Growing Sweet Potato In Your Garden
November 25, 2023
Growing Sweet Potato
Sweet potatoes are a nutritious, starchy root vegetable that is eaten in countless cuisines around the world. They are available in many different varieties, including white, purple, and orange-fleshed sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes are often boiled, steamed, baked, or fried, and can be added to many different dishes for nutritional value, flavor, and texture.
Follow us to keep learning!
Cheatsheet: Growing Sweet Potato in Your Garden
- Choose from over 4000 varieties 🌱
- Popular ones include Beauregard, Georgia Jet, and Covington
Soil & Sun
- Loose, well-drained soil 🌱
- 6-8 hours of direct sunlight ☀️
- Start slips indoors 6-8 weeks before the last frost ❄️
- Plant slips or sprouts in hills 12-18 inches apart 🌿
Care & Maintenance
- Regular watering, especially during dry spells 💧
- Apply aged compost or organic fertilizer every few weeks 🌿
- Keep weeds under control to avoid competition
- Wait until vine yellows & dies back 🍃
- Gently dig up sweet potatoes with a garden fork or shovel 🛠️
- Average yield: 2-5 lbs per plant, sometimes up to 20 lbs! 🌱
Storage & Usage
- Cure sweet potatoes at 80-85°F with high humidity for 10-14 days before storing 🌡️
- Store in a cool, dark, dry place 🏡
- Enjoy as a nutritious and versatile ingredient in soups, pies, fries, and more!
- Packed with essential vitamins A, C, and B6 🥕🍠
- Rich in dietary fiber and antioxidants 🌿✨
- Boosts immunity and aids in digestion 🌱🩺
Sweet potatoes are one of my favorite vegetables to grow in my garden. Not only are they delicious, but they also provide numerous health benefits. So, if you're ready to add this versatile root crop to your garden, let me share my experiences and tips on growing sweet potatoes.
1. Choose the Right Variety
When selecting sweet potato varieties, consider your climate and personal preference. For warmer regions, I recommend the Beauregard or Bonita varieties. If you live in a cooler climate, go for the Georgia Jet or Northern Star varieties. Experimenting with different types can be fun, so don't be afraid to try a few!
2. Prep Your Soil
For optimal growth, sweet potatoes require well-draining soil with a pH between 5.8 and 6.2. Prepare your soil by loosening it to a depth of at least 12 inches. Incorporate organic matter, like compost or aged manure, to improve fertility and drainage. This will create a suitable environment for your sweet potatoes to thrive.
3. Planting and Spacing
Start by obtaining sweet potato slips, which are sprouts grown from mature sweet potatoes. Plant them in loose soil, around 4 inches deep. Keep in mind that sweet potatoes are vines, so make sure you provide enough space for them to spread. Plant slips about 12-18 inches apart in rows that are roughly 3 feet apart.
4. Sun and Water Requirements
Sweet potatoes are sun-loving plants that require at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight daily. Watering is crucial during the first few weeks after planting. Keep the soil consistently moist but avoid overwatering, as it can lead to rotting. Once established, you can reduce the frequency of watering, but ensure the plants receive about 1 inch of water per week.
5. Mulch and Weed Control
Applying a layer of organic mulch, such as straw or wood chips, around your sweet potato plants will help conserve moisture, suppress weeds, and maintain an even soil temperature. However, be mindful not to bury any leaves or stems, as they could rot. Regularly inspect and remove any weeds to prevent competition for nutrients.
6. Harvesting and Curing
As the growing season comes to an end (typically around 100-120 days), it's time to harvest your sweet potatoes. Carefully dig them up using a garden fork, being cautious not to damage the delicate tubers. Allow the harvested sweet potatoes to cure in a warm, humid area for about 10 days. This process toughens the skin and enhances their flavor and sweetness.
"Did you know? Sweet potatoes are rich in fiber, vitamins A and C, and essential minerals like potassium. They're also a great source of antioxidants that promote overall health and may reduce the risk of chronic diseases."
7. Storing and Enjoying
After curing, store your sweet potatoes in a cool, dry location with good airflow. They can last up to several months if stored correctly. When it comes to preparing your homegrown sweet potatoes, the options are endless. Bake them, mash them, or even make sweet potato fries! No matter how you enjoy them, the taste will be unbeatable.
With these tips in mind, I'm confident you'll have success growing your own sweet potatoes. They not only add flavor to your meals but also bring a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction to your gardening journey. Happy gardening!
Growing Sweet Potato FAQ
1. When should I plant sweet potatoes?
Plant sweet potatoes in warm weather, typically around spring or early summer.
2. How do I prepare the soil for growing sweet potatoes?
Loosen the soil, incorporate organic matter, and ensure good drainage for optimal sweet potato growth.
3. Do sweet potatoes need a lot of sunlight?
Yes, sweet potatoes thrive in full sun. Provide them with at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight daily.
4. How often should I water my sweet potato plants?
Water sweet potatoes frequently, aiming for consistently moist soil without overwatering.
5. Can I grow sweet potatoes in containers or pots?
Yes, sweet potatoes can be successfully grown in large containers or pots with proper drainage.
6. Are sweet potatoes vulnerable to any pests or diseases?
Yes, be vigilant against pest infestations and diseases, including sweet potato weevils and fusarium wilt. Follow appropriate prevention and treatment methods.
7. When and how should I harvest sweet potatoes?
Harvest sweet potatoes once the foliage begins to die back. Carefully dig them out, handling the delicate tubers with care.
8. How should I store harvested sweet potatoes?
Cure sweet potatoes by placing them in a warm and humid location for 10-14 days, then store in a cool, dry, and well-ventilated area.
Sweet Potatoes should be grown because they are easy to grow, are highly nutritious, and relatively drought tolerant. They are packed with vitamins such as B6 and C and are a great source of dietary fiber, minerals and antioxidants. Sweet Potatoes are an excellent choice for gardeners or farmers looking for a quick, low maintenance crop that yields a generous harvest.