What Are The Five Uses Of Tuber Crops? Quick Facts

Among the staple foods consumed in tropical regions are root and tuber crops. Sweet potato, cassava, taro, and yams are some examples. After cereals, they are the second-most vital cultivated crop group in those countries. What use do tuber crops serve?

Most undernourished households depend on root and tuber crops as a vital food source. When compared to cereals, they produce more energy per day. Starch, alcohol, fermented beverage manufacture, and animal feed also find tuber crops essential.

Potato, sweet potato, yam, and cassava rank among the most vital food crops worldwide. Annual production volume is the base of this ranking. Tuber crops provide a significant contribution to biofuel production. They reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as well. 

Tubers are a promising feedstock to meet rising bioethanol demand. They also reduce the dependency on fossil fuels.

When the fall comes, tubers of potatoes survive underground until the spring. The above-ground plant structure dies. The main shoot develops from the tuber in the spring. 

The shoot’s base close to the tuber forms adventitious roots and lateral buds. It also forms stolons or long etiolated stems.

Cut the potato tubers into pieces and plant them deep into the soil. It helps create more area for the plants to generate tubers and increase their size. These pieces sprout shoots, and they grow to the surface. These rhizome-like shoots form short stolons from the nodes while in the ground.

Why Are Tubers Beneficial?

Tuber crops contribute to global food supplies and provide industrial and dietary benefits. They create food security, climate change adaptation, and income generation. Cassava, for example, has been a staple food for a large population across the world. 

What Are The 3 Examples Of Tubers?

Root tubers and stem tubers are the two main tuber types. Root tubers form fleshy bulges in their plant roots. Among them are sweet potatoes, cassava, and dahlias.

In stem tubers, modified stem organs like rhizomes or stolons grow tubers. Potatoes, ginger, and sunchokes are some of the stem tubers.

Root tubers do not have nodes, internodes, or reduced leaves. The proximal end of the tuber has crown tissue. It produces buds that grow into new stems and foliage. Tuber’s distal end forms unmodified roots. In stem tubers, the distal end produces stems.

Ginger ...
Ginger plant

Why Are Tubers A Good Food Source?

By promoting beneficial gut bacteria, tubers help improve the functioning of the stomach. They have a high potential to provide sources of energy as carbohydrates. Compared to other tubers, potatoes, and yams are higher in protein. 

The fiber content in tubers and roots is much. They lessen fat absorption and lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Beta-carotene, found in yellow varieties, serves as an antioxidant.

Tubers are rich sources of minerals like manganese, potassium, and copper. Vitamins like A, B, and C are abundant in them. Vitamin B6 in them lowers blood pressure. It also stabilizes blood sugar levels. 

Yams, potatoes, and cassava can neutralize tissue damage caused by smoking. They prevent insulin resistance through their anti-diabetic properties as well. Complex carbohydrates found in tubers are much healthier. They can balance blood glucose levels.

Which Tuber Do You Use As Food?

People use starchy roots, tubers, rhizomes, corms, and stems as energy sources. The most popular tubers include potatoes, sweet potatoes, cassava, Jerusalem artichoke, and taro. 

Farmers grow elephant foot yam for its edible tubers in Southeast Asia. Potatoes are famous in the US and Europe.

Which Plants Are Grown Best Using Tuber?

Potato is a modified stem and reproduces through tubers. Each eye of the potato tuber is a bud that grows into a new plant. Ginger propagates by forming rhizomes. Onions form bulbs to reproduce. Inedible plants, like dahlias, peonies, and cyclamen, can grow from tuberous roots.

Tubers provide energy and nutrients for regrowth during the next growing season. It is helpful both as an asexual reproductive method and for plant perennation. 

Tuber tissue stores starch and is the resting stage of various plants. They enable overwintering in many species. In genetics, vegetative propagation helps you get identical offshoots.

potato plants
Potato plant

Where Do Tubers Grow Best?

Tubers prefer slight acidity of pH 5.8 to 6.5 in soil. 45-55 0F of soil temperature is ideal for their growth. They thrive in loose, well-drained, fertile soil. Direct sunlight for at least 6 hours per day helps them flourish.

During the flowering period, the plants create their tubers. A steady water supply is crucial now for a good crop outcome. Give plants at least one inch of water per week. Mulch around them to help keep moisture. 

If the soil is sandy, water more often than once a week. Check how far down the ground is wet using a trowel. Keep the water flowing if it is only an inch or two. Stop watering when the foliage turns yellow and begins to die back. It will help start curing the potatoes for harvest.

Prevent planting potatoes where tomatoes or eggplants were there the year before. They can attract similar pest problems as they are in the same nightshade family.

Plant potatoes in full sun to bolster top growth. They can tolerate part shade. But they need the lush top growth to feed their tubers underground well.

Protect the tubers from the sun if they grow near the surface. If not, they will turn green. Hill soil up around the growing plants to avoid this. Start hilling your plants when stems are about 12 inches tall.

Potatoes can thrive in shallow trenches about 6 inches deep. They enjoy growing in rows. Growing conditions are ideal in soil rich in organic matter and neutral to acidic pH. They can tolerate soil with even pH as low as 5.

If the soil is heavy in clay, prepare it with loose soil down to the depth. Mix compost or organic matter into the ground during the fall. Keep your beds weed-free for the best results.

Wait until the soil temperature reaches at least 45 0F to plant potatoes. They stop growing when the soil gets 80 0F. Potatoes are a common winter crop in areas with hot summers.

Growing potatoes in containers takes up less space and helps avoid the hassle of hilling. Make sure your container has bottom drainage holes. Container-grown potatoes need plenty of water and more feeding. Place your containers where they get six to eight hours of sunlight.

In general, potatoes are a cool-weather crop. They can adapt to higher elevations and harsher growing conditions. Plant them 2-4 weeks before the average last frost date. 

The soil needs to be moist but not water-logged. It should not be too wet as it will stick together and be hard to work. Plant later through April or June if you have a late and wet spring.
Provide some frost protection for the plants though they can tolerate a light frost.

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