Sweet Potato Growing Tips, Tricks, Ideas, and Secrets

Sweet Potato Growing Tips, Techniques, Ideas, and Secrets

Hello gardeners, we are back with a new and helpful topic today and the topic is all about sweet potato growing tips, techniques, ideas, and secrets. Do you want to know all the basic sweet potato growing tips? Well and then you will need to follow this complete article to know all the basic tips for growing a perfect sweet potato.

Introduction to Sweet Potato

The sweet potato or sweet potato may be a dicotyledonous plant that belongs to the bindweed or vine family, Convolvulaceae. Its large, starchy, sweet-tasting, tuberous roots are a vegetable. The young shoots and even leaves are sometimes eaten as greens.

While the plant leaves of the edible sweet potato are a very delicious delicacy especially when they are very young and tender eating the leaves of ornamental varieties is not recommended and they are not dangerous, but the leaves and even tubers of these plants have a bitter taste.

If you are looking to start a garden, then sweet potatoes are a relatively low-maintenance plant that offers a bountiful harvest later in the season than most other fruits and even veggies. If you have a sunny area in a warm climate, then you can easily plant these lovely copper-colored tubers and then have fresh sweet potatoes from your garden on the table for Thanksgiving dinner.

Sweet Potato Growing Tips, Techniques, Tricks, Ideas, and Secrets

Sweet Potato Growing Ideas
Sweet Potato Growing Ideas (Image credit: pixabay)

The Overview Table of Sweet Potato is Given Below

Botanical NameIpomoea batatas
Common NameSweet potato vine and ornamental sweet potato vine
Plant TypeHerbaceous perennial
Mature Size8 to 10 ft. long and 5 to 12 in. wide
Sun ExposureFull sun
Soil TypeMoist but well-drained
Soil pHNeutral to acidic
Bloom TimeDoes not flower
Flower ColourDoes not flower

Life Cycle of Sweet Potato

Life Cycle of Sweet Potato
Life Cycle of Sweet Potato

4 Tips to Grow Big Sweet Potatoes

  • Dig very deep

Raised beds are ideal for sweet potatoes, not simply because they encourage loose and un-compacted soil (which sweet potatoes love), but they’re easy to reap from. You will even grow sweet potatoes in large pots or buckets. If raised beds aren’t possible, dig down into your planned bed a minimum of 12 inches and make mounded rows or hills for every plant. This adds extra inches for tuber development. As you ready, your beds, confirm to include many organic matters. Rotted leaves, compost, and even composted manure are excellent choices.

  • Water very well

The first fortnight is crucial for the establishment, so keep them well-watered at this point. But don’t allow them to get too dry during their growth either. Sweet potatoes are going to be overly stressed if they get too dry, and a stressed plant won’t put energy into tuber growth. Just like the remainder of your garden, about 1 inch of water every week may be a good guideline.

  • Keep the vines in check

Some varieties are bush just like the Porto Rico, but most sweet potatoes are vining in nature, and enthusiastic ones at that. Left on their own to grow, they will quickly spread to each corner of your garden, which may be a stunning living mulch, but if you would like big tubers, you will need to keep the vines snipped back to within 3 feet of the mother plant. In our growing climate, there’s merely enough time for sweet potatoes to make their tubers under the parent plant, so all those extra vines are just pulling energy from the tubers and putting it into vine growth. Keeping them regularly pruned also allows for easier harvesting as it’s easier to seek out where you originally planted. It is not a waste though; sweet potato greens are very delicious.

  • The right fertilizer is key

When you have high levels of nitrogen in your soil naturally or due to belongings you are adding, (wood chips and chicken poop for example) you will get many leaf growths, but little or no fruit development. Do yourself a favor and get in touch with your county agent to seek out a way to conduct your soil test. This may offer you an honest baseline on your soil health, and what you’ll safely add as fertilizer without throwing things out of balance. If it’s too late this season to urge a soil test in time for planning and planting when it involves feeding your sweet potatoes err on the side of caution and use a fertilizer that’s lower in nitrogen than it’s in potassium and phosphorus. You ought to read abreast of this if you’re not schooled thereon, except for quick reference, nitrogen is that the first within the NPK sequence. Bone meal, kelp meal, and green sand are excellent organic choices for sweet potatoes that are lower in nitrogen than potassium and phosphorus. Don’t over-fertilize. Sweet potatoes aren’t heavy feeders, so these should just be an occasional snack if your soil is a smaller amount than ideal.

Soil Preparation Tips for Growing Sweet Potato

  • What type of soil do sweet potatoes like to grow?

The best and suitable soil for sweet potatoes is loose and rich in organic matter. Within the garden, mix some well-aged compost into each planting hole then plant slips 12 to 18 inches apart, burying the stem with soil right up to the primary pair of leaves.

These plants prefer moist, well-drained soil that is fairly nutritious because of organic matter. They will easily rot if their soil remains too wet, so confirm that the container you select has ample holes for drainage.

  • Prepare the soil

As will all fruit and vegetable planting, having nutrient-rich soil is important for a bountiful harvest. Add a layer of excellent planting soil or compost. Remove any large rocks which may be present. Check the pH of your soil. If the pH isn’t neutral, adjust the pH with sphagnum or wood ash to catch up on acidity or alkalinity until it’s neutral. This is often called amending the soil.

You can buy pH testing kits for your garden at a garden centre or store.

Sweet Potato Propagating Tips

Sweet potato vines are very easy to grow from existing plants. To do so, you need to break off a branch that has several leaf nodes. Remove all the leaves off rock bottom a couple of inches and submerge the stem in water. In a few days, you ought to see roots. This strategy may be a great way to overwinter sweet potato vines because they’re going to last all winter within the water and be able to plant within the spring.

Sweet potato vines are tuberous plants, so you will save tubers for subsequent seasons. Obtain the tubers before the primary frost, allow them to dry, and store them for the winter in peat or vermiculite in a cool, dry place, like a basement, crawlspace, or cellar. In spring, the tubers will sprout and may be planted after the last frost. Divide them as required before planting, ensuring each tuber has a minimum of one eye.

Sweet Potato Planting And Spacing Tips

Dig your holes. Sweet potato slips need a touch more room than other garden vegetables, so dig your holes 12 to 24 inches or 30.5 to 61.0 cm apart each. They have to be only as deep because the root ball on the rock bottom of the slips and about ½ an in. up the bottom of the plant.

Plant your potatoes. Place each small stick in your pre-dug holes and canopy the stems with soil about ½ of an in. up the bottom. The leafy part of the potato plant will begin to sprawl in vines outwards while the roots will produce the tubers between 6 to 12 inches or 15.2 to 30.5 cm deep within the soil.

Watering Tips for Growing Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potato vines are usually considered drought-tolerant, though they are going to grow more vigorously with frequent watering. Water enough to stay the soil consistently moist but not overly wet. You will notice that the leaves wilt when the plant is thirsty.

  • How often does one water sweet potatoes?

Once established, your sweet potatoes will tolerate growing in dry soil. It is best to stay it evenly moist with 1 inch of water given once every week.

At first planting, the sweet potatoes would require tons of water. Over time, you ought to reduce the quantity that you simply water them until they receive moisture only about once every week. Begin watering daily, knocking off days from your watering schedule as hebdomadally progresses.

Fertilizing Tips for Growing Sweet Potatoes

Feeding sweet potato vines is usually optional supported by what proportion you would like them to grow. A weekly feeding with a well-balanced fertilizer in their season will boost growth, but given their naturally robust habit, you’ll find that feeding also increases the necessity to chop them back.

Don’t fertilize your sweet potatoes at planting time — they do not require much within the way of nutrients. A more than nitrogen will encourage leafy growth instead of big tubers. The simplest soil for sweet potatoes is loose and rich in organic matter.

  • What is the simplest fertilizer for sweet potatoes?

A fertilizer formula of 5-10-10 or 8-24-24 works very well for sweet potatoes. You will begin fertilizing sweet potatoes nearly about 2 weeks after transplanting them into your garden. Then, they will be fertilized every 4 to 6 weeks in the season. Stop fertilizing about 3 weeks before they’re harvested.

  • How does one fertilize sweet potato vines?

You need to apply a balanced 10-10-10 or 12-12-12 slow-release fertilizer to the planting area. Consult the packaging instructions, and use half the quantity recommended. Till the fabric into the soil to a depth of about 3 or 4 inches.

In case if you miss this: How To Make Compost From Chicken Manure.

7 Secrets for Growing Huge Sweet Potatoes

#1 should not add nitrogen or too much compost to the soil

This is the biggest mistake people usually make when they are growing sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes do not need rich and fertile soil. If the soil is too rich in nitrogen the result will be lots of green leaves and even very small potatoes.

#2 make sure that your soil has enough phosphorus, potassium, and even minerals

Sweet potatoes survive on phosphorus and even potassium. If your soil has always been off the charts with phosphorus so never even have to think about adding it.

If you don’t have potassium content on the other hand you need to add. If you don’t even know whether you have enough of the amendment or not, then send your soil off to get tested.

#3 Soils should be a sandy loam to plant

Sweet potatoes usually like sandy loam. The definition of sandy loam is less than 7% clay, less than 50% silt, and between 43 and 50% sand.

A soil test will easily tell you what you currently have in your garden. You can even do any easy at-home test. This will be fun for kids to try.

#4 Grow in full sun

Full sun means your plants need at least 8 hours of uninterrupted sunlight for better results. Less than 8 hours of sunlight may stop the growth of the plant. So, be sure that your plant is receiving at least 8 hours of sunlight per day.

#5 give them lots of water

You probably already know that vegetables need to be watered for best growth. And yet for sweet potatoes, deep watering is even more critical to their better growth. Watering plants very deeply every few days is better than watering a little bit every day. You need to pay attention to the weather and how often and heavily it rains. Supplement with an additional and good amount of water if the soil is drying out.

#6 Wait until the right time to harvest

Usually, many people think that the ideal time to harvest sweet potatoes is just before the first frost. While this may be correct for certain long maturing varieties of sweet potatoes and northern climates, with the Beauregard variety, you can harvest earlier. They are ready when the flowers blooming on the vines for a week or two. You can even double-check readiness by digging around one plant and checking the size.

The one more benefit of digging at the right time is that you have a few weeks to cure the potatoes with heat naturally. You will want to cure out of the direct sun, then under a covered patio, in a garage, barn, or shed.

If you live in a colder climate, you will be harvesting just before the first frost so you will need to duplicate the curing process differently. Wrapping sweet potatoes in damp paper towels and even setting them out next to a warm woodstove will cure sweet potatoes properly indoors.

#7 grow the suitable variety for your area

If you want large sweet potatoes, you need to grow a variety that is known for its large size. It is better to grow Beauregard. It is a very popular variety that is very easy to find, easy to grow, and has a large yield. You can even grow a few other varieties but none even will come close to the size and yield of Beauregard. It is not the only good and best variety out there; you can even be creative and test other varieties in your climate. Seed descriptions will often make note of positive characteristics of any given variety if you are looking for other different types.

Sweet Potato Vine Winter Care

  • Overwintering Sweet Potato Tubers

Bulb-like tubers will grow just beneath the surface of the soil. To overwinter the tubers, cut the vines to ground level, and then dig them up before the primary frost in autumn. Dig carefully and take care to not slice through the tubers.

Brush the soil lightly off the tubers, then store them, not touching, in a cardboard box crammed with sphagnum, sand, or vermiculite. You need to place the box up in a cool, dry location where the tubers won’t freeze.

Watch for the tubers to sprout in spring, then cut each tuber into chunks, each with a minimum of one sprout. The tubers are now able to plant outdoors, but make certain all danger of frost has passed.

  • Care for Sweet Potato Vines Over Winter

Place the container in indirect sunlight and await roots to develop within a couple of days. At now, you’ll leave the container all winter; otherwise, you can put them up and luxuriate in them as indoor plants until spring.

If you opt to go away from the cuttings in water, change the water if it becomes cloudy or brackish. Keep the water level above the roots.

If you opt to pot the rooted cuttings, place the pot in a sunny spot and water as required to stay the potting mix lightly moist, but never soggy.

Sweet Potato Pest and Disease Controlling Tips

  • Destroy all sweet potato plant residue immediately after the subsequent harvest; plant resistant or tolerant sweet potato varieties where available; plant only disease-free seed material
  • Only disease-free seed material should be planted; sweet potato shouldn’t be planted in sites where sweet potato has been grown in the previous 3 to 4 years; transplant material should be collected from the plant by making cuts above-ground; seed material should be treated with an appropriate fungicide before planting
  • The disease is usually not a drag if good sanitation is implemented; select only disease-free roots for seed; use cut transplants instead of slips; practice plant rotation; treat seed roots with an appropriate fungicide before planting
  • Avoid wounding storage roots in the least stages of growth; plant only disease-free seed material; discard any stored roots which become infected with the disease; vines for transplanting should be cut above the soil surface; plant sweet potato varieties that are immune to the disease
  • Keep the sectors free from weeds especially Ipomoea spp. Use insect-free planting material. Use pheromone traps to watch and control the insect.
  • Use healthy cuttings for planting. Remove the infected plants and burn them. Follow plant rotation. Spray suitable insecticides to regulate aphids and whiteflies.

Sweet Potato Harvesting Tips

You may also check this: How To Grow Radish In Greenhouse.

Red Sweet Potatoes
Red Sweet Potatoes (pic credit: pixabay)

Wait for the tubers to develop. Sweet potatoes have a comparatively long fruiting period, becoming ripe and prepared to reap within the early fall (hence their association with Thanksgiving). Continue watering hebdomadally, and weeding the beds if necessary to stay the plants healthy.

Harvest the sweet potatoes. After nearly about 120 days after planting, the sweet potatoes should have reached full maturity. When possible, wait until the last possible time (the last warm weather before a frost) to reap the sweet potatoes, as this may end in larger and more tasteful tubers.


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