Sweet potatoes

jespereMay 16, 2011

Hi all, I have been doing some reading on here about sweet potatoes but it seems like every time I have found a thread about to give the answer, the subject changes! lol. I was just wondering, has anyone found a bush-type sweet potato plant that grows well in central Florida?

Also, it seems like a lot of people have had success leaving the vines for a few years, how do you deal with the nematodes and weevils?

Thanks! I love gardening but I have never attempted sweet potatoes before!

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whgille(FL 9b)

Hi

I have been growing successfully bush sweet potatoes for about 3 years in Central Florida if that answer your question.

I don't on purpose live them on the ground for more than one season, but sometimes they are left over from previous harvest.

And I always try to plant the sweet potatoes in different place than were grown before.

Now is the right time to plant them, all my bush sweet potatoes are doing well.

Silvia

    Bookmark   May 16, 2011 at 12:32PM
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dlsm(Z9b Titusville Fl)

Hi,

Here is a picture of my Bush Porto Rico potatoes slips I set out April 15. Now is the time to grow them during the hot summer months.

Bush Porto Rico Sweet Potato

Luther

    Bookmark   May 16, 2011 at 4:50PM
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pnbrown

When reading about SP's you will constantly encounter the advice to not amend or fertilize the soil. This is because in many regions of north america the soil is more than fertile enough to produce good crops of SP, and in many cases the ground has enough residual N to stimulate vine growth at the expense of tuber production.

Central florida sand does not fall into that category. Even though it is often stated that sandy soil is best for SP, most ground in central florida isn't merely 'sandy' soil, it is sand. If you are near a lake or river you may have more fertility. I started about 200 slips last month, some in the native sand which has been lightly amended for several years, and others in compost mix. Because the sand retains virtually no moisture, it gets extremely hot during the day and will fry the slips. They have to be soaked at least every morning, morning and evening is better, and the slips should be covered with some thin layer of material like hay or straw to protect from sun and wind. The combo of hot sand and wind will kill just-planted slips very quickly, in one day in some cases. After about ten days the slips will be adapted.

The slips started in compost mix did tremendously better, suffering much less transplant shock and taking faster. Many were showing new growth in two days, whereas the sand-planted ones took 7-10 days. I took a post-hole digger and made planting holes and filled those with the mix and then set in the slip. Florida sand generally has adequate calcium and phosphorous, if the ground were to be as-is around the planting holes it would be best to add some source of potassium and lightly fertilize the young plants with N during the growing season.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2011 at 7:00AM
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Truscifi

Where do you get the slips? Do you start your own, and if so how do you know what variety you are getting?

    Bookmark   May 19, 2011 at 10:21AM
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loufloralcityz9

Tru asked, "Do you start your own, and if so how do you know what variety you are getting?"

I read the label on the sweet potato bins in Publix, works every time... DUH!

Reading is fun, lolol
Lou

    Bookmark   May 19, 2011 at 10:35AM
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dlsm(Z9b Titusville Fl)

Hi, I purchased mine from www.sweetpotatoplant.com They have them at www.sandhillpreservation.com or you can Google the information.

Luther

    Bookmark   May 19, 2011 at 12:56PM
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jespere

Thank you all for your responses! The bush variety sounds nice.

Silvia, thanks for the information on location of planting, I take this to mean you have not had any major root diseases with this method?

PNbrown, interesting thoughts on soil composition in the area - love the input. Thank you and your advice will be heeded.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2011 at 1:09PM
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whgille(FL 9b)

In the 3 years that I am growing sweet potatoes, I had no problems and always are satisfied with my harvest.

I have about 5 different varieties that are bush and I like them all as far as taste. Mine are from Sandhill and this season I am growing a new one from Echo.

Here is a picture from last season, where I had a lot of sweet potatoes to keep them for myself and give away to friends, they last a long time after harvest.

Silvia

    Bookmark   May 19, 2011 at 2:32PM
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saldut

I just take the eyes from SPs from Publix and dig a hole, and stick a stick in so I know where it is... as the SP runners start I wind them around the stick and throw some dirt on them, I plant the eyes in a depression-hole so I don't wind up with a big mound... this way I don't have those runners covering the whole back-yard also it's easier to dig them up......I do the same with white 'taters, just cut a good eye from what I get at Publix and plant them low in a hole and throw dirt on the plant as it grows.....the main thing is to cut a good eye with enough 'tater to get the thing started.. and then just eat the rest !!..... works for me.... sally

    Bookmark   May 19, 2011 at 2:44PM
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Truscifi

Lol Lou! So I guess I can order them if I want to be all fancy, or just start some from Publix and hope for the best...I'll probably go with Publix, I'm a simple kinda gal.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2011 at 4:49PM
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Minderella(9 Lake County FL)

can you explain and maybe a picture of what and how much of the eye. Thank you

    Bookmark   May 19, 2011 at 5:14PM
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loufloralcityz9

Tru,
I chop off an inch or two from the eyes end, put it (cut side down) in a dish of shallow water and wait for the slips to grow out. Change the water daily.

Cook and eat the rest of the sweet potato.

Lou

    Bookmark   May 19, 2011 at 6:11PM
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pnbrown

I used 'george's plant farm' in kentucky. They send very large slips that have been heavily trimmed of foliage and they proved to be quite tough. I don't think I hardly lost one during that very hot weather in mid-april.

One way to set up an SP bed that I used is to make a sizable ridge of sand, about two feet wide and a foot high , like a little mountain ridge, and then split the top of the ridge into a large furrow. Then one can fill the furrow with some kind of mix that retains moisture well. 5 or 6 inches deep by a few inches wide of mix is sufficient for slips to get established quickly. Later the tubers will form nicely in the loose sand of the ridge and they will cure up well in there in the fall after the rain stops also.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2011 at 7:15AM
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