Study of the efficiency of sweet potato growing in the Forest-Steppe of Ukraine by different methods of soil mulching
Sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas L.) is a new crop for soil and climatic conditions of Ukraine, the active implementation of which is hindered by the lack of recommendations on technological aspects of cultivation. One of the important technological measures for growing sweet potatoes is the use of soil mulching, which improves the water regime and regulates the thermal regime of the soil; prevention of weed growth and growth of sweet potato shoots to the soil. Thus, the aim of the research is to determine the efficiency of growing sweet potatoes in the Forest-Steppe of Ukraine by different methods of soil mulching.
Field research was carried out on typical low-humus light loamy chernozem on loess loam.
It was noted, that when growing sweet potatoes on ridges, the introduction of mulching the soil with black polyethylene film provides more active growth of the vegetative mass throughout the growing season (5.33 shoots/plant with a total length of 252.1 cm), while growing without ridges has a positive effect on plants growth due to the general absence of mulch (2.53 shoots/plant with a total length of 107.8 cm).
The use of ridges and mulching the soil with black polyethylene film causes the yield of sweet potato tubers at 34.8 t/ha, while the mulching of the soil with straw, the yield was 18.3–21.9 t/ha, without mulching – 13.0–17, 1 t/ha. Mulching with black polyethylene film ensures the accumulation of vitamin C and starch in sweet potato tubers. When growing the culture on ridges by this method of mulching, the maximum level of vitamin C according to the experiment (4.78 mg/100 g) and starch (11.73 %) was noted.
The introduction of mulching and ridge formation involves additional material and labor costs, but helps to reduce weed control and tuber digging costs. When growing sweet potatoes on ridges with mulching with black polyethylene film, the minimum additional labor costs for the formation of a unit of yield (1.95 man-minutes/kg of tubers) were noted, while without mulching and without ridges this figure was 6.76 man-minute/kg
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