Katishi Ngoepe, Ga-Malope, Limpopo
I plant and grow beetroot, potatoes, and sweet potatoes on a one-hectare plot. I sell my vegetables informally in the village and in neighbouring villages.
I have just planted the sweet potatoes and will start harvesting them in four to six months. The crop we’ve just put in will be harvested in December when market prices are up because of the festive season.
Sweet potatoes need a warm area to do well and as we don’t get much frost in our area they are a good crop for us. We use vine cuttings to plant our crop at a distance of 20-40cm apart. The closer the spacing, the smaller the tubers will be.
We take our own cuttings from the crop and plant continuously to ensure that we have sweet potatoes all year round. I received my first cutting five years ago when I started growing sweet potatoes and have always used cuttings from my own crop.
We water the plants every day using furrow irrigation until they are well established. After that we rely on rainfall, irrigating only if we don’t get rain at fairly regular intervals.
We have good fertile soil here and use no fertilisers on our sweet potatoes. We weed regularly to stop competition from other plants.