There are many different ways to learn how to grow sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes are grown in the ground, growing containers, indoors, or in your home garden. You need to keep a few things in mind when growing sweet potatoes.
Our blog post will discuss and provide some of the best ways to grow edible sweet potatoes so that you can have a successful harvest.
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Sweet potatoes belong to the morning glory family called Convolvulaceae. They are a kind of perennial plant, meaning that they can continue to produce edible roots for several years when grown in suitable conditions.
Sweet potatoes are a delicious and versatile tuberous root crop that is tolerant to heat. They come in various shapes and sizes, but all have a sweet taste when cooked.
The dark orange flesh variety is especially beneficial for eye health due to the high levels of antioxidants found within its flesh as well as containing beta-carotene that may help reduce inflammation and other chronic diseases.
Sweet potatoes are also rich in essential vitamins and minerals like vitamin A, vitamin B6, Vitamin C, potassium, and fiber.
They come from Central and South America, where they have been cultivated for many centuries. Today, home grown sweet potatoes are found all over the world and are enjoyed as a nutritious staple food by people in many different countries.
How To Grow Sweet Potatoes
In colder climates, with sweet potatoes, it is time to plant in the spring after the last frost. In warmer climates, they can be planted in the fall. You can check with your local cooperative extension office if you're unsure when the last frost is in your area. They will be able to give you specific planting dates for your area.
When planting, choosing a sunny spot in your garden is essential. They need at least six hours of sunlight per day. The soil should be well-drained and fertile. You can improve drainage by mixing in some sand for deep watering. To improve fertility, mix in some compost or manure before planting.
They are typically started from sweet potato slips. Slips are young sweet potato plants that are grown from mature sweet potatoes. You can purchase slips from a nursery or order them online. You can also grow them yourself by placing a sweet potato in a jar of water with the pointed end up.
Short season varieties of sweet potatoes are compact, fast-growing varieties that can be harvested in as few as 60 days. These shorter season types include 'Red Garnet,' 'Hannah,' and 'O’Henry.'
🌱How To Plant Sweet Potatoes
In colder climates, sweet potato plants should be planted in the spring after the last frost. In warmer climates, they can be planted in the fall. You can check with your local cooperative extension office if you're unsure when the last frost is in your area. They will be able to give you specific planting dates for your area.
When planting, choosing a sunny spot in your garden is essential. They need at least six hours of sunlight per day. The soil should be well-drained and fertile. You can improve drainage by mixing in some sand. To improve fertility, mix in some compost or manure before planting.
You can purchase slips from a nursery or order them online. You can also grow them yourself by placing a sweet potato in a jar of water with the pointed end up.
Where To Plant
Sweet potatoes prefer well-drained, loamy soil with a pH between 5.8 and 6.5. They like to be in full sun but can tolerate some partial shade.
Time Of Year To Plant
It takes about four to five months for sweet potatoes to mature. They need 60-90 days of warm weather to mature appropriately. They are typically planted in early spring and harvested in late summer or early fall.
When planting sweet potatoes, it is important to consider the size of the variety you are planting and how much space each plant needs. Smaller varieties do not require as much room between plants as larger ones.
It is also important to keep in mind that some varieties have more vigorous sweet potato vines than others, so there should be enough room for the vines to spread out and grow. Generally, sweet potatoes should be spaced 12 to 18 inches apart.
Planting your sweet potatoes to the right depth is essential for a fruitful crop! For optimal growth, bury them approximately 6 inches deep in amended soil that has been enriched with compost or other organic material. A great option is using a raised bed lined with black plastic to protect the root system.
Doing so will provide enough space to avoid overcrowding and guarantee an abundance of produce from each plant.
Care and Maintenance
Proper fertilization, watering, pruning, sunlight, soil(dirt), temperature, and humidity all play key roles in your success.
Fertilizing sweet potatoes is an essential part of the planting process. Sweet potatoes need a balanced fertilizer that contains nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium in order to thrive.
Fertilizers with higher levels of nitrogen are preferred as they help promote foliage growth which can lead to larger yields. Additionally, be sure to apply the fertilizer evenly and according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Applying too much fertilizer can burn the roots and damage the plants, so it is important to be mindful of how much you are applying.
Sweet potatoes need regular watering during the growing season, particularly during dry periods. Generally, they should be watered deeply at least once per week to ensure that their roots are receiving enough moisture.
Keep in mind that water logging or over-watering can lead to root rot or stem rot, so it is important to ensure that the soil drains well and does not become soggy.
Pruning your sweet potatoes is an essential step to ensure you're receiving the highest yields possible. This process involves eliminating some of the vines and damaged leaves, allowing more light and air circulation toward the forming roots.
Aim to prune when they reach 8-10 inches long in height; this ensures that there are still enough leaves left on each plant for it to keep soaking up sunlight while continuing its growth cycle!
Sweet potatoes require 8-12 hours of direct sunlight each day during their growing season. Planting them in a sunny spot will help ensure they get enough light to reach maximum yields.
Make sure to remove any obstacles that could block the plants from getting adequate sunlight.
Sweet potatoes can grow in almost any type of soil, from sand to clay. However, they will yield the most nourishing and flavorful results when planted in loose, well-drained soil with a pH range between 5.0 and 6.5; moreover, their nutrient content is improved if you enrich it with organic matter for better water retention and aeration.
Sweet potatoes prefer warm soil temperatures. The ideal soil temperature range for planting sweet potatoes is 70-90 degrees Fahrenheit. Planting them in cooler soil will reduce the number of tubers produced while planting them in too-hot soils can cause stunted growth and poor yields.
If more nutrition is needed beyond that provided by natural means obtainable through the surrounding environment, fertilizer should be added as a supplement.
Temperature and Humidity
Sweet potatoes thrive in warm temperatures and high humidity. The ideal temperature for growing sweet potatoes is between 75-85°F (24-30°C), with the nighttime lows staying above 60°F (15°C).
High humidity levels, ranging from 70-85%, will also help ensure a good yield. If you live in an area with low humidity levels, you can mist the sweet potato plant throughout the week to add more moisture.
These conditions will help maximize their growth and your sweet potatoes’ quality!
🌱How To Grow Sweet Potatoes Indoors
Summer is the ideal time for growing sweet potatoes, as they thrive in warm climates and require a minimum of 3 months of hot weather in order to fully mature. Although they're typically considered a warm-weather crop, you can grow them indoors if you live in a cooler climate, as cold weather isn't good for growing these tubers.
All you need is a little bit of space and some basic gardening supplies. Here's everything you need to know:
What You'll Need
To grow indoors, you'll need the following:
- A large pot or container with drainage holes
- Sweet potato slips (you can order these online or purchase them at a garden center)
- Potting soil
- High-quality fertilizer
- Fill your pot or container with potting soil, leaving about 2 inches of space at the top. Sweet potatoes require a lot of space to grow, so make sure you choose a large enough pot.
- Plant your sweet potato slips in the soil, making sure each one plant has plenty of room to spread out.
- Water your sweet potato plants regularly, ensuring the soil stays moist but not soggy.
- Fertilize your plants every few weeks according to your fertilizer's packaging instructions.
- You can transfer your plants outdoors when the weather outside can keep the soil warm enough. Sweet potatoes need at least six hours of sunlight per day, so choose a spot in your yard that gets plenty of sun. Once they're transplanted, continue to water and fertilize them according to the instructions above and grow sweet potato slips into yummy spuds.
- Harvest sweet potatoes when the leaves begin to turn yellow and die back. This usually happens in late summer or early fall. To harvest, carefully dig up the roots with a shovel or trowel and brush off any excess dirt. Enjoy your homegrown sweet potatoes, roasted, mashed, or in a homemade pie.
How To Grow Sweet Potatoes From Slips
One of the best ways to propagate sweet potatoes plant is using the slips. Slips are small shoots that sprout from the base of an established sweet potato tuber.
You can begin new slips from vine cuttings. To plant the slips, cut off a 4 inches long piece of an existing sweet potato and place it in shallow water or wet soil until it grows roots and sweet potato slips.
Once they are ready, transfer them to the ground and wait for your sweet potatoes to grow. There are also other methods of propagating sweet potatoes, like layering or division, but slips are the easiest way!
How To Grow Sweet Potatoes From Chits
Another great way to grow sweet potatoes is from chits. Chits are small sections of a sweet potato tuber that have several eyes on them, which will eventually sprout into new plants.
To start the process, cut off a section of an existing potato and place it in a warm and dry location with indirect sunlight until the chits begin to sprout.
Then, carefully place them in the ground and wait for your sweet potatoes to grow! With this method, you can start growing more sweet potatoes without having to buy new slips or tubers each time.
Harvesting Sweet Potatoes
When you are ready to harvest from your vegetable garden and they are at their peak, be sure to delicately harvest sweet potatoes from the ground in order to avoid bruising their skin.
The best time to pick sweet potatoes is before the first fall frost of autumn. Look for yellowing leaves and vines, as this indicates that production has begun diminishing.
Harvesting soil method, reduce your watering schedule and let the soil dry out a bit, do this for around two weeks. This will help protect the tubers from rotting when taking them out of the ground.
For best results, how many sweet potatoes end up being keepers, pick a dry and sunny day so that they can air-dry before storing them away, as this will help avoid rot.
Additionally, inspect each tuber carefully prior to storage – any sign of rot or damage should cause you to discard it immediately.
Cure Sweet Potatoes
In order to bring out the best flavor and texture, it is essential to cure sweet potatoes properly. Moreover, curing these vegetables helps improve their nutritional value as well! Here are a few easy steps for the effective curing of sweet potatoes:
- The late summer or early fall is the perfect time to harvest your whole sweet potatoes - this should be done when the vines begin to die back. Take caution while harvesting, as damage and bruising can occur if not handled with care.
- For optimum freshness and taste, sweet potatoes should be scrupulously wiped clean to eradicate any soil or debris. Afterward, they must be left out in a warm airy area for a few hours to let them dry completely.
- Setting up the curing room: Prior to using your curing space, ensure that it is adequately heated between 80-85°F (27-29°C) while also monitoring its humidity levels which should remain at 85-90%. Whether you decide on a basement or garage, just make sure that both temperature and humidity are regulated accordingly.
- For the perfect sweet potatoes, arrange them in a single layer on shelves or racks in a dark curing room. This will protect their flavor and prevent them from becoming green and bitter.
- Sustainable temperature and humidity: To ensure the sweet potato crop's optimal freshness, it is critical that the curing room climate be monitored regularly in order to adhere to desired specifications. Any changes in either temperature or moisture can detrimentally affect the product quality.
- Unlock the sweetness of sweet potatoes: Cure sweet potatoes for a period of between 5-10 days, depending on their size and variety. The curing process helps them ripen further and transforms starches into sugars - heightening the flavor and texture while boosting nutrition content. Allowing you to indulge in an even more delicious version of this beloved vegetable!
Storing Sweet Potatoes
To maximize the shelf life, store sweet potatoes in a cool and dry place such as a pantry or cellar.
Exposure to direct sunlight or heat should be avoided at all costs.
Sore sweet potatoes in paper or mesh bags to help prevent spoilage while keeping them away from fruits and vegetables that release ethylene gas, like apples and bananas, which can also help extend their freshness.
For optimal results, storing sweet potatoes within two weeks of purchase is recommended; however, they can last up to several weeks if refrigerated properly.
Can you grow a sweet potato from a sweet potato?
Have you ever wondered if you can cultivate your own sweet potatoes starting with a single tuber? The answer is yes, and the process to do so couldn't be simpler.
All it requires is cutting up the spud into at least two or three pieces, each containing one “eye” (these small bumps resemble skin pores). Not only will this activity bring about immediate gratification by producing an edible crop, but it also provides lasting satisfaction from being able to witness nature's variety of beauty.
Let the pieces rest overnight, and then plant them in warm, sunny soil. Water frequently to ensure their growth - after approximately ten weeks, you will be rewarded with a bountiful harvest.
Depending on your climate, expect 3-5 tubers per plant; however, if you reside in an area with higher temperatures, it's possible to yield up to six or more tubers from one individual specimen.
Can I just plant a whole sweet potato?
Yes, you can! Planting a whole sweet potato is easy and can be done in two ways: direct planting or sprouting. To direct plant your sweet potato, simply bury it in warm soil with plenty of sunlight and water regularly.
After about ten weeks, you should be able to harvest some delicious tubers. Alternatively, you can grow a sweet potato plant from a sprout. Cut your sweet potato into pieces, each with at least one eye.
Allow the pieces to dry overnight, and then place them in the soil. Water regularly and watch as you get several tubers per plant.