Agricultural seasons of the tropics are associated with rainfall, which provides the principal limiting resource for crop production. However, as tuber crops are sensitive to temperatures and moisture, the time of planting could have a profound influence on yields. Thus a study was carried out over a period of 12 months to determine the effect of different planting times on establishment, tuber initiation and yields of sweet potato. The trial was planted on similar soils in two agroecological zones as this species is a popular home garden crop in most regions of the tropics and subtropics.
Planting sweet potato with the onset of rains in October produced the highest yields. This is attributed to the receipt of adequate rainfall over the growth cycle, along with the higher diurnal variation in temperatures. Planting in the dry season or later in the wet season, which receives a lower quantity of rainfall with low diurnal variations in temperatures delayed tuber initiation and reduced yields. The study highlights differences in growth patterns of sweet potato when planed at different times. The importance of planting sweet potato in agricultural systems at appropriate times to produce higher yields is presented.