Sweet potatoes and Kiwi-fruits

02/07/2010 - 10:33


 Has anyone tried growing sweet potatoes here....also, I do know Italy produces the most kiwi-fruit in the world...some 40 something %....where abouts in Italy do they grow and has anyone successfully grown them in Marche at 600m high ???? 

 Hi Dylano; We've seen Kiwis growing in our area; at the height above sea level of the Salaria. I think they have been prefered to tomatoes as a cash crop as Kiwis seem to need more or less the same conditions as 'toms' to be cultivated successfully, and since so many families produce a domestic over-abundance of tomatoes anyway then it's easier to make a few euro via the Kiwi route.

In reply to by Andrew

 Wiremu, a New Zealander, landed at Heathrow to watch the All Blacks & was not feeling well so he decided to see a doctor. "Hey doc, I don't feel so good, ey" said Wiremu. The doctor gave him a thorough examination and informed Wiremu that he had prostate problems, and that the only cure was testicular removal. "No way doc" replied Wiremu "I'm gitting a sicond opinion ey!" The second Pommy doctor gave Wiremu the same diagnosis and also advised him that testicular removal was the only cure. Not surprisingly, Wiremu refused the treatment. Wiremu was devastated but, with only hours to go before the All Blacks opening game he found an expat Kiwi doctor and decided to  get one last opinion from someone he could trust. The Kiwi doctor examined him and said  "Wiremu, you have prostate sukness ey". "What's  the cure thin doc ey?" asked Wiremu hoping for a different answer. "Wull, Wiremu", said the Kiwi  doctor "Wi're gonna huv to cut off your balls." "Phew, thunk god for thut!" said Wiremu, "those Pommy bastards wanted to take my test tickets off me!"   

 Kiwis grow around here (Northern Tuscany) in abundance and in places around 600asl. So one would suppose they will grow in the Marche (similar terrain). Re sweet potatoes not sure as not been able to find seed to plant but assuming you can find them in seed I should think they would be easy to grow. Just not very popular with Italians hence lack of them for sale..

 A long time ago, I used to grow the slips of sweet potatoes for decoration purposes only. It is very easy to grow those slips which are required to grow the plant. Just a bit of water.... and bingo! It is a good idea to try to get "organic" sweet potatoes if you can. Perhaps the little fruit shop downtown at Bagni di Lucca may have some, Gromit. Sorry, cannot help in your area Dylano.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

 Having worked for some years with Robertson; Sole and various Kiwis; Geldenhuys (S.A.) plus a myriad of Southern Hemisphere players, I can tell you that S.A. players are much brighter; so doesn't say too much for the Kiwi lads. Let's leave out the journeymen from Oz and the Argies... Pity you're many kms away; would be good to watch the England / Ireland game together here and sink a few bevvies. If you / + 1; feel like travelling we can put you up overnight!

Andrew thanks very much for the invite, but (you're not going to like this) I have tickets with my son in law to see the match at Twickers, so I shall be watching it live over there so to speak....sorry....!! but maybe a rain check and if we ever get over to your neck of the woods would love to meet up.....  

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

 TTo be honest; having attended 'n' games at Twickenham the shine has worn off; we would stay at The Lensbury at Teddington; have a half-hearted attempt at a national conference then drag ourselves Sat. lunchtime to Twickenham for the game complete in blazer and collar/tie. Bloody bind I can tell you. After-match in the Rose Room with the players. When Italy played England at Twickenham Rugby World Cup 1999/200o it was me who wished the Italian "safe journey home" on the H.Q. P.A. system. Fell on dead ears even if Dominguez had scored under the posts. Fell to me also to translate 'live' the Italian President's speech on the Rose Room stage. Happy Days... Next weekend a certain 'Mr Ashton' has invited us to join him and Mrs. in Rome for the game; but I don't like big occasions, so hopefully he and his Mrs. will come over to us for a day or so of "drinking all he can lay his hands on in our cabinet". But, we don't do it very often, so I suppose we'll manage.

In reply to by Andrew

  The orginal query asked where the plant actinidia deliciosa was commercially grown on a widespread basis in Italy. Like many fruit, the Po valley, with its fertile soil and abundant irrigation, is home to a subtantial proportion of the Italian output of this comestible of little merit. Ipomea batatis is grown in Italy, and as Gala Placidia has suggested it is propogated by means of slips, because in non tropical environments it fails to produce seed. I have been unable to establish by personal experience whether this crop has any culinary virtues, though undoubtedly it is most difficult to peel. Said the sweet potato to the Irish potato: "You're no potato! I yam. "  

 I have to disagree with you, Fillide, sweet potatoes are not too difficult to peel. A sharp peeler is all what you need. They discolour very quickly, so peel them at the last minute. They are absolutely delicious roasted particularly with lamb or turkey, but basically with any roast, adding lots a flavour. Sweet-potatoes are extremely rich in beta-carotene and excellent for nutrition. There are more recipes, including a delicious pudding that can be made and preserved in sirop they taste like "marron-glacé" or glazed chestnuts. It is a plant related to the "morning glory" family, so it is extremely easy to grow. The only problem is to find some good source of organic sweet-potatoes to start the slips.

  I can get hold of Organic Sweet potatoesin a few places; but what is this SLIPS..? Can you enlighten me as I would like to grow them here; do you shave a bit off, cut the top off and put in water? Guidance would be very much appreciated. I agree with Gala; they are easy to peel, sharp peeler or or one of those things to get thin shavings of Parmesan. Use them as often as we can; great source of vitamins, great in soups, mash, roasted, chipped.........

By leaving a few clean sweet potatoes in a container of peat, kept damp and left in the warm in March April, "slips" will emerge from the surface. When they are over 20cm from the soil, trim them off and pot into 1 litre pots and allow to grow on. In late May, after the last frost has finished, remove the potted plants and place them rooted into the soil. Being a semi tropical plants they require at least 110 days to mature. They are vigorous, and once they start growing, will readily spread. They are hardy and unlikely to suffer any foliar problems and should out compete any weeds, once the soil has initially been made weed free. In late September, carefully dig them up. Once dug, you will need to leave them to mature a further week in the warmest area you have in the house, this allows the skins to set and the flavour to sweeten and become true to type.

      Footnote - I've just got back from Christmas in East Africa - where sweet potatoes are a staple part  of the diet.  Over there, once planted and growing, the plants spread out over the soil, and where they touch the ground they tend to form new roots - these rooted bits are what they re-plant for the next crop - but I don't know if things are right for sucha propogation method in Italy

  Many thanks for info and advice, will give it a go and report back.  I too love sweet potatoes and was interested to hear once slips are established they provide attractive foliage which makes good ground cover supressing any weeds (once initially dealt with)...a winner for me, am planting some fruit trees in a not easy to access for strimming part of the garden so thought I'd try sweet potatoes as ground cover... Will get male and female kiwi-fruit plants and give them a go too.   Cheers all Mrs D PS Ummmmm rugby, prefer ski-sunday myself....

 Even if you grow the sweet potatoes in just some water to get roots and foliage it will be easy to obtain slips. They grow very well indoors during winter and the foliage is beautiful. You can do hanging plants with them as I used to do. Everyone was very surprised when they were told that they were sweet potatoes.....

  I have come rather late to this thread, but just a note for Dylano, as I dont think they are far from us in Marche, as you are driving down from S Vittoria into Servigliano, on the last stretch on the left there is a field that is planted with kiwis, only just above the valley floor, worth a look if you are passing. A

 Great.....Now equipped with that valable info, It's off to my potting shed (Orto Rustica) to get me pots and peat sorted. Thanks again Alan. :P

  Gala, why organic sweet potato........sure, organic always better but is there another reason........dont know if I can get them around here..... Also, how do you do 'hanging plants'...are they just decorative or are they productive too....could be another thing to grow in the 'bidet'!!!..... Thanks too Angie for telling me where I can find a field of kiwi ' growing  locally,...will need to buy plants...  Saw on TV they are difficult to pollinate and commercially they collect the pollen and use gun to disperse...titter titter say no more,....all jolly interesting stuff and better than horrid 'Community Spirit'????( NOT)  thread. Mrs D 

Bought sweet potatoes in Sainsbury's uk when last there.  Only had room for one in pocket but chose what I thought was the best one.  Put in in glass pointy end down and filled with water (well 3/4 height of potato) and put in warm light place...this was 3 weeks ago and as yet nothing has happened.  What am I doing wrong or if the sweet potato duff.  Any advise welcomed from fellow potato heads....

I don't know about sweet potatoes, but I believe that the ordinary potatoes you get in supermarkets are usually sprayed with a chemical which inhibits sprouting. If your experimental subject isn't looking too shrivelled, mouldy or generally sorry for itself, perhaps you might try giving it a good wash before returning it to its little damp perch and waiting a bit longer. Al

Great explanation, Allan, I did not think of that, but it makes a lot of sense. The mystery of the non-sprouting sweet potato is solved! I would replace the old sweet potato by one that has been organically grown. God knows what those sprays can do to the poor thing! Dylano may end up with a mutant.

I cultivate sweet potato here in India. You may not be familiar with a fact that a sweet potato is also used as offering to the mightiest God, Shiva in India...... When the date comes to celebrate Shiva's birth date, sweet potatoes sell at good price.

We also eat sweet potatoes as a form of snack in evening as well as afternoon just by boiling it.

The sweet potato tastes good when you eat it with milk and a little sugar. Though sugar is already present in a sweet potato.