Sweet potatoes are one of my absolute favorite veggies to grow! Purely because they are full of incredible vitamins, they make wonderful desserts when prepared correctly, and they taste great in virtually any dish! Instead of growing regular potatoes during this grow season, I wanted to make it a point to grow sweet potatoes instead! I have a lot of space in my backyard to work with, and I was really excited to get started. Let’s begin!
Sweet potatoes will grow in any kind of soil you have available, even the most poor! It is important to note that sweet potato roots can be extremely deformed if grown in soil with heavy clay. To begin, build 10 inch high ridges spaced 3.5 feet apart. Rodales Organic Life recommends working in plenty of compost into the high ridges to help support the development of your potatoes.
For perfect sweet potatoes, plant potato sprouts in a box of chopped leaves six weeks before the last frost. Keep the box of sprouts in a warm spot and cut off any shoots when they reach 9 inches long. Plant the sprouts in an area of full sun 3 weeks after the last frost.
When it’s time to transplant your sprouts, make holes six inches deep and a foot apart, and bury your sprouts. Pack the soil down firmly and water well.
In regards to watering, if the weather in your grow zone tends to be a bit drier, make sure that your potatoes are getting at least one inch of water per week. Two weeks before harvesting, cease all watering and let the soil dry out. Never overwater sweet potatoes, as too much water can create vegetable rot. Don’t worry too much if you are dealing with drought in your area, sweet potatoes tend to handle droughts better than they do overwatering!
Harvest the veggies of your labor as soon as the plant leaves begin to yellow. However, it is important to mention that the longer the potatoes are in the ground, the more nutirent dense they become. Harvest potatoes with a spading fork on a day with tons of sunlight and dry soil. Ripe sweet potatoes can be stored for several months!