SWEET POTATO, a tuberous-rooted perennial herbaceous vine a batatas) of the family Convolvulacctr. The plant is of un known origin but is supposed to be a native of tropical America. It has roundish or angular heart-shaped leaves, and in cultivation rarely produces blossoms or seeds. The flowers re semble those of morning-glory, but are smaller. The tubers, which are borne below the crown of the plant, are without well-defined eyes. The plant was cultivated by the natives before the landing of Columbus. It is now extensively grown in many warm and mild climates, es pecially in the Southern States, California and the Atlantic Coast as far north as New Jersey. The annual crop aggregates about 50,000,000 bushels, and the yield per acre varies usually between 200 and 400 bushels, though with best management and favorable season 800 bushels or even more are occasionally obtained.
The sweet potato is propagated less by its tubers planted in the field than by sprouts ob tained from the tubers in hotbeds, etc. These sprouts or °draws" are transplanted in the field as soon as the weather has become settled and after the land has been deeply and finely pre pared by plowing and harrowing. The soil best suited to the crop is a light sandy loam not excessively rich in nitrogenous plant food but not deficient in this respect. Upon heavy soils the tubers are prone to crack because of the uneven growth under varying conditions of moisture and dryness. Plenty of moisture, warm situation and liberal manuring are essen tial. The ground is kept cleanly cultivated until the vines interfere with tillage. The tubers are dug in the autumn and stored in a great variety of ways, all considered more or less unsatisfac tory since the tubers usually decay badly during storage. While the plentiful yield may fre
quently beg a market in the autumn, the demand from mid-winter onward can rarely he supplied even at advanced figures. These troubles may be considerably reduced by proper care in har vesting. The following practices are recom mended: Digging before the tubers start a °second growth," choosing clear weather when the soil is dry, using padded baskets to reduce chance of scratching the tubers, handling so as to avoid bruising, storing only the perfect speci mens and giving perfect ventilation in the stor age heaps which should always be located upon knolls or otherwise dry ground. As adjuncts to these practices the beds in which the sprouts are obtained should be made upon clean fresh land with fresh manure and the plants should never be set two years in succession in the same field; three or four years is considered much better. These are all preventive and are thought to be more valuable than special methods of storage in expensive storage quar ters.
Consult Georgia Experiment Station Bulle tin No. 25 and Farmers' Bulletin No. 26 of United States Department of Agriculture.
the edible an ever green shrub (Annona squamosa). It is ovate in shape, with a delicious, sweet pulp, enclosed by a thick rind having projecting scales. Although indigenous to America this tree is cultivated for its fruits in all tropical climates, and is also called sweet-apple, or, in India, custard apple a name which properly belongs to A. reticulata.