In mid-September, sweet potatoes were bringing good prices at $19.50 per … Feed plants with a continuous-release fertilizer that contains potassium (the third number on the fertilizer label), such as Miracle-Gro® Performance Organics® Edibles Plant Nutrition Granules. Long-season varieties tend to produce more because the tubers will continue to grow in size until frost. After that, sweet potatoes can usually fend for themselves, though they do benefit from weekly deep watering during serious droughts. Japanese beetles and other leaf-eating insects may cause light damage, but sweet potatoes are so vigorous that they usually outgrow foliage pest problems. Historically, sweet potatoes have been a poor soil crop that produces a decent harvest in imperfect soil, but will do better when planted in good soil and given regular doses of fertilizer. The free gardening app you've been waiting for. Plan to dig all sweet potatoes before frost. To start your slips, you need several healthy, clean sweet potatoes. Many intensive gardeners space sweet potatoes 12 inches apart. Clip vines and save them for the compost pile. Protect young potato plants from weeds by inspecting your garden bed often and gently removing any weeds by hand. How to Grow Sweet Potatoes in a Container – Producing Slips. Soil of moderate fertility, slightly on the acid side, that drains well. Even then, you may need to harvest early because frost threatens, which means fewer and/or smaller tubers. Too much nitrogen in the soil causes long, thin roots. Bold colors. Plant sweet potatoes in warm soil about a month after the last spring frost. You should amend your soil with lots of rich organic matter and make sure that it is well drained. When the roots — which turn into the actual sweet potatoes — begin to grow in the pot, they will often circle around the inside of the pot. You can harvest sweet potatoes as soon as they reach a usable size, which takes at least three months. Pull up the crown and use your hands to gather your sweet potatoes. It is soil-borne and nearly impossible to get rid of once the soil is infested. They will then need to be embedded in soil for 90 days and kept continuously warm and moist. In colder climates, gardeners must use season-extending techniques. The vines of sweet potatoes tend to ramble far and wide, which is why many home gardeners don’t raise them. Sweet potatoes are usually ready to harvest just as the ends of the vines begin to turn yellow, or just before frost in the North. Before planting, improve your native soil by mixing in several inches of aged compost or other rich organic matter. A tuber grown in water will continue to produce slips until the tuber’s reserves are exhausted. And it’s blessed with the best upbringing a young plant can have: Miracle-Gro Head Start. Dig carefully; tubers bruise easily at this point. If you absolutely cannot harvest all sweet potatoes before frost, mulch the patch heavily with straw or other cover. Many of today’s varieties are better adapted to growing in shorter seasons than varieties were years ago. Sweet potatoes like growing in sandy soils, lots of sun, lots of space, and a reasonable amount of water and nutrients. Store sweet potato slips in a well-lit room with a temperature between 65° and 70°F. Mulching planting beds with black plastic warms soil – perfect for giving plants a touch of the tropics and reducing weeds. They are the ideal crop for areas with sandy soil. Good root development depends on there being plenty of air space in the soil (good aeration). A hill of sweet potatoes will yield about 2 pounds of marketable sweet potatoes and an average yield per acre of 400 bushels (50 pounds) is attainable. More troublesome are pests that might attack the tubers. I put 5 sweet potatoes from last years crop into a glass of water each back in March. Or, simply feed with a water-soluble plant food, like Miracle-Gro® Performance Organics® Edibles Plant Nutrition every week. The average yield per potato plant is roughly a half-dozen potatoes, and they grow best in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 6 through 12. These give rise to your sweet potatoes. Keep them there until about 90 days before the last spring frost date. When to harvest your sweet potatoes. To remedy that, before planting, cut each plant off just above the soil line in the container, then plant it (without roots) straight into your garden bed. When setting out sweet potatoes in very hot, sunny weather, cover the plants with upturned flower pots for 3 days after planting to shield them from baking sun. I did notice that they didn’t grow to any great depth though, so old washtubs would work great I think.–wider but shallower. My own climate is a bit cool for sweet potatoes, but I still grow them because they are delicious, nutritious, easy to store, and grow like crazy in unusually warm summers. Once that happens, there’s a chance they won’t fill out properly. Then mulch over the soil with an inch of grass clippings or another biodegradable mulch. When harvesting sweet potatoes in pots or in the garden, some of these roots swell and form the storage root, which is the part of the plant we harvest and eat. Miracle-Gro® Performance Organics® Edibles Plant Nutrition Granules, Miracle-Gro® Performance Organics® Edibles Plant Nutrition. To maximize your potato growing efforts, keep plants fed with a continuous-release plant food. Continue weeding and adding more mulch for another month. Sweet potatoes are a tropical vine so they need several months of warm weather. Use a garden fork to unearth tubers, starting at the edge of the patch and working your way in toward vines. Once your sweet potatoes have sprouted, you have to separate them … The actual yield can vary dramatically depending on a number of factors, such as variety, growing conditions and the gardener's skill. In late summer, sweet potatoes often produce flowers that resemble those of morning glory, a close botanical cousin. Get gardening info on the go with our free app, HOMEGROWN with Bonnie Plants. The slip will form new roots in just 2 to 3 days, and those roots will eventually become fine, well-formed sweet potatoes. Wireworms and nematodes can also attack sweet potatoes. I would break off the sprouts when they got about … Harvest a few tubers to see if they’re large enough before digging the entire patch. In many cases, it’s reasonable to expect three or four nice tubers from varieties such as Covington or Beauregard. To create sprouts, carefully wash your potatoes and cut them either in half or in large sections. A shaded table outdoors and out of the rain works well. Curing is what gives them a hardened skin. Sweet potato vines will soon cover a large area. When planting next season, don’t improve soil in your sweet potato patch with anything that might add nitrogen (such as compost), and don’t fertilize. Again, be sure to read the label. Ideally, the pH should be between 5.8 and 6.2, although they will tolerate a more acidic pH (down to 5.0). Bush varieties typically produce less; on the other hand, they will readily grow in containers. Pounds Per Plant. Space sweet potato plants 12 to 18 inches apart in damp, loamy soil with a pH of 5.8 to 6.2. Yields are averaging about 275 to 300 bushels per acre, up from the state’s average of 250 to 275 bushels an acre. Enjoy dabbling in the diversity of deliciousness you’ll find in our Foodie Fresh collection. Harvest sweet potatoes when the ends of the vines start to yellow. It’s best not to trim vines; they help feed the potatoes. How many sweet potatoes per plant? This step is very important, as fresh, uncured potatoes do not bake as well. Sweet potatoes that are subjected to drought will produce fewer and smaller tubers. Water is especially important as plants grow and roots spread. New varieties. Plant sweet potatoes in warm soil about a month after the last spring frost. Shake off soil, and then lay the unwashed sweet potatoes in a warm (80°F to 90°F), well-ventilated place for about 10 days. Thoroughly weed your sweet potatoes 2 weeks after planting by pulling them gently; if possible avoid deep digging with a hoe or other tool that disturbs the feeder roots that quickly spread throughout the bed. So much to grow, so little time. If you damage any sweet potatoes during digging, send them straight to the kitchen – they won’t cure or store. Full sun, preferably eight to 10 hours a day. It’ll depend on the variety you have, but you can expect about five to ten tubers per sweet potato plant.

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