Question for Sylvia on sweets

mrs_tlcDecember 2, 2012

Hi Sylvia. Tina shared some of the bush sweets with me, which I planted mid-june. I planted them in a large container that came from a peach tree so at least 10 gal I'd say and used organic potting soil. Drip irrigation ran twice a day. It turned into such a beautiful healthy bush and I was SO excited to finally dump it out because I could feel a nice large potato just beneath the surface. Based upon what I had read I expected to find at least 10 lbs. of potatoes.... LOL.... there was ONE very large one shaped like a heart and then just a pot full of roots.

What did I do wrong? too much water? Too rich of a soil? Hubby laughed because I was like a sad little kid...LOL

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A second part to this question: Can I save cuttings from this plant and just start over even though the colder weather is coming. The UF guide says Feb-June for SWFL so it may be a waste of time?

    Bookmark   December 2, 2012 at 11:16AM
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whgille(FL 9b)

Hi Mrs Tlc

When I saw the tittle of this thread, I thought cookies since it is around Christmas, lol.
Since you are in zone 10 and don't get a freeze, you can grow sweet potatoes all year. They are the easiest things to grow for us, they can grow in our faulty soils, what they don't like is a high nitrogen or not well composted mushroom soil. Mine do well in my amended raised bed and in the not amended soil around my bananas, because of lack of space like many of us here I put them wherever there is space.
To start fresh you can either make new starts from cuttings from the plant you have already now, just cut them about 6 inches and put them where you want them to grow 6 to 12 inches apart. In my opinion it is better to give them room to grow in the ground and if necessary cut the vines if they are running all over the place.
If you are going to have frost, they will survive under a cover at night and daytime they get uncover.
When young, till they get established I water once a day, after that they can take less water and for sure water 2 times a day is too much. My established sweets only got water with the sprinklers 2 times a week.
If you are going to be too cold in your area and don't want to cover plants, save some cuttings and put them in pots in a sheltered area and coming February you can plant those. New plants can be started from cuttings or from a sweet potato submerged in water.
In the last party that we had, there were so many people that were successful growing the sweets for the first time that they even brought dishes made with them.
I wish you a lot of success with your next growing season, they are a staple in my house and I even make some for my dogs.


    Bookmark   December 2, 2012 at 3:26PM
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LOL - sorry about that :)

Thank you so much for your input. I'll just try again. I have several cuttings so I'll try different places and see how they do!

    Bookmark   December 5, 2012 at 10:10PM
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