PLANTING, GROWING, AND HARVESTING SWEET POTATOES

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Sweet potatoes are grown more frequently in southern regions because they require warm temperatures for at least four months. However, there are also varieties that grow in northern gardens. They are surprisingly easy to grow and only a few plants can bring a generous harvest. How to plant, grow and harvest delicious sweet potatoes in your garden.

when to harvest sweet potatoes

In warm climates, many gardeners plant sweet potatoes about a month after the last spring frost, when both the air and the ground are reliably warm. There are bush and grape varieties.

Sweet potatoes are not made from seeds like most other vegetables, but from briefs – small rooted pieces of tubers that are cut directly from the sweet potato.

Sweet potatoes are not only very easy to grow, they are also drought and heat resistant and have few pests or diseases. The sweet potato is very nutritious and relatively low in calories.

HOW TO PLANT SWEET POTATOES

  • Sweet potatoes are usually grown from briefs, i.e. sprouts that are grown from stored sweet potatoes. You can buy vouchers in garden centers, kindergartens or local farmers.
  • You can also create your own slips to plant in spring. Go to your grocery store in November (which is the best of the new crop) and look for flawless and cracked medium-sized sweet potatoes. A sweet potato should make up about 12 plants.
  • Store sweet potato strips in a well-lit room at a temperature between 65 ° and 70 ° F. Keep them there until about 90 days before the last spring frost date. They must then be embedded in the ground for 90 days and kept continuously warm and moist.
  • Use a 1½ gallon pot for two slips each. Remember to put drainage holes in the bottom of the pot and fill it with 3 inches of mulch, followed by garden or potting soil. Plant the briefs in the pot at an angle of 45 ° so that the sprouts grow above the ground. If the briefs are 6 to 12 inches tall, you can plant them outdoors as long as all the risk of frost is over.
  • After growing or buying your own briefs, go to the garden area that you will use to a depth of 8 to 10 inches. Create elevated hills 6 to 8 inches high and about 12 inches wide. Use fertile, well-drained soil.
  • Plant the briefs 12 to 18 inches apart in bed after the last spring frost date. Plant the briefs deep enough to cover the roots and about 1 cm of the stem. Water the briefs with a phosphorus-rich starter solution (a liquid fertilizer) and then water them generously for a few days to ensure that the plants are well rooted.

See more : How Many Sweet Potatoes Per Plant

HOW TO GROW SWEET POTATOES

  • Place the potatoes on the side 3 to 4 weeks after transplanting with 3 pounds of 5-10-10 fertilizer per 100 foot row. If you have sandy soil, use 5 pounds.
  • Occasionally chop the beds to keep weeds out. Remember to shape the beds with soil or mulch.
  • For good harvests, do not prune the vines as they should be strong.
  • Remember to keep the plants watered. Deep watering in hot, dry periods helps increase yields. However, if you plan to store some of the potatoes, do not give the plants extra water late in the season as this can lead to cracks on the skin of the tuber.

PESTS/DISEASES

  • Flea beetles
  • Sweet potato scurf
  • White blister
  • Fungal leaf diseases (Alternaria leaf spot and blight, Botrytis)
  • Stem rot

When To Harvest Sweet Potatoes

  • You can start digging out the potatoes as soon as they are big enough for a meal. It is often 3 to 4 months from when you planted the briefs (most varieties need at least 100 days to reach maturity).
  • Sweet potatoes are usually ready for harvest when the leaves and ends of the vines turn yellow. However, you can leave them in the ground until autumn frost.
  • Since the roots spread 4 to 6 inches deep in the soil, a spade fork is useful when digging up the potatoes. Loosen the soil around the plant (18-inch diameter) so you do not injure the tubers. It’s fine to cut some of the vines away.
  • Pull up the primary crown of the plant and use your hands to dig up the tubers. Handle the sweet potatoes carefully, as they bruise easily.
  • After digging out the tubers, shake off excess dirt, but don’t wash the roots.

  • You have to cure sweet potatoes, otherwise they will not have the delicious, sweet taste. When the potatoes harden, a second skin can form over scratches and bruises that occur when the potatoes are dug out. Keep the roots in a warm place (approx. 27 ° C) with high humidity (approx. 90%) for 10 to 14 days. A table outside in a shady place works well. For optimal curing, make sure that the potatoes do not touch.
  • After hardening, throw away any crushed potatoes, wrap them in a newspaper and carefully pack them in a wooden box or basket. Store the sweet potatoes in a root cellar, cellar or other place with a temperature of at least 13 ° C.
  • When stored in a temperature range of 13–15.5 ° C (55–60 ° F) with high humidity, the tubers should last for about 6 months. Remember to be careful when you take out the potatoes. do not dig around or you will crush the potatoes.

VARIETIES

  • Centennial’ is one of the most popular types of sweet potatoes. It is carrot-colored and has a good shelf life. It is also a good producer for producers from the north.
  • ‘Beauregard’ is originally from Louisiana, but also grows well in the north. It has light purple skin and dark orange flesh.
  • ‘Jewel’ is copper colored and has good disease resistance. It also has good durability.
  • ‘Bunch Porto Rico’ is a good choice for gardens with limited space. It is copper colored and very aromatic.
  • ‘Stokes’ offers a vibrant purple color and is full of additional health benefits.
  • ‘Vardaman’, another good choice for gardeners with limited space, is a bush-type variety with golden skin and orange flesh.

 

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