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Best Sweet Potatoes for the Bay Area?

Posted by plot_thickens 9a (My Page) on
Fri, Jun 3, 11 at 13:33

I'm putting in red potatoes and the husband walks up and says "hey can we grow sweet potatoes?"

And I realize that I really like sweet potatoes!

So what are the best kind for California (I live in Hayward by SF) and where can I get starts/slips/etc? And if anyone has any help with how to plant, that would be marvelous.

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RE: Best Sweet Potatoes for the Bay Area?

  • Posted by bahia SF Bay Area (My Page) on
    Sun, Jun 5, 11 at 2:57

We aren't really an ideal climate for growing sweet potatoes, they prefer it hot and steamy. I'll be surprised if you get any replies on which ones to grow here...

RE: Best Sweet Potatoes for the Bay Area?

Good to know. I'll try putting them somewhere in my rare 10a range. Thanks for the reply!

RE: Best Sweet Potatoes for the Bay Area?

I think you'll have to do more than that. They really want warm SOIL above all. You might be able to grow them under a poly row cover, but it's way too late in the year to start with that now.

In terms of slips, you can just buy the kind of sweet potatoes you want at the market (I'd start this process around Valentine's Day). Scrub them with a brush because they may have had sprouting inhibitor sprayed on them. Make slices that have at least one eye each and sprout them in a shallow tray of water in a warm indoor place. When the sprouts are a couple of inches long, peel them off from the potato slice and root them like herbaceous cuttings. Grow them on indoors for about six weeks. Try and get them in your cloched bed by May 1st (cloche your bed earlier than that to warm up the soil).

Raw sweet potatoes harvested from the garden look and feel much fresher than those you buy from the market. But once cooked, there's not a big difference in quality. Considering that market sweet potatoes usually go for under a dollar a pound, it's probably not worth all the effort to try and grow them in a climate where they're not naturally adapted. It's a bit like trying to grow fruiting bananas in northern California -- it can be done, but is it worth the effort?

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