Passive Solar Greenhouse-A Sustainable Option for Propagating Sweet Potato for Colder Climatic Regions

  •  Sajjad Ali Rao    
  •  Poonam Singh    


Sweet potatoes (Ipomoea batatas L.) are nutritious and well adapted to a variety of growing systems around the world. This widely consumed root crop is propagated using cuttings, known as slips. Slips are predominantly cultivated in commercial settings, outdoors under field conditions, primarily in warmer regions, such as the southern states of the United States. Canada's slip production capacity is restricted due to its colder climate. Production of slips within a greenhouse system could prove to be a profitable enterprise for Canadian propagators and growers, especially with the availability of cost-effective greenhouse technology to support efficient slip production. A 2-year study was conducted at Assiniboine Community College, Brandon, Manitoba, Canada (49oN, 99oW). in 2019 and 2020, in a controlled commercial greenhouse (C1) with two passive solar greenhouse systems (PS1 and PS2) to determine the most efficient and economical way to produce slips commercially. The results from this study indicate passive solar greenhouse, PS1 and PS2 greenhouse technologies, produced comparable numbers of sweet potato slips (286.5, 273.3 per square meter respectively) compared to commercial standard greenhouse C1 (278.8). Days to sprouting of slips between C1, PS1 and PS2 greenhouses differed significantly (P<0.05). However, slip growth parameters, including number of nodes, stem diameter and total marketable slips produced in each greenhouse were not significantly different between C1, PS1 & PS2 greenhouses. In conclusion, local slip propagators can use PS1 and PS2 passive solar greenhouses to grow affordable, quality slips for sweet potato growers for timely field production in Canadian growing regions. Additionally, implementation of adapted passive solar greenhouse systems underscores the advancement of passive energy-based technology, which not only diminishes environmental repercussions but also offers year-round production alternatives.

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