Sweet Potato's in SFG

jbest123(Zone 5 PA)December 16, 2007

Has anybody planted SP in there SFG and how did they do? Also how did you keep the moles from chewing on them?


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Hi John -- I've never grown sweet potatoes in a square foot garden myself so I can't give you any suggestions.... but it sounds interesting and I'd love for you to report back how it works out for you. Sweet potatoes are one of my favorites!


Here is a link that might be useful: Ft2Garden.com

    Bookmark   January 10, 2008 at 12:06PM
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John, I had my first sqftgrdn this past year and planted 2 SP transplants as soon as they were available (Bonnie Plants). The raised bed e was no more than 5-6 inches of "mel's mix" if you know what I mean. I trained the vines up trellis netting. At some point late in the summer, after just about everything else was spent in my garden, I started digging around to see what was there and found an incredible harvest! Some of the potatoes were long, winding things, but most of them were what you'd find at your local farmer's market.

I have several raised garden boxes and think I will add a "second tier" to part of one for carrots and SP this year... definitely give them a shot. I'm in central AL, 8a.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2008 at 10:16PM
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Interesting! How much space did you give them? I have two beds, one raised high, the other 8" high. I think I will try to put them in the high raised bed.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2008 at 7:25PM
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I've grown sweet potatoes in a small (3x4) raised bed several times. I'd say 1 slip per square will be plenty. My bed wasn't fancy, just extra dirt piled high and amended well w/compost and sand - Mel's Mix would be swell. The vines sprawled nicely and I don't remember weeding them after they got going (be careful weeding -the spuds are tender and they're just below the surface). Easy crop, but I suggest growing them separately, without any other plants nearby - the vines really go everywhere. Be sure to cure them in a warm room after digging 'em up - I put them in baskets atop the 'fridge for a week or 2, the heat up there will help them 'set' their flavor.
I start my own plants, by the way. Put 3 toothpicks into a nice sweet potato about 5 weeks before last frost, and set it in a jar 2/3rds full of water. Keep it wet. It will begin to send up vines - break them off when they're an inch or 2 long and put them into (recycled styrofoam) cups full of sand or perlite, water and rooting hormone. They'll start to develop roots soon. Move them from the perlite into small 'peat pots' if you like...I usually just put 'em right in the dirt 'as is', after last frost. Won't hurt to warm the bed w/black mulch or landscape fabric a few days prior to planting.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2008 at 9:14AM
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Sweet potato vines will cover some space, so either train them up a trellis or let them become a ground cover between two adjoining beds. The roots tend to wander, too. I've found tubers two feet from the plants' primary growing crowns.

There's a variety called Vardaman that has foliage tinged with purple, so it's almost as attractive as the ornamental sweet potatoes. Combined with yellow melampodium or French marigolds, they make a stunning edible ornamental.

I like to buy individual gourmet tubers at upscale markets, then sprout one and grow out the slips. It's fun to see what you get. I do that with regular potatoes, too.

Here is a link that might be useful: my website

    Bookmark   January 25, 2008 at 7:41PM
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i have an elderly gentleman friend who plants them "on" the ground and covers them with straw. he said it was the easiest way he had ever done them. its how i'm going to do them this year. well, i've never done them befor.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2008 at 5:45PM
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How many Sweet potatoe vines are you able to get from 1 sweet potatoe? I need to know how many sweet potatoes to buy to get 12 vines.
Thank you in advance.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2008 at 11:26AM
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I've got 11 slips from one potato so far and I think I will get more.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2009 at 5:28PM
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Yeah I started two sweet potatoes that we bought from the store. I got so many that I had to just sit the potatoes out on the deck and let them grow. I feel horrible killing perfectly good plants. I also took the slips and planted them in a container just for ornamental reasons. I figured they wouldnt produce fruit since the container is rather shallow. I have them growing in a 4x2 section of my garden that is a foot tall and the area is just covered. Very pretty. But the vines really hasn't sprawled too far out of the area. When they do, I just place them back in the box. I hope this isnt detrimental to them. I assumed they grew deep in the soil like potatoes but I found one right underneath the soil. I was surprised and hoped I didnt do something wrong. I see now that it is going like it should. YEY!

Anyway, I cut the slips when they were about 6 inches tall and planted them in the box laying them down and covering the slip leaving 1 to 2 inches above ground. they seem to be thriving but I havent harvested.

I was told they produce flowers but I havent seen them. I started them around....April I think. I just wonder when to harvest them. The one I saw was long and skinny. Not like the ones in the store but I figured they would taste the same!! lol

Here is a link that might be useful: Jen's Victory Garden Blog

    Bookmark   July 14, 2009 at 10:30AM
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angela12345(7b NC Mixed-Humid)

Harvesting of Sweet Potato roots is usually done between 90-120 days after transplanting or as soon as possible after a frost has blackened the tops of the plants

A) Check roots for maturity. A mature Sweet Potato will have 4 to 5 roots of varying sizes, but the majority should have a 1 3/4 inch diameter and be 3-9 inches in length. You can check for maturity by gently lifting the Sweet Potatoes out of the ground with a shovel making sure they do not become detached from the vine. If not mature, lower back down and cover with soil.

B) Dig Sweet Potatoes carefully because their skin is thin and they will bruise easily. It is best to wear gloves when handling them. Do not leave the roots exposed to direct sunlight with temperatures above 90 degrees for more than 30 minutes because they will sunscald and be more susceptible to storage rots.

C) Once the Sweet Potato roots have been removed from the garden, spread them out to dry for several hours away from direct sunlight. Once dry, put them in newspaper-lined boxes and leave them in a dry, ventilated area for 2 weeks for curing. Once cured, store in a cool, dry place (50-55 degrees) until youÂre ready to cook them

Sweet Potatoes can be stored for up to 10 months with little reduction in quality.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2009 at 2:10PM
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COOL Angelia! Thanks! Do you know if I have to set them out for 2 weeks for immediate consumption? I am stoked that they will last for 10 months. Do you have to layer newspaper between the SP so they dont touch like potatoes? or does it not really matter?

Here is a link that might be useful: Jen's Victory Garden Blog

    Bookmark   July 14, 2009 at 4:14PM
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angela12345(7b NC Mixed-Humid)

I wish I could claim to be the source of all this knowledge. I got it from the NC sweet potato commission. http://www.ncsweetpotatoes.com/ In fact, this was the website I used to find the wonderful sweet potato farm people who donated 5 potato slips to my home garden !! (after they laughed at me and said they sell them for $21/1000 and they would just GIVE me 5 plants)

I think you do not need to set out the ones you will be consuming immediately. Only the ones you will be storing. And yes, layer the newspaper.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2009 at 7:26PM
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Wow, this is very encouraging. I planted 4 slips this spring on a lark. They're growing pretty well...I made little hills for them in their squares. But it was, in fact, on my list of things to *not* do again because success seemed somewhat dubious.

Now I'm looking forward to the fall and seeing what happened...


    Bookmark   July 15, 2009 at 2:28PM
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I wanted to check my SP this morning but when I felt of the soil, it felt like there were roots everywhere and I didnt want to break any roots and stop the growing process with the potatoes! lol I did the same thing with the irish potatoes. I can't wait to harvest these! But after I harvested my Irish potatoes, I wanted more! LOL story of my life.

Thanks Angela! I will not worry about hardening them unless I am not planning on eating them for a while. Then I will put in a box and layer them with newspaper so they dont touch each other. OH! I could wrap every one individually that way there wont be any doubt if they are touching! I am going to do the same thing with the tomatoes. To think, this Christmas we can have cut tomatoes and sweet potatoes! ROFL

Here is a link that might be useful: Jen's Victory Garden Blog

    Bookmark   July 15, 2009 at 3:04PM
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angela12345(7b NC Mixed-Humid)

I am finding the sweet potatoes nerve wracking. On everything else I can actually SEE the progress it is making. To not know how it is doing until the end of the season . . . arrrggggghhhh !!

    Bookmark   July 15, 2009 at 6:36PM
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On a whim, I bought a potted sweet potato (Beauregard) from the nusery. (It was on sale and I couldn't resist.) Turns out it wasn't just one plant, but a number of little plants potted together. My SFG was full, so I planted them in a large empty kitty litter bucket. I am not sure what will happpen, but I am hopeful. In the past couple of years I have planted ornamental sweet potato vines in pots on my deck, and at the end of the season the pots have been jammed packed with potatos. Hopefully the edible variety will tolerate the pot as well.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2009 at 9:45PM
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It's great to see so many people trying sweet potatoes this season. I'm trying them for the first time - planted some back in April, and planted more today after I got some unexpected slips. It is late for planting sweet potatoes, but worth a try. Filled in every available space (7 squares) in the square foot box with sweet potatoes- not sure it is deep enough, but will try. And I have 50 (!) plants in the main (non square foot) garden, which constitutes a large portion of the garden.

The time to maturity will vary depending on the weather and on the particular variety you planted. Sand Hill Preservation Center (see link below) has good information on how quickly different varieties tend to mature.

Assuming the plants yield sweet potatoes, am not sure where I can store them at proper temperature. No cellar or basement here - they are very rare in this part of Texas. May have to try leaving the sweet potatoes in the ground (with cover to protect from frost) and harvesting gradually as needed - has anyone ever tried that?

Here is a link that might be useful: Sand Hill Preservation Center

    Bookmark   July 15, 2009 at 10:39PM
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