The scientific name of Chinese potato is Solenostemonrotundifolius. It is a member of the ‘lamiaceae’ family. It grows well in well drained land with well fertilized soil. There has to be enough water in the soil. If there is not enough rain, watering well is necessary.
The ideal time to cultivate Chinese potato is between July and October. For better yield, plant them in September. Vines are the planting material of Chinese potato. A month before planting, make ridges and plant the rhizomes. In order to raise vines for one hectare, 170 to 200 rhizomes are required.For this, 500-600 sq metres of mounds must be made. Make beds with 30cms apart and plant the rhizomes 15cms away from one another. Watering is quite important. Vines for planting can be gathered in a month.
The land for cultivating must be dug deep and mounds made. 10 tonne cow dung, 65 kgs urea, 335 kgs rajphos, 85 kgs potash must be applied as basic fertilizers in 1hectare land. Fertilizers must be mixed well in the soil. Plant 10-15 long stem 30 cms apart. The stems must have at least 3 nodes. The soil must be well drained at the time of planting. After 45 days of planting, remove weeds and add the same amount of urea and potash added before planting followed by earth up. This earthing up increase the formation of rhizomes from branches. To fight off nematode attack, add 1.5 kgs of carbofuran before applying fertilizers.
It contains calcium, iron, thiamine, riboflavin, carbohydrates, niacin, and vitamin C. Micronutrients like polyphenols are also found in it. They help in saving the body to an extent from cancer, heart diseases, diabetes, and nervous disorders.
Any farmer can grow them under sunlight on a non-commercial basis without chemicals, and fertilizers. Adding neem cake oil along with basal fertilizers will be enough. After mulching, add ‘jeevamrutham’or a solution of cow dung mixed in cow urine, and leaves of kanikonna (golden shower). It can also be grown by layering green leaves with, cow dung on top and earthing up. The rhizomes selected for growing may be kept in sand or awn for longer life. Chinese potatoes are used to make dishes like sautéed vegetables, and masala curries.
Nematode is usually spotted on areas where Chinese potatoes are regularly cultivated. They cause swelling the roots. Roots and eventually the plants are stunted and wilted. Adding neem oil cakes along with basel fertilizers is good to keep them away. Dilute 2 ml of khalathiyon in one litre of water and spray to avoid the attack of pseudostem weevil, aphids and thrips. Herbal pesticides too maybe used