16th 

Georgia \am, yield from vine-cuttings planted June 16th . . . 
Hayti Spanish, yield from vine-cuttings planted June 16th . . . 
Red Nansemond, yield from vine-cuttings planted June 16th. 
Ticotea, yield from vine-cuttings planted June 16th 



Bushels per Acre. 


Large. 


Small. 
18 50 

"ii'io 


Total. 


99 80 
75 00 
108 89 
106 50 
44 45 


118 30 
75 00 
108 89 
110 60 
41 45 



SWEET POTATO CULTUEE FOR PROFIT. 



49 



TABLE XXVI. YIELD FROM VINE-CUTTINGS AT LOUISIANA STA- 
TION (1894). 



Variety. 



Barbadoes 

Bermuda 

Big Stem Jersey 

Canal 

Delaware 

Dog River 

Early Golden 

Georgia 

Gold Skin 

Hayman 

Matejito 

Negro Cholier 

New Jersey 

Norton 

Peabody 

Padisha 

Pumpkin 

Providence 

Red Nansemond 

Southern Queen 

Strasburg 

Spanish (Yam) 

Shanghai (or California) 

Sugar (or C'reole) 

Southern Red (Yam) 

Southern Yellow (Yam) . . . 

Ticotea 

Tennessee 

Vineless 

Yellow (Yam) 

Yellow Nansemond 

Java No. 1 

Java No. 2 

Java No. 3 

Java No. 4 

Java No. 5 



Yield in Bush. 

when planted 

August 15. 



36 

51 

31 

IS 

46 

93 

145 

67 

103 

155 

13 

10 

31 

114 

186 

197 

82 

124 

228 

114 

186 

114 

41 

82 

134 

108 

103 

171 

176 

114 

51 

72 

238 

67 

82 

103 



Per cent. Merch- 
antable . 



Culls 
Culls 
Culls 
Culls 

5 per cent. 
Culls 
50 per cent. 

5 per cent. 
10 per cent. 
10 per cent. 
Culls 
Culls 
Culls 

5 per cent. 
30 per cent. 
60 per cent. 
Culls 

80 per cent. 
75 per cent. 
.'iO per cent. 
50 per cent. 
Culls 
Culls 

15 per cent. 
'20 per cent. 

5 per cent, 
(^ulls 

15 per cent. 
10 per cent. 
Culls 
( uUs 
Culls 
25 per cent. 

5 per cent. 
10 per cent. 
30 per cent. 



From this table it will be seen that Eed Nansemond made 
228 bushels from cuttings planted as late as August 15th, 
Early Golden and Strasburg each made 186 bushels. This is 
important to know, because of the fact that if for some rea- 
son one should fail to get a stand by first planting, a crop can 
be made from cuttings if the season be favorable, when they 
are planted in the southern states as late as August 15th. The 
best "seed" are obtained from vine-cuttings. 



No- 



CHAPTER XII. 

Classification and Description of Varieties. 

nnenclature. 

The great confusion existing among growers in re- 
gard to proper classification of sweet potatoes, and conse- 
quently the very indefinite way writers often refer to them, 
lead me to devote some space here to discussion of this subject 



50 SWEET POTATO CULTURE FOR PROFIT. 

In regard to the character of flesh when baked, an attempt 
is frequently made to divide them into two classes: one with 
the soft, dry and mealy flesh is known simply as the sweet 
potato; and the other with soft and mushy flesh is known as 
"yam'' potato. Especially is this true in the southern states. 
This classilication is misleading, because varieties vary some 
with seasons and with soils. One variety may be known 
simply as sweet potato in one state and as "yam" potato in 
another. In chapter two it is stated that the word "yam" 
has been borrowed from a vegetable already described as 
Chinese Yam. The Yams, strictly speaking, belong to the 
genera Dioscorea. It would greatly clear up the confusion if 
this little word "yam" were dropped in reference to sweet pota- 
toes, and used exclusively in reference to vegetables belonging 
to Chinese Yam type. After making the sweet potato a special 
study for four years, and being confronted all this time with 
a bad system- of classification and confusing nomenclature, 
the author finally decided to divide them into groups ac- 
cording to the characteristics of the foliage. First group 
includes those with round or entire foliage; second group 
includes those with shouldered foliage, and third group in- 
cludes those with split or lobed foliage. This system was 
adopted by the author December, 1893, and published in bul- 
letin No. 28 of the Texas Experiment Station. It was stated 
then, that while variations in the foliage would appear on the 
same variety and often on the same vine, still all the varia- 
tions would come under the three groups just mentioned, and 
one prevailing type would be found on each variety. The 
foliage varies most when old, and the true type is seen better 
when young. 

This system would seem to be more rational than one 
based upon the character of the tubers, since the sweet potato 
has been propagated so long from tubers and not from true 
seed, as is the case with corn or cotton, so that great variation 
occurs in type of tubers, and also since the foliage comes next 
to the flower and true botanical seed which constitute the main 
basis of botanical classification of phanerogamic plants. If this 
"foliage system'' is taken in connection with a short description 
of the color of the tubers and of the vines, there is scarcely a 
variety which cannot be distinguished from all other varieties. 



SWEET POTATO CULTURE FOR PROFIT. 51 

At the same time, it must be understood that there are many 
so called varieties which are nothing more than synonyms of 
other varieties. These names have come about in most cases 
by there having been no well defined description of varieties 
extant for comparison and each individual grower thinking he 
had a new variety gave it a different name. That varieties do 
originate under culture cannot be successfully disputed, as an 
example, we have the Vineless variety; but in the interest of 
better nomenclature and clearer understanding, the author en- 
ters a plea here for growers to send samples of potato, includ- 
ing tubers and foliage to the experiment station of the state 
in which they live for identification if they think they have a 
new variety and they cannot determine from the classification 
and description given here whether it is or not. It might be 
well to state that the system of classification given here has 
already been adopted by two other experiment stations and 
great improvement has since come about in nomenclature. 
It is hoped this improvement will continue until we shall 
have as little confusion in sweet potato nomenclature as we 
now have in irish potato nomenclature. Before giving the 
varieties belonging to each group it may be well to give some 
rules for naming vegetables. 

RULES FOR NAMING VEGETABLES. 

An effort will be made in this publication to make all 
names of varieties conform to rules given in a report of a 
committee of experiment station horticulturists, published in 
1889, in regard to naming vegetables. This committee was 
appointed by the Association of American Agricultural Col- 
leges and Experiment stations, January, 1889. The following 
is a copy of the rules reported and recommended : 

"1. The name of a variety should consist of a single word, 
or at most of two words. A phrase, descriptive or otherwise, 
is never allowable; as, Pride of Italy, King of Mammoths, 
Earliest of All. 

2. The name should not be superlative or bombastic. 
In particular all such epithets as New, Large, Giant, Fine, 
Selected, Improved, and the like should be omitted. If the 
grower or dealer has a superior stock of a variety, the fact 
should be stated in the description immediately after the 



52 



SWEET POTATO CULTURE FOR PROFIT. 



name rather than as part of the name itself; as, 'Trophy, 
selected stock.' 

3. If a grower or dealer has produced a new select strain 
of a well known variety it shall be legitimate for him to use 
his own name in connection with the established name of the 
variety; as, Smith's Winningstadt, Jones's Cardinal. 

4. When personal names are given to varieties, titles 
should be omitted; as, Major, General, Queen. 

5. The term hybrid* should not be used, except in those 
rare instances in which the variety is known to be of hybrid 
origin. 

6. The originator has the prior right to name the variety; 
but the oldest name which conforms to these rules should be 
adopted. 

7. This committee reserves the right, in their own publica- 
tions, to revise objectional names in conformity with these 
rules." 

VARIETIES OF SWEET POTATOES CLASSIFIED ACCORDING TO THE 
CHARACTERISTICS OF THE FOLIAGE. 



1. Varieties loith entire or round foliage. 




Fig. 14. 



Ca nal, 

D og River, 

Florida (Yam), 

Gen. Grant, 

Hall, 

Hay man (notched some) 

Hayti Spanish, 

Matejita, 

Nancy Hall, 

Orange, 

Padisha, 

Pumpkin, 

Red Nose, 

Shanghai, 

Southern Queen (shoulder- 
ed some). 



*A hybrid is the product of a true species. There are few, if any, in- 
stances of true hybrids among common garden vegetables. The union 
of varieties gives rise to a cross. 



SWEET POTATO CULTURE FOR PROFIT. 



53 



2. Varieties with shouldered foliage. 




Fig. 15. Fig. 16 

Big Stem Jersey (Fig 15), Early Golden (Fig. 15), Providence (Fig. 15), 
Black Spanish, (Fig. 16), Gold Skin (Fig. 15) Queen of the West (Fig. 

Brazilian (Fig. 16), Jersey Red (Fig. 16), 15) 

Bronze (Fig. 15), Nansemond (Fig. 15), Red Bermuda (Fig 15), 

Oavitt's Earliest(Fig. 15), Negro Choker, (Fig. 15), Red Nansemond(Fig. 15) 
Chinese 30 days(Fig. 15), New Jersey (Fig. 15), Strasburg ( notched 
Cuban (Yam, Fig. 15), Norton (Fig. 15), some), (Fig. 15), 

Delaware (Fig. 15), Peabody (Fig. 15), WliiteBrazilian(Fig. 15), 

Extra Early Caroline Peruvian(Yam,Fig 15), Yellow Jersey (Fig. 15), 
(Fig. 15), Pool's (Yam, Fig. 15), Yellow Nansemond (Fig. 

15). 
3. Varieties with deeply cut or lohed foliage. 




Fig. 17. 



54 



SWEET POTATO CULTURE FOR PROFIT. 



Georgia (Yam), 
Rockport, 



Tennessee, 

Ticotea, 

Barbadoes. 



Yellow (Yam), 
Vineless, 



Haynian, 
Hayti Spanish, 
Norton , 
Pool's (Yam), 
Providence, 
Rockport, 
Southern Queen, 



Shanghai, 

Stras1)urg, 

Tennessee, 

Ticotea 

Vineless, 

White Brazilian, 



Big Stem Jersey, 
Orange, 

Chinese 30 days, 
Delaware , 



Dog River, 

Hall (Nancy Hall), 

Negro Choker, 



VARIETIES CLASSIFIED ACCORDING TO COLOR OF THE SKIN OF 

THE TUBER. 

1. Varieties with white skin. 

Barbadoes, 
Cavitt's Earliest, 
Cuban (Yam) 
Early Golden, 
Florida (Yam), 
General Grant, 
Georgia (Yam), 

2. Varieties ivith a dull straw colored skin. 

Extra Early Caroline, Queen of the West, 

Gold Skin, Red Nose, 

Nansemond, Yellow Jersey, 

New Jersey, Yellow Nansemond. 

Varieties with light red skin. 

Orange, Pumpkin, 

Padisha, Red Bermuda, 

Peruvian (Yam) Red Nansemond. 

4. Varieties with purple skin. 
Black Spanish, Canal, Matejita, Brazilian. 

DESCRIPTION OF VARIETIES. 

1. Varieties with entire foliage. 



Canal. -Vines 
purple, very 
strong and vigor- 
ous; tubers very 
large, oblong, 
smoother than 
Brazilian, which 
they somewhat 
resemble. It was 
introduced from 
Cuba. See figure 
18. 

Dog Eiver. — 

Foliage pale green, 
often a slight 
notch on the sides; 




Fig. 18. 



SWEET POTATO CULTURE FOR PROFIT. 



55 




vines vigorous, 
root slightly, 
length seven feet; 
tubers roundish to 
oblong, medium 
size, skin white, 
having prominent 
veins. Has low 
table qualities. So 
named from be- 
ing grown in the 
Dog River section 
of Alabama. See 
figure 19. 

Fig. Ut. 

General Grant (Florida Yam). — Foliage pale green, 
with purplish veins underneath; tubers very large, ^ oblong, 
white. A vigorous grower, heavy yielder, and has very fair 
table quality; grows well from vine-cuttings. In some parts 
of Georgia it is called "Caddie Potato." The vines are rather 
short and heavy, which fact has led some to give it the name 
"Bunch Variety.'' It is a very heavy yielder. 

Hall (Nancy Hall). — Foliage light green; tubers rather 
conical, light purple, grows vigorously and is a heavy yielder, 
Mr. A. J. Aldrich, Orlando, Florida, Avrote me that it came 
up from a package of flower seed planted by Miss Hall, and 
hence its name. 

Hayman. — Foliage pale green, abruptly conical with prom- 
inent notches on the side; vines vigorous, root profusely, 
length seven feet; tubers oblong, large and white. A prom- 
ising variety but easily affected by drouth. The following is 
taken from a bulletin published by the Louisiana Experiment 
station : 

"Dr. W. R. Capehart, Avoca, N. C, gives its history as 
follows: In 1856, Capt. Dan Hayman was master of the 
schooner, "Harriet Ryan," freighting between the West Indies 
and Elizabeth City, N. C. While on one of these trips he 
purchased a supply of sweet potatoes at one of the West In- 
dia Islands. A Methodist clergyman on visiting the ship after 
its arrival in Elizabeth City was attracted by the fine appear- 



56 



SWEET POTATO CULTURE FOR PROFIT. 




Fig. 20. 

ance of the potato, obtained a few and propagated them. 
From this source came all the Hayman potatoes now grown in 
this country." See figure 20. 

Hayti Spanish. — Foliage light green, with purple veins 
on under side ; tubers large, oblong and white ; a vigorous 
grower and heavy yielder. Perhaps same as Shanghai. 




Fig. 21. 
Matejita. — Foliage darlj; green, with purple veins ; tubers 
rather oval, large, purple. A vigorous grower but does not 



SWEET POTATO CULTURE FOR PROFIT 



57 



stand drouth so well, 
figure 21. 



Supposed to have come from Cuba. See 




Fig. 22. 



Orange. — Foliage light green ; tubers medium size, light 
purple; affected considerably by dry weather. Table quality 
rather poor, 

r^v Padisha . — 

Foliage green; tub- 
ers resemble 
Pumpkin in type, 
but the quality is 
much poorer; 
large, light red. 
Originated in 
Georgia. See fig- 
ure 22. 

Pumpkin. — 
Foliage pale green, 
conical in shape; 
V in e s vigorous, 
root profusely, 
length six feet; tubers oblong, large, dull yellow. An ex- 
cellent sugary variety, which is appreciated for its excellent 
table qualities in the southern states. It is not a vigorous 
grower nor a heavy 
yielder. The table qual- 
ity is very much lower- 
ed when grown on a 
stiff, clay soil. When 
grown on a loose, sandy 
soil the author prefers 
it to all others. See fig- 
ure 23. 

Red Nose (Heck- 
ler Yam.) — Foliage pale 
green, resembles Nan- 
semond ; vines root pro- 
fusely, length six feet; ■^^" 
tubers oblong, medium size, dull straw color; not red as the 
name would indicate; practically same as Nansemond. 




58 



SWEET POTATO CULTURE FOR PROFIT. 




Fig li. 



Shanghai (Cal- 
ifornia) . — F o 1 i a g e 
pale green, conical 
in shape; sides some- 
times slightly notch- 
ed; vines very vig- 
orous, do not root; 
length five feet, tub- 
ers oblong to round, 
very large and white. 
Made the largest 
yield in a test made 
by the author during 
a very dry season. A 
valuable variety to 
grow for stock. It 
also makes a very 
fair table variety. 
See figure 24. 



Southern Queen. — Foliage pale green, sometimes prom- 
inently notched on the side; vines very vigorous, root pro- 
fusely, length eight feet; tubers obtuse, medium size, white. 
A reliable variety which is much grown in the south. It is, 
perhaps, the same as Boone's White, Cuba Yam and White 
St. Domingo. See figure 25. 




Fig. 25. 



SWEET POTATO CULTURE FOR PROFIT. 



69 



Southern Red — In foliage the variety somewhat resem- 
bles the Red Nansemond. Foliage green and heart shaped, 
vines slightly red; tubers pale red. See figure 26. 




Pig. 26. 
2. Description of varieties with shouldered foliage. 

Big Stem Jersey. — 
Foliage often variable, 
pale green, vines vigorous- 
tubers round to oblong, 
medium size, skin dull yel- 
low. Has only fair table 
quality. See figure 27. 

Black SPANiSH.—Foli- 
age pale green ; tubers 
variable in shape, but the 
variety is practically"same 
as Brazilian ; vines are vig- 
orous and grow very long; 
tubers are spindle shaped, 
small deep purple, rough 
and uneven, grow widely 
apart. Table quality is 
only fair. Keeps well. 
Brazilian. — Foliage purple when young, when older 
light green, sagitate; vines purple at tips, vigorous, root 
slightly, length twelve feet; tubers long, medium size and fair 




Fig. 27. 



60 



SWEET POTATO CULTURE FOR PROFIT. 




Fig. 2^ 



quality, light purple; grow widely apart and deep down into 
the soil. Keeps well and has very fair table qualities. 

Bronze.— Foliage dark purple ; tubers oblong, dull straw 
color; table quality high; promising new variety. Originated 

in Kansas. 

Chinese 30 Days.— 
Foliage when young is 
purple, and in this re- 
spect differs from near- 
ly all others; tubers 
roundish, rather small, 
dull straw color; not a 
heavy yielder. Origin, 
China. 

Delaware. — Foli- 
age pale green, obtuse; 
vines root profusely ; 
tubers oblong, medium 
size, dull yellow. Practically same as Gold Skin. See figure 28. 

Earliest (Cavitt's). — Vines slightly purple; tubers large, 
roundish and white ; one of the earliest varieties. Obtained 
from Major W. E. Cav- 
itt, Bryan, Texas, who 
states that one or two 
hills were discovered 
by, a farmer living north 
of Bryan. It is very 
early. 

Caroline (Extra 
Early). — Foliage pale 
green, obtuse conical; 
vines root slightly; tub- 
ers oblong, rather small, 
dull yellow; grow in a 
bunch like Gold Skin. 

Early Golden. — 

Foliage pale green, 

deeply shouldered; 

Fig. 29. 




SWEET POTATO CULTURE FOR PROFIT. 



61 




["^^^^ 



vines root slightly, 
length seven feet; tub- 
ers conical, medium 
size, dull white. ' Ap- 
pears to have originat- 
ed in Virginia, as "a 
sport of the Early Red." 
See figure 29. 

Gold Skin. — Foli- 
age pale green, obtuse; 
vines root slightly, 
length five feet; tubers 
oblong, medium size, 
?dull yellow, grow in a 
beautiful bunch near 
^'iG. 30. tlie surface. Rather 

weak and does not stand drouth well. During a favorable 

season it makes a large yield. See figure 30. 

Jersey Red. — Foliage pale green, with purple veins on 
foliage; tubers oblong, medium size and purple skin. Per- 
haps same as Brazilian. 

Nansemond (Hanover, Mississippi Yellow, Yellow Nan- 
semond, White Nansemond, Yellow Jersey, Jersey Sweet). 
Foliage pale green, leaves medium size, vines make medium 
growth; tubers oblong, smooth, dull straw color. Table 
quality very good. Perhaps the most popular variety grown 
at this time. Hence the great number of synonyms. 

Negro Choker ( Bermuda, Red Bermuda, Orleans Red, 
Louisiana Red, Negro Killer, Early Ireland). — Foliage pale 
green, deeply shouldered; vines vigorous, root considerably, 
length nine feet ; tubers roundish, large, light purple, prom- 
inently veined, yields heavily and is easily grown. Recom- 
mended for stock. Keeps well. 

Norton. — Foliage pale green ; a few slight projections on 
the sides; vines vigorous, root prof usely, length six feet; tub- 
ers roundish, rather large and white. A rank growing vari- 
ety of low table quality. 



62 



SWEET POTATO CULTURE FOR PROFIT. 




Peabody , — 
Foliage pale green, 
vines vigorous, 
root profusely, 
length ten feet; 
tubers oblong, 
large, light purple. 
Same type as Ne- 
gro Choker. Said 
to have originated 
by Charles Pea- 
body, Columbus, 
, -^^m.^^ Georgia. See tig- 

Peruvian. — 
Foliage green; tub- 
ers resemble Hall, 
roundish, light 
purple, vigorous 
grower, has ])oor 
table quality. 

Pool (Pool's Yam ). — Foliage green with purple veins; 
tubers roundish, very large, white. A vigorous grower. Ob- 
tained from Julius Schnadelbach, Grand Bay, Alabama, who 
states that the Pool's Yam was brought from Louisiana about 
eight years ago by Mr Pool, hence its name. 

Providence. — 
Foliage green, with 
purple veins at base; 
tubers large, rather 
oblong, vigorous 
grower; said to have 
originated in Florida. 
See figure 32. 

Queen (of the 
West). — F ol i a ge' 
green, tubers round- 
ish, dull straw color. 

Fig. 32. 



Fig. 81. 




SWEET POTATO CULTURE FOR PROFIE. 



63 



Seed obtained from 
Thomas Nicholson, 
El Modena, Califor- 
nia, who stated it is 
a sport of the Red 
Jersey, found by him 
in 1890. A promising 
new variety. 

Red Nansemond 
— Foliage pale green, 
deeply lobed, obtuse; 
vines root slightly, 
length seven feet; 
tubers oblong, med- 
ium size, color dull 
Fig. 33. red; sells well in 

northern markets. A good variety of the dry and mealy 

character. See figure 33. 

Strasburg. 




Foliage green; tub- 
ers large, roundish, 
white. Stands drouth 
well but has poor 
table qualities. See 
figure 34. 

White Brazil- 
ian. — Foliage green 
and heavy ; vine 
slightly purple ; tub- 
ers medium size, ob- 
long, white. A vig- 
orous grower; table quality rather poor. 




Fig. 43. 



3. Description of varieties with deeply cut or lohed foliage. 

LOBED VARIETIES. 

Barbadoes. — Foliage pale green, practically same as 

Tennessee except a little larger, lobes prominent ; vines root 

slightly, length seven feet; tubers oblong, medium siz;e, 

whitish. Does not yield heavily. See figure 35. 



61 



SWEET POTATO CULTURE FOR PROFIT. 




Fig. 35. 

Georgia ( Yam). — Foliage green, vines rather weak, not a 
heavy yielder. Has good table quality. An old variety. See fig- 
ure 36. 




Fig. 36. 



Java No. 1. — Lobes of foliage prominent; tubers rather 
large and smooth. After testing it one year, I see no special 
qualities to recommend it. Imported from Java by the Louis- 
iana Experiment Station in 1893. 



SWEET POTATO CULTURE FOR PROFIT. 



65 



RoCKPORT. — Foliage green, tubers roundish, large, white; 
keeps well. Obtained from C. Falkner, Waco, Texas, who says 
that he obtained the variety from Mr. Duboise, who lives on 
the coast, in Aransas county, Texas. His family lived on Mat- 
agorda Island, and claims to have kept the seed for thirty years. 
Named Rockport from the fact it has been much grovvn at 
Rockport, Texas. I have known specimens to keep sound in 
the open air at Rockport for twelve months. 




Fig. :^7. 

Sugar (Creole). — Foli- 
age green, very small and 
weak; vines root profusely, 
length seven feet, very weak 
like Tennessee; tubers ob- 
long, medium size, dull 
white. Of good quality 
but yields slightly. See fig- 
ure 37. 

Tennessee. — This is not 
a strong growing variety, 
foliage green; tubers pale 
yellow and smooth, flesh 
cooks yellow. See figure 38. 




Fig. 38 



66 



SWEET POTATO CULTURE FOR PROFIT. 




Tfc_orE\ 



Fig. 39. 
TicoTEA. — Foliage light green color; tuber^white, long, 
smooth, not a heavy yielder. Came from Cuba. See figure 
39. 




Fig. 40. 
Spanish (Yam). — Foliage pale green, vines root slightly, 
length seven feet; tubers oblong, medium size, dull white. 
Injured by drouth. See figure 40. 



SWEET POTATO CULTURE FOR PROFIT. 



67 




Yellow (Yam). 
— Foliage dark green, 
lobes prominent; 
vines root profusely, 
length seven feet, 
tubers oblong, med- 
ium size, white, veins 
prominent, very fair 
quality. Perhaps the 
parent of the Vine- 
less. Has excellent 
table quality. See 
figure 41. 

ViNELESs (Bunch 
Yam, Early Bunch 
Yam) — Foliage dark 



Fig. 41. 




green, large, deep- 
ly lobed; vines vig- 
orous, root pro- 
fusely, length two 
and one-half feet, 
tubers oblong to 
nearly round, good 
size, white, vein- 
ed. Stands drouth 
well. A valua- 
ble new variety. 
See'figure 42. 



Fig. 42. 
CHAPTER Xin. 
Variation of the Tubers or "Sports." 

The fact that tubers of sweet potatoes do vary in shape and 
color is well known to all sweet potato growers. Sometimes 
variations take place not only in the tubers but in the vines 
also. Some of our best varieties have come about in this way. 

There has been various ways of trying to account for 
these variations. Some botanists have declared that there 



68 SWEET POTATO CULTURE FOR PROFIT. 

could be no variation of the tuber without cross fertilization, 
but variations have been found where there could possibly 
have been no seed formed. In our experimental work tubers 
which showed streaks of red and white have been found and 
we were satisfied no seed were formed on the ground for sev- 
eral years previous, because no potatoes had been growing on 
the ground previously. Some have tried to account for the 
variation by advancing the theory that the sap mixed where 
the vines crossed. This hardly seems probable. In fact we 
do not know the cause. This fact can be explained no easier 
than can the fact that nectarines occur on the limb of a peach 
tree. In order to obtain the opinions of well known botan- 
ists and scientists on this point, a section of a tuber was sent 
them which showed one side to be light red and the other to 
be white. Their replies are given below in full: 

Ithaca, N. Y., Feb. 11th, 1896. 
Professor R. H. Price, College Station, Texas. 

Dear Professor Price: — I have your letter and also the 
interesting piece of sweet potato. It is one of those things 
which cannot be explained, but I think that I can throw some 
light upon the question. It is, to my mind, just the same 
kind of phenomenon or variation which is likely to occur upon 
leaves or stems, or a flower petal, when those parts have a 
streak or stripe of unusual color. The same thing is occa- 
sionally seen upon apples and is ordinarily attributed to cross- 
fertilization, but such explanation is erroneous, as it is also 
in the case of your sweet potato. What causes these occasional 
stripes and markings upon parts of plants is a question which 
no one can answer, but it is simply an individual peculiarity 
of the plant and I believe has no distinct relation to the 
phylogeny of the plant. A distinct thing is bud variation or 
"mixing in the hill." Yours very truly, 

L. H. Bailey. 



{: 



U. S. Department of Agriculture, 
Division of Botany, Washington, D.C. 
February 11th, 1896. 
Mr. R. H. Price, Agricultural Experiment Station, 

College Station, Texas. 
Dear Sir: — Your letter of February 3rd, accompanied by 
a slice of a sweet potato, was duly received. At my request, 
Mr. B. T. Galloway examined the specimen to ascertain 
whether the carrot-like color of the interior could have been 
caused by fungi, but he found no trace of such organism. In 



SWEET POTATO CULTURE FOR PROFIT. 69 

the absence of any definite knowledge of the condition under 
which the potato grew, and therefore under which this sport 
was formed, it wouhl be futile to attempt an explanation of it. 
There is no necessity, however, of assuming that it was caused 
by a cross between two varieties. Yours very sincerely, 

Frederick V. Coville, Botanist. 

Since writing this chapter I have received the following 
letter from the Horticulturist of the Georgia Experiment Sta- 
tion on variations of sweet potatos, and I am glad to be able 
to give the results of his experiments: 

"The natural grafting or welding of the stalk or vine of 
two contiguous varieties when growing in the same hill, has 
been alleged by many growers to be the agency producing new 
varieties. C. C. L. Dill, previously referred to, who claims 
to be authority on potatoes, boldly advances this th'=',ory ; but, 
if it ever had any foundation from a scientific standpoint, its 
practical possibility has been fully disproved by our Station 
the past season by artificially grafting some 300 hills of Ber- 
muda Red and Early Golden, and Bermuda Red and Georgia 
Yam — red and white varieties together. While most of the 
grafts took well and grew finely, in no instance were mottled 
or "calico" tubers produced, but the roots on the side of the 
amalgamated stem (to use a word out of its proper significa- 
tion) made white tubers, and those on the other side red tub- 
ers, with all the individual characteristics of the respective 
varieties preserved. We have not yet published this test, but 
facts are as stated. 

Trusting soon to see your forthcoming work on the sweet 
potato, which will unquestionably be a most valuable contribu- 
tion to our horticultural literature, I remain with high re- 
gards. Very truly yours, 

H. N. Starnes.'' 

"I neglected to state that 'approach' grafting was em- 
ployed, the roots of both varieties remaining intact — so also 
the vines above the point of junction. They were simply con- 
verted into a sort of 'Siamese Twins' — the point of juncture 
just below the surface of the ground; but the union was much 
more perfect than could possibly have been establish by 
any natural process." 

CHAPTER XIV. 
Shipping and Marketing. 

There are many places in different states, like the "Tide- 
Water" section of Virginia, where the sweet potato grows to 
success and may be shipped on water at small cost. If the 
farms are located further inland near streams, small boats 



70 SWEET POTATO CULTURE FOR PROFIT. 

may be used to carry the tubers down to the markets. Trans- 
portation is cheap in this way and there is no risk from bruis- 
ing. To bring the highest price the tubers should be rubbed 
off, so as to present a clean and attractive appearance. This 
will bring out most clearly their natural color. If the crop is 
grown in a sandy, loamy soil it will take but little trouble to 
clean the tubers properly. The grower should always seek to 
build up his trade by selling first-class potatoes put up in good 
shape and bearing the name of the variety and grower's private 
trade mark. 

If the tubers are intended to be shipped long distances, 
they are usually put up in ordinary flour barrels holding about 
three bushels each. In cold weather it is ])est to line the bar- 
rels with two or three thicknesses of old newspapers. After 
the tubers are well shaken down in the barrel and filled up 
rounding full, the top is usually covered with some paper and 
then with some strong, coarse cloth. A hoop is pressed down 
over this cloth and nailed. 

It is best not to risk shipping a large quantity at once, 
unless the condition of the market is known with certainty. 
If the grower has a good commission man whom he knows 
and can rely upon, it is of great benefit; otherwise it is apt to 
be found best to ship a few at a time until the condition of 
the market is known. In all cases, the grower should seek to 
build up a private trade by being honest, and by packing the 
tubers in a neat and attractive way, and by putting his own 
trade mark on each package. Grow the varieties the market 
demands. Let the tubers be dry when they are shipped, so 
that soft rot will not set in if warm weather comes while they 
are so closely confined in the barrels. 



CHAPTER XV. 

Diseases of the Sweet Potato. How to Prevent 
the Injury done by Them. 

The sweet potato is subject to injury by many diseases. 
Many of them live upon the sweet potato and produce the 
condition commonly known as rot. They are in their nature 
similar to moulds, mildews, smuts, rust and black rot of the 
grape. They are low forms of vegetation belonging to the 
group known as fungi. A fungus is a chlorophyllous, sapro- 



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71 



phytic, or parasitic plant. Fungi live upon other organisuis 
and absorb their nutriment from other tissues, and produce 
the condition known as rusts, moulds, rots and mildews. 

The life history of many of the fungus diseases of the 
sweet potato have been worked out by the aid of a compound 
microscope, and the specific cause of many of the rots is 
known with absolute certainty. 

During the past two years the author has devoted consid- 
erable time to the study of some of these diseases and how to 
prevent the injury done by them, but many of the statements 
given here are taken from the excellent work of Prof. Byron 
D. Halstead on diseases of the sweet potato.* We are also 
indebted to Prof. Halstead for many of the following figures 
on this subject. 

THE SOFT ROT. 

(^Bhizopus Nigricans, e'hr.) 

The soft rot causes more loss, perhaps, than qny other 
fungus ^disease. It may be met with in the field at digging 
time, but it is most destructive soon after the tubers are dug. 
If the tubers are put in large heaps just after being dug, 
where the temperature is warm, the atmosphere close and 
damp, the fungus frequently spreads so rapidly as to cause a 
soft, worthless mass of the whole very soon. 

This mould nearly always effects its entrance into the tuber 
through some broken place in the skin. Frequently at the 




Thc^-xjt'StiaAm. 



Fig 43. — Diseased potato, showing soft rot. a, Diseased end where 

broken off. 6, same" magnified, showing spore sacks. c, Disease at 
bruised place. 

*Bulletin No 76, New .Jersey Experiment Station. 



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place where it was severed from the vine. If there be a 
bruised place it is apt to enter there also. In the foregoing 
figure 43, are shown both places where a tuber was infected 
after being left in our laboratory: a, where the tuber was sev- 
ered from the vine; c, a bruised place. 

The tuber when attacked at once becomes soft and worth- 
less, and gives off an offensive odor. Mycelium (white threads 
of the fungus ) soon grows over the tuber in a felt-like mass. 
The tuber then begins to shrink, and at the infected places 
will appear a dark, powdery mass of spores. These spores 
correspond to seed in higher plants, and are therefore capable, 
each of them, of starting an independent fungus. 

In figure 44, a, is shown a highly magnified view of some 
of the irregular branched threads of the mould as they are 
formed in the potato. These portions of the fungus lie upon 
the cells composing the root, 6, and give an idea of the rela- 
tive size and shape of the mould filaments and of the cells of 
the sweet potato. These mould threads, as they advance 
within the tissue of the root, excrete a substance that is very 
active in causing the starch in the potato cells to dissolve, as 
also the walls of the cell to become partly decomposed. In 
this way the juice of a decaying sweet potato is able to induce 
similar decay in healthy roots. After the mould has grown 
for a short time in the sweet potato, it is ready to form its 
spores. These spores are produced in capsules, formed at 
the tips of the branches that rise from the rotten mass and 
stand upright in the air. If there are any broken places in 
the skin of the potato these spore-bearing threads are quickly 
produced. A tuber with no cut or bruised place in the skin, 
may become entirely rotten without showing an exterior sign 
of mould that has penetrated it in all parts, and if a rupture 
be now made, the spore bearing filaments quickly fill the ex- 
posed place, and, after a few hours, the black, spherical tips 
begin maturing multitudes of spores. In figure 44 is shown a 
single mould plant with its dark, root-like base, g, from which 
several threads arise. At d, is a capsule with the spores 
nearly ripe ; e, shows another after the outer wall has fallen 
away and nearly all the spores have been removed. A collaps- 
ed empty capsule is shown at/. The spores are seen much 
more highly magnified at h, where one of them has sent out a 



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73 




Fkt. 44. — Soft Rot. a. fungus threads ; b, cells of potato ; c, mould 
fungus, much enlarged; d, spore capsule; e, older state; /, collapsed 
capsule; g, base of mould plant; h, spores. (After Halstead. ) 

slender tube in the process of germination. The mould, while 
very contagious, does not, so far as known, begin by infecting 
the leaves of the growing plant, and then pass down the stem, 
as is true of the soft rot of the irish potatoes. 

PREVENTIVE MEASURES. 



Dig the tubers when the soil is dry and during a clear 
warm day. 

Handle them with care so as not to bruise them. 



74 SWEET POTATO CULTURE FOR PROFIT. 

Store them in small piles where the atmosphere is dry and 
they can have good ventilation while going through the "sweat.'' 

In the northern states a stove or furnace is frequently 
used to dry them out. 

Take out all infected tubers as they appear. 

If these suggestions are followed the tubers will be cured 
out in two or three weeks and after this there will not be much 
risk of loss from soft rot. 

THE BLACK EOT. 

(Ceratocystis Fimhriata, e. & hals.) 

After the soft rot there is, perhaps, no other fungus dis- 
ease which causes more loss than the black rot. Unlike the 
soft rot, however, it continues its ravages all through the 
period of storage. This disease is usually evident at digging 
time, but many of the tubers show such small infected places 
that they are not usually noticed, and the tubers find their way 
into the store room, or into the market, where the damage is 
often great. Frequently the middleman and the consumer are 
the losers. An infected tuber when broken open has a dark 
greenish appearance at the point of attack. On close exam- 
ination it will be found that an infected tuber gives off a 
slight odor, which, if detected, is always characteristic. The 
flavor of an infected tuber is slightly bitter. This bitter 
flavor has been attributed to being frozen by many, because 
a very small infected spot is overlooked and is sufiicient to 
taint a whole tuber. In our experience, dry conditions do 
not have much effect in checking the spread of this disease. 
The rot begins at a certain point and gradually spreads in all 
directions until the whole root is decayed. When the spot is 
of the size of a half dollar or so it begins to break up at the 
center, as indicated by the darker irregular places in the mid- 
dle of each decayed spot, illustrated in the engraving. "If a 
portion of the diseased tissue is left for a few hours, under 
favorable conditions of moisture and warmth, a large num- 
of fine threads will be found, as shown in figure 46. These 
threads are of a brown color and bear two sorts of tips, one 
of which, as at 6, is tapering and ends in a number of cells 
placed end to end. The terminal cells fall away and ap- 
pear as at d, still more enlarged, one of which has developed 




Fig. 45. — Black Rot, a, potato affected; b, tip of diseased s{)r()ut 
c, base of sprout with black rot. 



76 



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a germinal tube. A second kind of spore is formed as an en- 
largement of the tip of the branch, as shown at c. These are 
of a chestnut brown color and do not germinate quickly, as is 
the case with the colorless oblong ones above mentioned, and 
as shown at d. Occasionally two of the second form of spores 
are formed upon the same tip, as shown at /, and from this 
fact and the oblong shape, it seems evident that this is an in- 
termediate form." 

"A third kind of 
spore is formed in the 
older portions of a rot- 
ted patch, as for ex- 
ample, in the center 
of the spots shown 
in figure 44. If a por- 
tion of the dark sul)- 
stance be magnified 
somewhat, it will be 
seen to contain a large 
number of black spher- 
ical bodies, each with a 
long neck. The lower, 
bulbous end is a fiask 
in which spores are pro- 
duced, and when ripe, 
they pass up a canal in 
the long neck and make 
their exit through a 
fringed end. As the 
s})ores are mixed with 
an adhesive substance, it is not unusual to find the tips cap- 
ped l)y a globule of yellowish jelley, in which the spores are 
imbedded, as seeu at a, figure 47, but are quickly dispersed 
when moisture is applied." 

"The spores and the methods of their formation from 
strings within the flask are shown at c, figure 47. In a pota- 
to that is in the last stages of decay these flasks may be found 
throughout the whole substance, but in a young patch only the 
first two kinds are present." 




Fig. 46. — Black Rot fungus enlarged. 
a, branching filament ; b, spore bearing 
branch ; c, a second form of tip ; d, oblong 
spores ; e, oval dark spores ; /, a midway 
form of spore. 



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77 




Fig. 47.— Black Rot. An enlarged view of a spore body at a; neck 
more enlarged at b, spores escaping ; spores and their formation at c, 
much magnified. (After Halstead.) 

Another form of black rot is sometimes found in which 
the substance of the potato becomes filled with minute black, 
irregular masses. The root thus affected takes on a color that 
looks like charcoal. Figure 48, a, shows a section of a root 
with this form when fully developed, while at b is seen the 
same at an earlier stage. A highly magnified view of a small 
portion of the fungus is shown at r, and it is seen to consist 
of black nodules with brown threads running from one to an- 
other. The origin and development of these black masses is 



78 



SWKET POTATO CULTURK FOR PROFIT 



shown in tigure 49. At certain places the threads swell, turn 
brown and divide into two or more small cells, as shown at a. b 
and c. These cells continue to increase in number until a mass 
like d is formed, which tinally attains the structure and appear- 




FiG. 48. — a, portion of black potato ; h, the same when younger ; c, a 
magnified view of a portion of a, showing nodules. (After Halstead.) 



ance shown at e. In 
connection with these 
bodies the second form 
of spore is frequently met ^: 
with, ])orne upon the tips 
of threads that nuike up a 
part of the surface. This 
is shown at a in tigure 50, 
while at h is seen a view 
of a cross-section of one 
of the nodules. Many 
fungi have this form, 
which seems to be a provi- 
sion for passing over times 
unfavorable for the im- 




FiG. 49. — The developement of the 



mediate growth of the ""^^^1*^^- «, a thread, thickening; 6 and 

c, the division more advanced ; d and e 



later stages. (After Halstead.) 



fungus. The vital ener- 
gies are conserved in the 
well protected masses, which, while differing in origin and 
structure, perform the function of spores. 



SVVEKT POTATO OULTURE FOR PROFIT. 



79 




Fig. 50. — The nodule a, with spores upon the surface ; b, the same 
in cross-section. (After Halstead .) 

The black rot makes its appearance in the sequence of the 
seasons, early in the spring before the plants are out of the 
the hot-beds. The young sprouts furnish a tender substance 
particularly favorable for the growth of the fungus, and 
therefore if the roots used are not free from the disease, the 
sprouts are quite sure to become infected. The general ap- 
pearance of a sprout that is almost destroyed by bl&ck rot is 
shown at b, figure 45. Large black, dead patches are seen 
upon the surface of the pale base, c, of the plant, while the 
first leaf and the entire upper portion are killed and brown. 
The whole heart of the stem is discolored and the ])lant is 
worthless for setting in the field. Sprouts as badly "marked" 
as the one shown are usually discarded at setting-time, but it 
is those that are only slightly affected, and therefore pass 
unnoticed, that are most dangerous. Such when placed in 
the field will continue to grow and nothing may be observed, 
unless it be a general feebleness, until harvest time, when one 
or all of the roots are found to be affected with the black rot. 

From the investigation of the subject, it is seen that the 
black rot fungus is abundantly supplied with spores, and they 
may be found in one or more forms in every patch of diseased 
substance in the root or sprout. These spores being formed 
underground, as a rule, tend to charge the soil with the germs 
of infection. How long the spores can remain alive and 
inactive is not known, but very likely for many years, and the 
roots of one crop may become inoculated from the fungus of 
a previous crop upon the same soil. In like manner, the 
spores, being light as dust, can be carried from one field to 
another by the winds. The difliculties of applying a satisfac- 



80 SWEET POTATO CULTURE FOR PROFIT. 

tory remedy are not easily overcome, for the trouble is so 
largely under ground. In the first place, there is no doubt 
but that only healthy slips should be used, which means the 
careful selection of perfectly sound roots for the hot-bed, 
in order to get the best plants it is' possible to use some 
remedy in the hot-bed, as, for example, a compound of 
copper, the Bordeaux mixture, or similar subtance which 
will tend td keep the sprouts from out side contamina- 
tion. There is also something in the setting of the plants, 
for if they get a poor start, as from chilling rains, they 
are weakened, and thereby made more susceptible to the 
attacks of the black rot. It must not be considered that 
the circumstances of the season or conditions of the soil 
are in any sense the cause of black rot, as a specific fungus is 
necessary for that, but it like all other living things, is de- 
pendent upon its surroundings. It seems impracticable to 
apply any substance to the soil to kill the germs that have 
accumulated there. As a rule, the only way is to let the 
fungus starve out by withholding the crop upon which it 
feeds until the germs become extinct. While a grower with 
superior sweet potato land may be loath to set aside his best 
crop, there is no doubt that in some cases, in the long run, 
it would be most economical. In our experience with the 
disease, we have found that the purple skin varieties resist 
the fungus best, the light red skin next and the white skin 
varieties least. 

Wherever enough potatoes can be grown from vine-cut- 
tings for seed the following year this fungus can be easily 
gotten rid of if the crop is planted on fresh land. The 
author has weeded out tubers badly infected with it and 
planted slips from them and the crop would be almost ruined. 
Vine-cuttings were taken from these badly infected tubers as 
they grew in the field and were planted out July 19th, and 
they grew a crop at the rate of 150 bushels per acre of 
clean, nice and healthy tubers. I consider this the very best 
way of getting rid of the fungus after trying several fungi- 
cides upon the tubers during storage. 

Of course, vine-cuttings to grow seed from should not be 
planted on infected soil. This second crop can not be grown 
in the northern states because the season is too short. Enough 



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81 



cuttings might possibly be started in the green-house to go 
out early enough to grow seed. Good crops from vine-cut- 
tings have been grown successfully as far north as Maryland. 

THE SOIL ROT. 

(Acrocystis Batatas, e. ttHALS.) 

The life history of the soil rot has not been worked out 

with clearness. Its specific forms are rather obscure. The 

habits and spore formation are quite different from those of 

the black rot. The roots are usually attacked while quite 




Fig. 5L— Two sweet potatoes showing the soil rot. (After Halstead. 



82 



SWEET POTATO CULTURE FOR PROFIT. 



small, sometimes at different places, in the worst cases nearly 
all over the surface. It is a peculiarity of the disease that the 
infected portion ceases to grow, while the healthy part on 
each side continues to grow. In this way the roots present a 
very uneven appearance. The parts surrounding the infected 
places are healthy and edible. The infected places are fre- 
quently not large, and they surround a small rootlet that may 
still be found fastened to the center. It is when the attack 
is early in the life of the root that the greatest damage is done 
for it is then that the young root is girdled or eaten into on one 
side so that its future growth is irregular and very much check- 
ed. As the root enlarges the old infected part becomes cracked 
and largely falls away. It is not unusual to find soil rot spots 
upon potatoes in the market, but as they do not harm the 
surrounding tissue and will not spread further, such small 
"marks," as they are termed, are not particularly damaging. 
Frequently the loss in a badly infected field is very heavy. It 
seems that infection takes place through the tender structure 
of the fine roots, and usually takes place while the whole root 
system is very small. 

The fungus consists of branched threads that terminate 
in spherical bodies of considerable size. These spherical bod- 
ies gradually enlarge and become filled with spores. "When 
the brown portion of the patches are examined, it is found 
that minute brown bodies are scattered irregularly through 
the decayed substance. These are produced in the cells of the 
fungus, sometimes one at a point, as at a, figure 52, but more 
frequently in considerable numbers in enlarged places, as at 6, 




Fig. 52. — Soil rot. a and b, filament with spores; c, swollen tip, with 
spores; d and e, collapsed tip and enlarged spores. (After Halstead.) 



SWEET POTATO CULTURE FOR PROFIT. 83 



and perhaps more often in swollen tips, as shown at c. The 
walls of such spore-bearing cells seem to dissolve at maturity, 
and the spores are thereby set free. At d, one of the col- 
lapsed tips is shown with only a few spores remaining, two of 
them still small and colorless. The appearance of the isolat- 
ed spores is shown at e, very much magnified, but they often 
have an adhering envelope of jelly, as indicated at /. 

An old spot of the field rot contains countless numbers of 
these spores, and they doubtless are capable of remaining in- 
active for a long time. As this fungus is subterranean, and 
the decayed spots soon become crustaceous and break into 
powder, it is evident that a large proportion of the spores re- 
main in the soil where produced and render it unfit for future 
crops. These brown spores also offer an explanation of the pas- 
sage of the soil rot from one field to another, as has often been 
observed . They are smaller and lighter by far than the particles 
of soil that are easily whirled along by driving winds, ^nd being 
in the light, dry ground ready for movement, they go from 
the infested field to another that perhaps has never grown 
sweet potatoes, but will show signs of the soil rot whenever 
the first crop is attempted. From the conditions that surround 
the growth and preservation of this soil rot fungus, it is likely 
that it cannot be eradicated by any of the ordinary methods of 
spraying with copper compounds. It is most emphatically in 
the soil, as every sweet potato grower well knows. With the 
black rot, it has been shown that one of the great precautions is 
to have perfectly healthy sprouts, but this will avail almost noth- 
ing in the case of the soil rot. The infection is by means of the 
brown spores that are lying in and upon the soil. It might 
be possible to dip the roots in some substance not injurious 
to the sprout, that would destroy the germs afterwards com- 
ing in contact with the plants. In like manner, it is possible 
that some substance might be placed in the hills before the 
plants are set out, that would kill the fungus. 

That the season may have much to do with the prevalence 
of the soil rot is to be expected, but that it is more abundant 
in a dry year, as all testify, at first thought, appears contrary 
to the common rule of fungus growths. It must be borne in 
mind, however, that the potato frequently outgrows the dis- 
ease to a considerable extent. The attack may be so violent 



84 SWEET POTATO CULTURE FOR PROFIT. 

as to cut off the crop, but usually there are multitudes of 
roots formed, although small and badly "marked." This fact 
that they are "marked," as it is termed, is only anothei- way 
of saying that the deceased root is not destroyed. Long be- 
fore harvest time the affected places have ceased to enlarge 
and the root has increased its healthy substance, often to such 
an extent that the rot spots are overgrown. In a dry season 
the plant is less able to push ahead and overcome the attack, 
and therefore the yield is light and the rot appears more 
abundant. That the season may be favorable, will always be 
a hopeful element in the grower's calculations." 

Since writing the above, Prof. Halstead has carried on 
Held experiments with several things in testing their effects 
upon checking this disease. The results are given in the fol- 
lowing table: 

TABLE XXVII. EXPERIMENTS IN PREVENTING SOIL ROT. (N. .7. 

STATION 1895.) 

Clean. Marked. Cie.Hn. Marked. 

Lime 24 21? 

Sulphur , 55 22 f '^ 8 

Manure 4 25? 

Corrosive Sublimate 49 32) ^" ^•J 

Kaiuit 8 26) ' ,_ 

Sulphate of Copper 18 40 f 17 .HO 

Cheek 9 29 

These experiments indicate quite clearly that sulphur 
sprinkled along in the rows may prove very beneficial. Prof. 
Halstead makes the following comments on these experiments : 

"The combinations are not, for the present to be recom- 
mended. If calculations are based upon the plot where the 
least sulphur is used, the difference between this and the ad- 
joining checks is sixty pounds of clear roots — that is, a bushel 
— or fifty bushels per acre, worth at least $40.00 The cost of 
the sulphur at three cents a pound would be in this ease $18.75, 
leaving a clear profit of $20.00 per acre. 

It is too soon to conclude what will be the best practice 
upon soil rot infested land. The results of a single season, 
and that an unusual one in dryness at its close, upon a single 
field, indicate that a remedy may be found in both sulphur and 
corrosive sublimate. It remains to be seen whether the appli- 
cation of these substances will act favorably in succeeding 
years." 



SWEET POTATO CULTURE FOR PROFIT. 85 

The tubers treated with sulphur were more smooth and 
kept much better. 

THE STEM ROT. 

"In the so called stem rot of the sweet potato, the vine 
dies at or close to the surface of the ground, and from there 
the decay extends down to, and for a short distance into, the 
potatoes, while in the opposite direction it works along the 
vines to the end, unless they have taken root at some joint, 
when they remain green beyond that point. The moulds 
constantly associated with the decay of the tips of the potatoes 
are not found in the distant ends of the dead vines, and the 
inference is that the decay of the stem at the point of union 
between root and stem, cuts off the supply of water and nour- 
ishment from the soil, and the vine consequently dies, unless 
as before stated, there are secondary roots at some joints along 
the way. This dying of the vines is followed by th-e forma- 
tion of a fresh growth of short stems and leaves in the center 
of the hill and directly over the decaying roots. This charac- 
teristic second growth is due to the roots, often a half inch in 
diameter, putting out sprouts that reach the surface and strug- 
gle to develope new vines, but without success. A hill de- 
stroyed by the stem rot does not recover suflBciently to be of 
value. 

In figure 53, a, is shown one of the larger roots of a hill 
affected with the stem rot in which the decay had proceeded 
for nearly half the root's length, and from the healthy lower 
portion a sprout had grown so vigorously and far that it was 
about ready to begin running. The line between the decayed 
and healthy portion is sharply drawn ; in the former there only 
remains a dry blackened substance with the skin loosely at- 
tached. At ft is a still larger root, from which there are sev- 
eral sprouts growing, and none have reached the surface of 
the soil. The dark, irregular upper end of the root indicates 
the extent to which the stem rot has wrought its destructive 
work. Another end of a root presenting a characteristic view 
of stem rot is shown at c, while at d is seen a much smaller root, 
the whole of which has become decayed and much shrunken. 

The circumstances under which the stem rot is developed 
make it extremely difficult to assign the cause to any one of 



86 



SWEET POTATO CULTURE FOR PROFIT 




Fig. 53. — The stem rot in its different stages. (After Halstead.) 
the fungi found present. Situated as the decay is, at or near 
the surface of the ground, it is a "catch-all'' for any passing 
germs, so that, while finding several species of fungi present, 
and believing that one is the cause of the decay, it is impossi- 
ble to fully decide the case until the trouble has been taken in 
its first stages, which it is difficult to do, but it is a point hoped 
for the coming season. It is probable that the stem rot fungus 
is most nearly related to the soil rot, and that the same meth- 
ods of eradication are to be observed. The germs are in the 
soil and innoculation is direct. It is not, therefore, so much 
a question of healthy plants as a "healthy soil," if such an ex- 
pression is allowable.'' 



SWEET POTATO CULTURE FOR PROFIT. 



87 



THE WHITE ROT. 

A kind of decay very different from any previously des- 
cribed in tliis bulletin, naturally may take the name of white 
rot, for the diseased portions have an almost chalky color as 
well as consistency. Being a dry one, entirely inoffensive, and 
before the root is cut or the skin broken, comparatively incon- 
spicuous, very little complaint has been made of this form of 
rot. It is, however quite destructive in some parts of N. J. 
This trouble is first noticed by the slight depression in the 
root at the base of one or more of the hairs. These depres- 
sions continue to enlarge and deepen, and, in bad cases, sev- 
eral may become confluent, and finally the whole potato is of 
a chalky consistency, and consequently worthless. In figure 
54, a, is shown a p(»rtion of a root with four places that have 




Fig. 54. — The white rot a, portion of potato; b, cells with threads; c, 
spore formation; d and e, a second spore developement. (After Halstead.) 

become deeply infected with the white rot. It will be observ- 
ed that the bottom of each white pit is a dark border; this is 
the portion undergoing the change from the healthy tissue to 
the dry, white and worthless condition mentioned above. It 
is a peculiar characteristic of this form of rot, that this border 
when cut, quickly changes from the ordinary color of the flesh 
of the potato to a peculiar dark olive. A fungus growth is 
found invariably associated with this decay, the threads of 
which are branched and very slender. At b is seen three cells 
of the diseased substance of the potato, with the filaments of 
the fungus passing over and among them in all directions. 



SWEET POTATO CULTURE FOR PROFIT. 



When the diseased root is broken by accident, or purposely 
cut, and the inner substance exposed, under favoring condi- 
tions of warmth and moisture, long verticle threads are soon 
developed, which bear upon their tips a number ol branches, 
each of which terminates in a row of spores, as shown at c, and 
the surface is soon covered withathicklayer of mould differing 
slightly, if any, from the blue mold so common everywhere. It 
was also noticed that a second form of spore is produced 
within the threads of the fungus as they grow in the substance 
of the decaying potato. Frequently they are formed in the 
ordinary slender filaments as local enlargements, and occasion- 
ally the tip of the thread broadens out considerably, as shown 
at c?, and in these, from their contents, spherical bodies are 
formed that take on a thick wall and become free, as seen at e. 
This form of rot has not been studied in the field, and its 
first developement cannot be definitely stated, but it seems 
reasonable to infer that the rootlet or its base is the point of 
attack. While it cannot be stated as a demonstrated fact, it 
is probable that the spores of the mould, which may abound 
in the air, reach the rootlets during the rains, and at other 
times effect a lodgement and germinate and enter the potato. 
The study of this kind of decay, associated with a species of 
Penicillium, will need to be prosecuted further." 

THE DRY ROT. 

{Phonia Batato. e. & hals;) 

"Another kind of sweet potato decay is illustrated in fig- 
ure 55, and may be called dry rot. For example, the whole 
upper end of the root becomes dry, much wrinkled, and exhib- 
its upon the surface a multitude of pimples. At a is shown a 
portion of the stem end of a sweet potato, and upon one side 
the roughened surface is exhibited. The whole substance of 
the potato is diseased, and, with the exception of certain pits 
for the production of spores, there is very little change of color, 
while an almost powdery condition of the substance has re- 
placed the previous juicy tissue of the root, as seen in health. 
At b is seen an enlarged view of a section of the pimply sur- 
face, showing that the rind of the diseased potato is filled 
with minute pits, in which the spores of the fungus, causing 
the trouble, are borne. One of these conceptacles is still more 



SWEET POl ATO CULTURE FOR PROFIT. 



highly magnified at c, and the dark' wall is a conspicuous feat- 
ure, while the spores are still too small to be distinguished. 
At d may be seen some of the spore-bearing cavities as met 
with occasionally buried within substance of the decayed po- 
tato. The lining of the dense dark wall of the cavity is shown, 



i tx 




\,^ 


T^ 




4, ~m 


^^^, 


#<^ 








"•^"^„'- 


t i^. 






.453.**^^ 


X 


■*s ^ 


^iT 




'^■i'e^h- 








- 



Fig. 55. — The dry rot. a, portion of affecteJ potato; b, section show- 
ing fungus pits; c, same enlarged; d, interior spore formation; e, the 
spores and filaments within the pits. (After Halstead.) 

much magnified, at e, where it is seen that slender filaments 
arise and bear the spores upon the tips. A simple cavity can 
thus produce an almost countless number of spores, and each 
spore, under the best conditions, is probably able to inoculate 
a whole potato. 

As this form of rot is as yet only occasionally met with, 
there is no cause for alarm from it, but the fungus nature of 
the dry or pimply rot being established, it is evident that as a 
safe preventive all such decayed potatoes should be destroyed 
and not allowed to remain upon the soil, where the countless 
spores may mature and spread the trouble. All possible pre- 



90 SWEET POTATO CULTUKE FOR PROFIT. 

cautions should be taken in clearing away the rubbish alter 
every crop. 

THF SWEET POTATO SCURF. 

[Moniloclixtes Infuscans. e. & hals.) 

While studying the various diseases of the sweet potato, 
many have asked for information concerning the brown and 
rusty coat that so frequently appears upon the roots. In some 
soils, nearly every potato will be wholly or in part covered 
with a scurf, while elsewhere the roots are free from it. It is 
quite objectionable, for while not causing the decay of the 
roots there is a shrinking of the potatoes, and for this reason 
and the less attractive appearance, the market value of scurfy 
potatoes is a half dollar or so per barrel below those that are 
bright and clean. 

The scurf is due to the growth of a brown fungus that 
penetrates for a short distance into the affected root. At a, 
figure 56, is represented a potato partly covered over with the 
scurf. At those places where the mould is worst the root has 
a wrinkled appearnce, due to the drying out of some of the 
juices from the tissue beneath, and a consequent contraction. 
The fungus starts as a minute light-brown speck, and this 
keeps on spreading and darkening until the whole root may 
become of a quite dark color. The mould continues to spread 
after harvesting, and only stops when the root is completely 
covered with it, or the rind is thoroughly dried out in the 
storage room. 

At h is shown a highly magnified view of the surface of a 
scurfy potato, and four projecting filaments of the fungus are 
represented. Beneath the rind of the root the threads of the 
mould penetrate in all directions near the surface, robbing the 
substance as they go, and cause the withering of the affected 
parts, as above mentioned and shown at a. One of the free, 
upright, dark chains of cells is shown, more highly magnified, 
at c, with two younger filaments coming from the same base, 
and the nearly colorless and smaller thread extending below 
as it penetrates the root and soon forks. At d is another chain 
with less regular cells than c, and a larger portion of the 
branched threads from below the surface, shown at e,some cells 
of which bear dark bodies that may be spores." 



SWEET POTATO CULTURE FOR PORFIT. 



91 



"The scurf is found upon the roots above the potatoes, 
particularly upon that portion from which all the potatoes 
arise. No attempts have been made to find a remedy for this 
trouble. It is likely that the fungus may pass from a scurfy 
root used for propagation, to the sprouts developed from it, 




Fig. 56. — The scurf, a, affected potato; b, magnified surface; c, fila- 
ments of fungus; d and e, other threads, (e) from within the tissue. (After 
Halstead.) 

and therefore it is a precaution to use, if possible, roots for the 
hot-bed that are bright and free from the scurf. It is also 
possible that some quality of the soil may favor the growth pi 
this dark mould, and when this is known something may be 



92 



SWEET POTATO CULTURE FOR PROFIT. 



done to reduce the trouble. Some kinds of manure may favor 
its development, and it is likely something could be applied to 
the Ireshly-dug potatoes that would .check the spread of the 
scurf. But until this mould becomes more damaging than at 
present, it is not probable that growers of "sweets'' will com- 
plain, especially while they have such destructive enemies to 
contend with, as the soil and black rot previously treated in 
this bulletin." 

THE LEAF BLIGHT. 

{Phylostictahataticola, e. and m.). 

"A fungus quite similar in its structure and spore-forma- 
tion to the dry rot, is often met with upon the sweet potato 
leaves, where it produces white, dead patches. 

"At a, Fig. 57, is shown a leaf thus affected with the blight. 
The fungus sends its filaments in all directions through the 
substance of the leaf, and after thriving for a time prepares for 
the production of its spores. Certain spots become dead from 
the excessive sapping by the fungus parasite at such places, 
and in these the spores are developed in flask-shaped bodies 
constructed for the purpose out of the filaments. At b may be 
seen such a spot highly magnified, with a few of the spore con- 




Fig. 57. — The leaf-blight fungus, a, leaf infested; 6, an enlarged 
spot; c, section of one of the spore-bearing bodies; d, magnified spores. 
(After Halstead.) 



SWEET POTATO CULTURE FOR PROFIT. 93 

ceptacles within the dead area. A section made through this 
portion of the leaf gives a longitudinal view of these bodies, as 
seen at c. The multitudes of spores formed within the flask 
pass out through the sharp neck when mature, which may be 
the following summer, when a new crop of leaves is ready to 
receive them. These spores are shown at d, highly magnified. 
While this leaf blight may not attack the root, it neverthe- 
less has a bad effect upon the plant. Anything that is injuri- 
ous to the foliage invariably does harm to the whole plant, for 
the leaves are the organs in which the nourishment is prepared 
for the sustenance of all portions. The parasitic fungus at- 
tacks the vigorous foliage and causes the dead white patches to 
appear. There is but little doubt but that if it should become 
noticeably destructive it might be held in check by spraying 
the young vines with one of the many fungicides, but at the 
present time it is not to be expected that such attempts will be 
necessary. ■' 

THE LEAF MOULD. 

( Cystopus ipomoesepandurauas, farl.). 

"A second form of leaf fungi is much more abundant than 
the blight above mentioned, and no doubt often has a decidedly 
deleterious effect upon the crop. The affected leaves at first 
lose their healthful green color, and the paleness is soon fol- 
lowed by brown patches that after a time become quite dark. 
Upon the under side there may be seen small patches of a 
whitish color. These are places where the leaf-skin has been 
broken and multitudes of white fungus spores have formed. 
At c, in figure 58, is shown a small portion of the under side 
of a sweet potato leaf with a few of the mould patches. A 
section through a patch is shown at (i, and the fungus appears 
as colorless threads, which, crowding together, have ruptured 
the leaf, and the rows of cells expose their tips, from which 
the older spherical spores are constantly ripening and falling 
away. The free spores, more highly magnified, are shown at e. 

There is a second form of spore to this species of mould, 
but as far as known it is not produced upon the sweet potato 
plant. Some parasitic fungi flourish upon several kinds of 
plants, usually closely related, and this is true of the mould in 
question. Many of the morning glory family are subject to its 
attacks, and among others the wild morning glory, sometimes 



94 



SWEET POTATO CULTURK FOR PROFIT. 



called 'Man-of-the-earth.' This weed is not uncommon in the 
sweet potato regions of New Jersey, and is remarkable for the 
massive roots that are sometimes several feet in length and 
weigh twenty or thirty pounds. At one place, where this 







Fig. 58. — The leaf mould, a, viue a8 enlaroied by fungus; 6. winter 
spores; c, portion of leaf as affected; d, section through spot; e, spores, 
highly magnified. (After Halsted.) 

vine-weed was found covering the ground in a large corn lot 
adjoining a sweet potato field, nearly every stem and many of 
the leaves were greatly distorted, as shown at a, in the figure. 
It is a peculiarity of this fungus that its second kind of spores 
are produced in swellings of this sort. These spores are many 
times larger than those borne upon the leaves, and are for the 
purpose of carrying the mould through the winter. When the 
thick, brittle galls break up in spring the spores are set free, 
and are ready to spread the mould to all susceptible plants, the 
sweet potato being one of the leading ones. The chief point in 
bringing in the weedy cousin in this connection is, that it is a 
means of harboring the mould and furnishing proper conditions 
ior its propagation and continuance from year to year. Know- 
ing this, it would be wise to treat the weed as such, and pre- 
vent it from maturing the galls filled with the winter spores of 
the sweet potato mould. This is not the only case in which a 
worthless plant serves as a home for fungi that also prey upon 
field or garden crops." 



SWEET POTATO CULTURE FOR PROFIT. 



95 



ANOTHER STEM ROT. 

{Nectria ipomeoe). 

Prof. Byron D. Halstead* has described this disease, which 
he found occurring on egg plants, under the common name of 
•'egg plant stem rot." We have found it occurring with black 
rot on sweet potatoes, both in the field and in the storage 
room. The disease appears in small pink colored spots on all 
parts of the potato. These pinkish spots, when placed under 
a microscope, are seen to be spore sacks, containing immense 
numbers ol spores. We have succeeded in making a pure cul- 
ture of this disease, and infected a potato with the spores. The 
potato shrivelled up and became very hard and dry in the 
laboratory. 




Fig. 59. — Shows the appearance of the potato that was infected with 
stem rot. a, cut place where the spores were put into the potato. 

While this potato became very dry, shrivelled and hard in 
the laboratory, yet in the field where the soil is damp the in- 
fected tubers are rather soft, and the spores, which occur in 
pinkish spots, appear all over the surface. 

■•Twelfth Annual Report, N. J. Experiment Station, p. 281. 



96 SWEET POTATO CULTURE FOR PROFIT. 



I have not yet noticed it upon the young plants, but it is 
evidently carried to the field on young slips from the bed. It 
is probable also that spores may come from egg plants and 
cause infection. 



CHAPTER XVI. 
Insect Enemies. 

During most seasons the sweet potato is comparatively 
free from injury done by insects. Occasionally, however, the 
injury is quite serious. Most of the leaf eating insects can be 
easily killed at small cost. A brief discussion of the more 
injurious insects will be given, together with remedial meas- 
ures. 

Flea Beetles. These very small, dark, hopping insects, 
often do the young plants great injury when first set out, and 
before the roots have taken sufficient hold to force the plants 
along. They eat numerous small holes in the leaves. One of 
the best ways to prevent their injury is to dip the young plants 
in the following preparation before they are planted out: 

Paris green or London purple, 1 pound ; water, 175 gal- 
lons; lime, 1 pound. 

If the insects should attack the plants at any time after 
they are set out, this mixture should be sprayed on them. 

Cut Worms. These insects are quite injurious on sod 
land. In order to starve them out, it is a good idea to keep 
the field clean some time before the plants are set. If the 
field is made clean some time before planting, and the follow- 
ing precaution taken, the risk from damage will be greatly 
lessened: Thoroughly spray a patch of fine tender grass with 
one pound of London purple, stirred in 100 gallons of water, 
and then cut the sprayed patch close and place small heaps of 
the grass late in the afternoon to prevent wilting, at intervals 
of about ten feet, over the ground. The insects will eat the 
poisoned grass and die. 

Sweet Potato Saw Flies {Schizocerus spp). If these 
insects become serious, spray with formula recommended for 
the flea beetles. 



SWEET POTATO CULTURE FOR PROFIT. 



Tortoise Beetles (Gassidce). Sometimes these insects 
do great injury in both tlieir larva and pupa states, by eating 
the foliage. Spray witli same formula recommended for flea 
beetles. 

Sweet Potato Hawk Moth (Macrosila Cingulata). 

Growers sometimes call this insect the "horn worm." Its 
large size renders it easily seen. Pick it off or spray with 
formula recommended for flea beetles. 

Sweet Potato Root Beetle {Cylas Formicarius). This 
insect is supposed to have come from Cuba. It is spreading 
through some of the southern states, and has done considerable 
damage in Louisiana, Florida and Texas. It lives upon the 
roots. The larva tunnels its way through the tubers, and is, 
therefore, difficult to kill. Growers in the southern states 
should be very careful in buying new seed. The only way so 
far known to check it is to burn the tubers which have the 
insects in. It is a practice of some growers to feed the in- 
fested tubers to hogs. While this method will, no doubt, 
destroy a great many, still it is not so sure as burning the 
tubers. 




Fig. 60. The sweet potato root bore {Cylas formicarius). Extreme 
left hand figure, adult beetle, with enlarged antennae at right. Figure at 
left center, pupa; at right center, larva; at extreme right, portion of 
sweet potato tuber channeled by borer. AH figures except the last con- 
siderably enlarged; natural sizes indicated by hair lines. (Drawn bj^ 
L. Sullivan). 



98 SWEET POTATO CULTURE FOR PROFIT. 

CHAPTER XYII. 

VINELESS SWEET POTATO. 
Origin, History and Value. 

There are a number of so-called vineless sweet potatoes, 
such as "Bunch Yam,'* "Spanish Yam," "Florida Yam," "Vine- 
less Gold Coin Prolific," Etc. "Bunch Yam" is really a syno- 
nymn of vineless. After testing all the so-called vineless or 
bunch sweet potatoes, which I could obtain through extended 
correspondence, I have found only one variety, which comes 
near being a "Vineless" variety. The vines of this variety 
usually grow from two to four feet long, and bear a heavy 
dense foliage on thick fleshy stems, which range from six to 
twelve inches long, owing to soil and season. The character 
of the foliage of this variety is shown in Fig. No. 61. There 
are two variations from the vineless, both of which have foli- 
age alike. The foliage of one is much smaller and less dense 
on the vine. The vines run from four to eight feet. While 
the tubers of one are just like the original, the tubers of the 
other are reddish yellow, and resemble very much the Pump, 
kin type. The character of the foliage on these two variations 
from the true vineless is shown in Fig. No. 62. 

ORIGIN OF THE VINELESS. 

The following in regard to naming this "sport,'' and its 
origin, was published in a bulletin by the author, December, 
1893: 

"We prefer to use the name 'Vineless' because it is shorter, 
and hope the seedmen of the State will so catalogue it that 
growers may not be deceived. 

"It undoubtedly originated in Mississippi in 1884. The 
following in regard to its origin was received from J. A. Burk- 
itt & Sons, Abbott, Miss., October 9th, 1893 : 

* * * "Yours of the 29th of September at hand, in reply 
will state that the Southern Bunch Yam originated on Mr. 
George Harvey's plantation, near Columbus, Miss.'' Also the 
following from Mr. C. C. L. Dill, Dillburgh, Ala., was received 
Oct. 2nd, 1893: * * * "The Vineless is no doubt the same as 
the Bunch, and I am positive that the Bunch Yam is a sport of 
the old fashioned Yam, since Harvey found it growing with 
that variety in 1884, and all the seed people have obtained, no 



SWEET POTATO CULTURE FOR PROFIT. 99 

doubt, can be traced to the same source, no matter what name 
may be given them. I have written up the Bunch for most of 
the leading agricultural papers, and no one has successfully 
disputed its origin. Mr. Harvey lived just over the line in 
Mississippi, and it is only a few miles from here. I am per- 
sonally acquainted with his family and his immediate neighbors, 
and all agree as to its origin, except that it is much larger." 

This seems to be clear in regard to its origin, but while it may 
have been found then there is evidence to which my attention was 
called during the fall of 1895, that a "Vineless" variety was 
known earlier. On this point I quote the following, which was 
published in the ^(^a^jia TTee/f^j/ Constitution, December 26, 1893: 

"In the year 1865 my father, T. D. Padleford, found in a 
patch of the old-fashion long- vine yam, a hill of potatoes with 
very short and heavy set vines, with its leaves set close 
together on vines. In the fall he dug this odd looking 
hill and found it to he exceedingly productive and large in 
size, and splendid for the table. The potatoes were found to 
be close around the stem or root in a cluster, the vines meas- 
uring one to two feet when fully grown, and covered the 
ground with a dense shade. 

"The next season he tested this newly found curiosity 
along by the side of its parent, and when dug in the fall were 
found to outyield its parent by a little more than one-fourth, 
much earlier and easier to cultivate, owing to shortness of 
vines. He then gave the new oddity the name of "Bunch Yam," 
owing to its habits and general appearance, having a very 
bunchy top. My father, T. D. Padleford, claims to be the pro- 
ducer of the Bunch Yam sweet potato, near Edwards, Hinds 
county, Mississippi, though some one has — I suppose unthought- 
edly — changed its name to the Vineless Yam, which name is, 
I think, not appropriate, as the name is liable to mislead any 
one not acquainted with the potato. 

"The Bunch Yam is a sport of the old-fashioned long-vine 
yam; plants of various kinds that do not mature their seed, 
frequently sprout or spring off from the parent plant, and pro- 
duce new varieties this way." * * * 

A. S. Padleford, Edwards, Miss. 

After corresponding with Mr. A. S. Padleford. we found 
him convinced of the truthfulness of the above statement. 

L.orc. 



100 SWEET POTATO CULTURE FOR PROFIT. 

While we have some conflicting evidence in regard to its 
origin, the following points seem to be clear: 1st, it is a sport; 
2nd, it came from the so-called "Yellow Yam.'' It resembles 
tills variety in flavor, character of tubers, and in shape of the 
foliage. 

VALUE OF THE VINELESS. 

After testing the Vineless for three years with a large 
number of other varieties, the following was written in regard 
to it for one of our bulletins, and after testing it another year, 
I do not wish to make any change in what I have written con- 
cerning it: 

"Perhaps no other vegetable novelty which has been 
introduced in the South in recent years has caused more com- 
ment than the vineless sweet potato. The experimental stage 
has been passed, and the value of this variety, like that of the 
bunch Lima bean, has been established beyond question. In 
Bulletin No. 28, we stated that the tops of the vines (leaves and 
stems) could be cut with a mower. It has been stated as an 
objection, that the ground is usually too rough to run a mower 
over. With nearly a level culture, we have grown over three 
hundred bushels per acre of this variety, and all the tops could 
have easily been cut with a mower. The high value of the 
tops for feed has been proven, but it is best to feed them 
green, as they do not cure well. Frequently it is a good prac- 
tice to mow ofP the heavy tops and leave the gritty runners on 
the ground. Owing to the short vines of this variety, which 
seldom grow over two to four feet long, I have seen it planted 
in the corn fields and grown with fair success between the rows 
of corn. The ground can be cultivated later, and the crop can 
be harvested easier than when running varieties are used. 
There is only one strain of the Vineless potato that we can 
endorse. There are two others somewhat inclined to be vine- 
less, but the foliage is much less dense, and the stems of the 
leaves are not near so long nor so heavy as in the case of the 
true Vineless. The other two, which are perhaps varieties of 
the true Vineless, judging from the resemblance of the foliage 
and vines, have not proven themselves to be as pro- 
ductive here as the frue Vineless. This may account 
for the partial failure some have reported on the Vineless. In 
one of these strains there is not only a variation in the vines 



SWEET POTATO CULTURE FOR PROFIT. 101 



and tops, but also in the tubers. One has all the flavor and 
color of the true Vineless, but the other resembles very much 
in color and quality the Pumpkin Yam. This being true, the 
Vineless is likely to become the parent of an entirely new race 
of sweet potatoes, ranging in quality from the soft sugary 
yams of the South to sweet mealy Nansemonds of the North." 




7ejr.Bjnx3t£e2^cmy 



(One-half natural size). 

Fig. 61. This figure shows the arrangement of the leaf stalks on the 
vine of the Vineless variety. 



102 



SWEET POTATO CULTURE FOR PROFIT. 




(One-half natural size). 

Fig. 62. This figure shows the arrangement of the leaf stalks on the two 
varieties from the Vineless variety. 



SWEET POTATO CULTURE FOR PROFIT. 103 

CHAPTER XVIII. 

Legal or Customary Weights of a Bushel of 
Sweet Potatoes in Various States. 

(Bailey's Bide Book). 

TABLE XXVII. 

Pounds. Pounds. 

Arkansas 60 Montana 60 

California Nebraska 50 

Colorado Nevada 

Connecticut New Hampshire 

Delaware New Jersey 54 

Georgia 55 New York 

Illinois 50 North Carolin-' 

Indiana 55 Ohio 50 

Iowa 46 Oregon 

Kansas 50 Pennsylvania 

Kentucky 55 Ehode Island 

Louisiana Tennessee 50 

Maine Texas 55 

Maryland 56 Vermont '. 

Massachusetts 54 Virginia 56 

Michigan 56 West Virginia 

Minnesota Wisconsin 

Missouri 56 Washington 



MISCELLANEOUS LEGAL SIZE. 

"The heap bushel contains 2564 cubic inches in Connect- 
icut and Kansas; 2150.42 inches in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, 
Nebraska, Tennessee, Missouri and Washington. The bushel 
measure must be IQJ inches in outside diameter, the half 
bushel 15j inches, the peck 12J inches, in New York and Cali- 
fornia. 

The bushel inclosure must be 18^ inches in inside diam- 
eter, the half bushel 13,^4 inches, the peck lOK inches, and the 
half peck 9 inches, in New Hampshire and Minnesota. 

Produce sold by dry measure must be heaped as full as 
the measure will hold in Ohio, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, 
California, Oregon and Washington. 

Heap measure must be cylindrical, with a plane bottom in 
New York and California. 

The half bushel is thirteen and thirty-nine fortieths inches 
in interior diameter, and seven and one twenty-fourth inches 
deep in Ohio. It contains 1075 and one-fifth cubic inches in 
Indiana." — Laws of 1892, Bailey's Rule Boole. 



104 



SWEET POTATO CULTURE FOR PROFIT. 



NUMBER OF PLANTS REQUIRED TO SET AN ACRE OF GROUND 
AT GIVEN DISTANCES. 

One acre contains 43,560 square leet. 

To find the number of plants to set an acre, multiply 
together the two distances in feet or tenths of a foot, at which 
the plants stand apart, and divide 43,560 by the product; the 
quotient will be the number of plants required. 



PLANTS 

12x18 inches 29,040 

12x20 " 

12x24 " 

12x30 " 

12x36 " 

12x42 " 

12x48 " 

12x54 " 

12x60 " 

15x15 " 

15x18 " 

15x20 " 

15x24 " 

15x30 " 

15x36 " 

15x42 " 

15x48 " 

16x54 " 



26,036 


18x18 


,21,780 


18x20 


17,424 


18x24 


14,520 


18x30 


12,446 


18x36 


10,890 


18x42 


9,680 


18x48 


8,712 


18x54 


27,878 


18x60 


23.232 


20x20 


20,908 


20x24 


17,424 


20x30 


13,939 


20x36 


11,616 


20x42 


9,950 


20x48 


8,712 


20x54 


, 7,744 





PLANTS 

15x60 inches 6,969 

' 19,360 

' 17,424 

■ 14,520 

• 11,616 

■ 9,680 

• 8,297 

'• 7,260 

• 6,453 

' 5,808 

■ 15,681 

• 13,168 

• 10,454 

• 8,712 

' 7,467 

• 6,534 

• 5,308 



CHAPTER XIX. 

THE WEATHER 
Barometer Indications. 

"Stationary barometer indicates continuation of the pres- 
ent weather. 

"Slowly rising barometer usually indicates lair weather. 

"Slowly falling barometer indicates the approach of a 
severe storm. One-fifth to one-third of an inch is sufficient 
fall to give indications. 

"Sudden rise of the barometer indicates the approach of 
a storm or the breaking of an existing storm. 

"Sudden fall of the barometer indicates high winds and 
probably rain. 

"When areas of low and high barometer are near together, 
heavy gales may be expected." 



SWEET POTATO CULTURE FOR I'ROFIT. 105 



SOME POPULAR WEATHER SIGNS (HORT. RULE BOOK). 

"Long lines of clouds extending up the sky from a com- 
mon starting point, often foretells a storm from that quarter. 

"When the fleecy or cirus clouds settle down into hori- 
zontal bars or ribs in the upper sky, wet and foul weather may 
be expected. This is 'mackeral sky.' 

"If contiguous clouds move in various directions, rain is 
likely to follow soon. 

"When small black clouds scud over and overcast the sky, 
heavy rain and bad weather may be expected. 

"Cumulus clouds that preserve a well-rounded form, and 
float high in the air, indicate fair weather, 

"Anvil shaped, cumulus clouds usually indicate thunder- 
storms. 

"In spring and fall rain is often indicated by a dense bank 
of gray clouds in the east, in front of which are little shoals of 
blackish clouds. 

"Cirro-cumulus clouds, like bunches and fleeces of wool, 
scattered high in the sky, are indications of still and dry 
weather, 

"When the rays of the rising sun shoot far up into the 
sky, fair weather may be expected. 

"When the ray-like shadows of clouds overlie a hazy sky, 
in the vicinity of the sun, rain is apt to follow. This is 
expressed in the phrase the 'sun is drawing water.' 

"Gaudy lines of blue and purple at sunset prophecy rain 
and wind. 

"A bright red sunset means fair weather for the morrow. 

"A pale and diffuse sun at setting portends a storm. 

"If the sunset is subdued purple, and the zenith is pale 
blue, fair weather may be expected. 

"A deep morning sky is usually followed by bad weather. 
"A rosy or gray morning sky means good weather. 

"A sonorous condition of the atmosphere foretells rain. 
"A bank of clouds across the southern horizon in winter, 
indicates snow. It is frequently called the 'snow bank.' 

"If the sun rises clear, but becomes overcast within half 
an hour, prepare for rain. 

"A halo about the moon indicates a rani storm. 



106 SWEET POTATO CULTURE FOR PROFIT. 

"If the sky is white or yellowish, white nearly to the zen- 
ith after sunset, prepare for rain soon. 

"Strong east winds indicate a storm. 

"Haziness is indicative of dry weather. It is due to dust 
in the atmosphere. 

"When haziness suddenly disappears and the sun sets 
pale, and the sky is very clear, rain is probable. 

"When stars twinkle with unusual prominence, rain may 
be expected. 

"Heavy dew indicates fair weather. 

"Absence of dew for two or three mornings in succession, 
in summer, is a precurser of rain. 

"When sunshine is very hot and the shade very cold, and 
the shadows very deep, 'there is frost in the air,' because the 
air is very dry and radiations of heat little checked." 



CHAPTER XX. 
COOKING SWEET POTATOES. 

I have found the following to be a very fine method; after 
washing the potatoes, place them in a pan with a small amount 
of water; while the potatoes are baking in a stove, shake the 
pan occasionally so as to turn the potatoes over, to prevent 
them burning on one side; pour in more water if needed, 
keeping enough in so that the potatoes will be about dry when 
done; place in a dish and serve while hot; peel them like 
boiled Irish potatoes. Just before eating, put butter and salt 
on them. 

GLAZED SWEET POTATOES. 

"Select potatoes of uniform size, pare and trim them into 
long oval shape. Cook in boiling salted water until nearly 
tender. Mix quarter of a cup of sugar and the same of butter, 
and melt them in half a cup of hot water. Arrange the potatoes 
in a granite pan. Moisten them with the sugar mixture. Set 
them into the oven and baste frequently with this syrup. 
Cook until they are covered with a rich brown glaze, but be 
careful not to let them burn.'' 

FRIED SWEET POTATOES. 

After slicing the potatoes thin, place them in grease with 
some white sugar, and fry like "Saratogas" until done. 



SWEET POTATO CULTURE FOR PROFIT. 107 

SWEET POTATOPIE. 

"One quart of sweet potatoes boiled and well drained, 
three beaten eggs, three table spoonfuls of sugar, one table 
spoonful of butter, half a nutmeg grated, half tea spoonful of 
ground cinnamon, a little ground cloves, a little lemon peel, or 
a little essence of lemon, enough cream to make the mixture of 
the consistency of butter; make a rich pastry, and, covering 
your bake plate, pour in the mixture and bake with a top 
crust '' 

SWEET POTATO PUDDING. 

"Two cups mashed potato (the potato must first be 
boiled), a cup of sugar, a small cup of butter, three eggs, one- 
fourth teaspoonful soda dissolved in a little hot water, a tea- 
spoonful lemon extract, and a halfteaspoonful grated nutmeg. 
Beat the eggs until they are very light, rub the butter and 
sugar to a cream, and mix all with the potato ; cover a deep 
plate or shallow pudding dish with a thick crust; tlien put in 
the mixture and bake slowly for three-fourths of an hour.'' 




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INDEX. 

Analyses of sweet potatoes 6 

At different periods 7 

Irish and sweet potatoes compared 7 

Sweet potato and corn compared 10 

Bailey, Prof 68 

Barbadoes 63 

Brazilian 59 

Bronze 60 

Canning 8 

Caroline (Ex. Ey.) 60 

Classification 49 and 52-67 

Climatic influence 13 

Cooking sweet potatoes 106 

Cost and profit 12 

Coville, Prof 69 

Cultivation, shallow or deep 36 

Diseases 70 

Black Eot 74-5-6-7-8-9 

Dry Rot 88-9 

Leaf Blight 92 

Leaf Mould 93-4 

Scurf 90-1 

Soil Rot ■ 81-2-3-4 

Stem Rot 85-6 and 95 

Soft Rot 71-2-3 

White Rot.. 87 

Description of varieties . . .* 54 to 67 

Distance between plants 32 

Dog River 54 

Drying sweet potatoes 9 

Earliest (Cavitt's) 60 

Early Golden 60 

Fertilizers, ingredients of, in sweets 17 

Composition compared 18 

Diiferent form of Nitrogen 20 

Formulas for the sweet potato 22 

Home made and commercial 20 

Phosphoric acid 21 

Potash 21 

Profits by use 20 



INDEX. 

PAGE 

Georgia (Yam) 64 

Gold Skin 61 

Halstead, Prof IY-84-89 

Hall (Nancy) 55 

Harvesting 38 

How and when 39 

Hayman 55 

Hayti Spanish 56 

Insects, injurious' 96 

Cut Worms 96 

Flea Beetles 96 

Hawk Moth 96 

Saw Flies 96 

Root Beetle 97 

Tortoise Beetle 97 

Irish potato VIII 

Java No- 1 64 

Jersey Red 61 

Manure, horse 21 

Marketing 69 

Matejita 56 

Nansemond 61 

Negro Choker 61 

Norton 61 

Lifting vines 36-7 

Oranage 57 

Peabody 62 

Pinching vines off 37 

Plant beds 24-5 

Pool's (Yam ) 62 

Propagation 23 

By slips 24 

By vine-cuttings 30 

By pieces of tubers 24 

Bedding out 27 

Providence 62 

Queen ( of the west ) 62 

Red Nansemond 63 

Red Nose • • • 57 

Rockport 65 



INDEX. 

PAGE 

Rules of Nomenclature ^^ 

"Seed," best kind ,g 

Shanghai g^ 

Shipping -j^^ 

Soil, best kind ^g 

Chemical analysis of 

Preparation . 

Southern Red gg 

Spanish gg 

"Sports" ^Q 

Storing ^-^ 

House method 

In cellar ^ 

Pit method 

Strasburg g- 

Sugar (Creole) g. 

Tennessee l' ' gg 

Ticotea oq 

Transplanting '^^ 

When to 

Ridge or level • ^^^_. 

Machinery for ' ' ' ' 

Uijes of the svreet potato 

For table 

For canning " 

For drying ' 

For stock „ 

Value of the sweet potato in the U. S 

Texas -,-, 

Vines and tops • , 

Weather predictions '^^^ 

Weights and measures 

White Brazilian ' 

4 

\ am . 

Origin 

Culture 



LIBRARY OF CONGRESS 



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