how to grow sweet potatoes

How to Grow Sweet Potatoes? A Guide to Growing Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are one of the most popular vegetables in the United States. They are not only delicious, but also nutritious. But how to grow sweet potatoes? It’s not that difficult!

What Are Some Varieties of Sweet Potatoes?

Sweet potatoes are a versatile and delicious root vegetable that can be grown in a wide range of climates. Tuber size, shape, and color vary depending on the variety of sweet potato. When choosing a variety to grow, it is important to consider the average length of your growing season. In general, shorter seasons are best for early-maturing varieties, while longer seasons are better for late-maturing varieties.

There are many different varieties of sweet potatoes, and they come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and colors. Some common varieties include: Boniato, Beauregard, Jewel, Red Garnet or Centennial. So, how to grow sweet potatoes? 

How to Grow Sweet Potatoes?

It is important to choose a variety that is well-suited to your soil type. Sweet potatoes prefer well-drained, sandy loam soils with a pH between 5.5 and 6.5. Once you have selected a variety, you will need to purchase seedlings or start from a reputable nursery or garden center. Be sure to select healthy plants with strong root systems.

How to Plant Sweet Potatoes in Your Garden?

So, how to grow sweet potatoes? To grow sweet potatoes, you’ll need to start with a sprout. You can either purchase sweet potato slips or sprouts from a garden center, or you can grow your own sprouts from sweet potatoes you have at home.

For best results, start with healthy sweet potato plants that have been specifically bred for your growing region. Once you have your plants, preparing the soil is critical for success. Sweet potatoes need loose, sandy soil that is high in organic matter. Before planting, loosen the soil to a depth of at least 12 inches and mix in 2-3 inches of compost or other organic matter. Once the soil is prepared, you can plant your sweet potato slips or starts. Space the plants 12-18 inches apart, and bury them so that only the top leaves are exposed.

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They like it sunny and warm, with high humidity. So if you’re growing sweet potatoes in a sunny spot with warm weather, they should do well. Just make sure to keep an eye on the humidity levels, as too much or too little can impact growth.

When Are Sweet Potatoes Ready to Be Harvested?

So, how to grow sweet potatoes, and when can you harvest them? The time it takes for sweet potatoes to mature will depend on the variety you are growing. In general, early varieties will be ready to harvest in 90-120 days, while late varieties can take up to 150 days. Sweet potatoes are ready to harvest when the leaves begin to yellow and the roots are large enough to swell the soil around them.

How to Harvest Sweet Potatoes?

Carefully dig around the plants with a spade or garden fork, being careful not to damage the roots. Once the sweet potatoes have been dug up, brush off any excess dirt and allow them to cure in a warm, dry place for 10-14 days. After curing, store the sweet potatoes in a cool, dark place until you are ready to use them.

Fertilize Regularly

So, how to grow sweet potatoes and how to make sure they’re fertilized properly? Sweet potatoes are heavy feeders and will benefit from being fertilized throughout the growing season. On average, it takes 110 pounds of nitrogen, 15 pounds of phosphorus, and 150 pounds of potassium per acre to grow a field of sweet potatoes. For home gardens, you can use a balanced 10-10-10 fertilizer or something similar. They should be fertilized every few weeks during the growing season, usually 4-6 weeks.

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Water Regularly

How to grow sweet potatoes? Regular watering is essential. Sweet potatoes need about 1 inch of water per week, either from rainfall or irrigation. It is important to keep the soil moist but not soggy to prevent root rot. If you are using irrigation, drip systems are the best option to minimize leaf diseases.

Weed Control

Weeds compete with sweet potatoes for water, nutrients, and space. So, how to grow sweet potatoes and control the weed? Hand-weeding, mulching, and using herbicides are all effective methods of weed control, which is very important for sweet potatoes to grow.

Sethoxydim is a herbicide that is specifically labeled for use on sweet potatoes. Be sure to follow the label instructions carefully to avoid harming your plants.

Pests and Diseases – How to Cure Sweet Potatoes?

There are a number of pests and diseases that can affect sweet potatoes, but fortunately, many of them can be controlled with good cultural practices.

The most common pests that attack sweet potatoes are root-knot nematodes, flea beetles, and Colorado potato beetles. Root-knot nematodes are microscopic worms that feed on the roots of sweet potatoes, causing them to become stunted and yield less. Flea beetles are small, black bugs that eat holes in the leaves of sweet potatoes. Colorado potato beetles are slightly larger than flea beetles and can decimate a sweet potato crop if left unchecked.

The best way to control all of these pests is to practice crop rotation and use floating row covers. Crop rotation means growing a different type of plant in the same spot where you grew sweet potatoes the year before. This helps to break the life cycle of the pests and prevents them from becoming a problem. Floating row covers are sheets of fabric that are placed over sweet potato plants to keep pests from getting to them. The fabric allows sunlight and water to pass through, but keeps insects out.

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Will Sweet Potatoes Be Growing in Containers?

Sweet potatoes are generally easy to grow, and you can grow them in containers. So, how to grow sweet potatoes in a container? Make sure the container is large enough to accommodate the roots and that it has drainage holes to allow excess water to escape. You’ll also want to avoid plastic or metal containers, and make sure the pot has 4 holes for drainage and the right potting soil.

How to Store Sweet Potatoes?

Sweet potatoes can be stored in a cool, dark place for up to two months. Bruising can occur during storage, so be sure to check them regularly and use any that are bruised or damaged. To extend their shelf life, you can store them in a perforated plastic bag in the refrigerator.

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