Growing sweet potatoes

keepitlow(6)March 13, 2009

Is growing sweet potatoes similar to growing regular potatoes?

Do sweet potatoes plants produce lots of sweet potatoes per plant or just one sweet potato per plant?

Do you hill up the sweet potatoes as you do with regular potatoes?

Any problems with growing sweet potatoes such as special diseases or bugs that do not affect regular potatoes?

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dave_f1 SC, USDA Zone 8a(7b)

Sweetpotatoes and irish (white) potatoes are very different. Not much the same about growing them. Sweetpotatoes are warm-season (tropical) and potatoes are cool-season. What you harvest with sweetpotatoes are roots, with potatoes its tubers that grow out of the stem. So hilling has a benefit for 'regular' potatoes only. I'm sure there's alot of other info if you search previous posts.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2009 at 9:57AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

And sweets are grown from plants called "slips" while Irish potatoes are grown using seed potatoes. Most varieties of sweets produce long vines. Lots of previous discussions here about how to grow them.

Dave

Here is a link that might be useful: Sweet Potato discussions

    Bookmark   March 13, 2009 at 10:10AM
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wayne_5 zone 6a Central Indiana

Hill the rows before setting out the slips as the roots need about an extra foot of looser soil.

Sweetpotatoes tend to produce about 6 potatoes per plant.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2009 at 11:55AM
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sunnibel7 Md 7(7)

I'm no expert on growing sweet potatoes since I only did it last year, but for what it is worth, I found them to be very easy! They only had one pest and frankly, even with average care they were robust enough that they probably could have weathered that without my intervention. Oh, the pest? A less well known cousin of our favorite Japanese Beetle, the Asiatic Garden Beetle. It has all of the charm of the JB but with the added bonus of only feeding after dark!

    Bookmark   March 13, 2009 at 1:53PM
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gardenlen(s/e qld aust)

sweet potato's are a lot easier to grow and they can produce multiple tubers and in the right climate zone all year round for the right zone they can be planted all year round pretty much. there is also no need to seek planting stock on a seasonal basis if you need more plants just take some slips from your own vine and stand them in water until they root, or plant them and water them well.

when you harvest a tuber just simply tuck the cut off ends of the vine back in the ground they will continue to grow. n need to let the vine ramble keep it in a tight pattern (we just take our leaders and throw them back over the central growth of the plants keeps it nice and tidy) or prune regular won't effect production and the young leaves can be eaten like spinach just steam until they wilt.

len

Here is a link that might be useful: lens garden page

    Bookmark   March 13, 2009 at 2:32PM
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koala12q

len..Unfortunately very few of us in the US live in a tropical, or even sub-tropical area like yours. Would be nice to grow sweetpotatoes all year!! But it's just a summer crop for the vast majority of us. I imagine alot of northern gardeners here wouldn;t have a long enough frost-free season to grow these at all. I do plan on growing my own slips this year. Maybe I'll try to steam some leaves this year. Didn;t know they were edible!

    Bookmark   March 13, 2009 at 3:31PM
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reign(z5 NY)

This will be my first year growing sweet potatoes. I'm pretty excited. I have visions of pie dancing in my head.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2009 at 5:31PM
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hatchjon

This will be my first year growing sweet potatoes as well. I ordered Beauregard from Johnny's Seed.
I love baked or roasted sweet potatoes. I'm hoping for good luck with these.

Gardenlen: Potatoes are probably one of the easiest things to grow here in Maine. I put them in a trench, hill them twice and that's it. I think climate plays a big part in this. You probably have to deal with all kinds of pests and diseases that get killed off up here due to the freeze. On the other hand sweet potatoes are easy for you and all the girls aren't bundled up in giant coats for 3/4 of the year :)

Jon

    Bookmark   March 14, 2009 at 11:41AM
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rjinga

I grew sweet potatoes (beauregard) for the first time 2 years ago...I puchased a 9 pack from HD or Lowes, only 7 of these plants ended up growing. and I planted them per the specs on the tag (if memory serves, 2 feet apart? and the rows were also 2 feet apart, or something similiar,

They produced like crazy and eventually the vine took over my entire garden spot. (which was ok, because they grow until like December here before harvest and everything else in the garden was done by then). I started digging them after the first frost or so hit them...and everywhere the runners went and anchored down, I had potatoes too, it was like a treasure hunt...I would dig up the main roots (and I had some on the main plants as big as footballs, I"m not kidding, they were not all this large, but I'd say at least one or two on them were. The rest were all good sized, and of course the further out the runner from the main plant they were alot smaller. I filled up 4 five gallon buckets with potatoes. I had more than I could ever eat, gave a ton away and used the very smallest ones for seed for the next year. (which apparently got planted too late).

The second season (last year) I planted about 8 plants from slips I grew from the small potatoes. And I only had about one 5 gallon bucket full. Again, I contribute this to getting them planted way too late. They missed the HOT summer sun.



    Bookmark   March 14, 2009 at 12:12PM
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originalvermonter

I've grown sweet potatoes where I live and they do very well. Last year we found plants in trays at Walmart. The plants grew to be bigger and had slightly larger yields then potatoes grown from slips. I have alkaline soil and I've grown Georgia Jet and Beaugregard. The purple/red potatoes have a better looking outer skin and store longer because of this. Does anyone know which of the two varieties is purple/red. I'm sure in other soils the orange variety does better, but not in my alkaline clay.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2009 at 12:56PM
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gardenlen(s/e qld aust)

g'day koala,

see someone in zone 8 doing very well with them the original poster is in zone 7 as zones are only an indicator that may not mean much to the plants as they grow by climate conditions, and the original poster could have a good micro-climate somthing not taken into account by many gardeners. they will grow into the temperate zones especailly in the micro-climate of an eastern or southern aspected position. and of course very liberal use of mulch hay to keep the soil warmer longer. we kept tubers viable in the ground in rural where we got solid frosts with ground temp's down to -6c or so.

g'day jon,

we grow our spuds though our winter which is probably like your autumn over there in lots of the country? we do get light frosts, but we also have no bugs through the winter, and with the shorter sunlight hours they need less water. got my first planting in now, as we still need to get good growth happening to carry us through those slower months of june & july.

my suggestion don't count on some numbering or climate identification of growing conditions, learn about aspects and micro-climates and that can only be determined on the spot in live sight, for the US i'd be thinking eastern to southern aspects the better micro-climate as would also being close to the eastern sea board or east of the range, here it is eastern to northern and near the eastern sea board. when we buy a house aspect is a big consderation as we need good sun to grow anything through winter.

with sweeties the very worst you can do is try and fail, it is not life altering stuff.

len

Here is a link that might be useful: lens garden page

    Bookmark   March 14, 2009 at 2:06PM
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