Row by Row Episode 250: How to Grow Sweet Potatoes
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Row by Row Episode 250: How to Grow Sweet Potatoes

Row by Row Episode 250: How to Grow Sweet Potatoes

SWEET POTATO TIME !! One of our favorite things and easiest vegetables to grow in the garden and even in Mama Hoss' raised beds is sweet potatoes. We're discussing everything you need to know to have a great harvest this season, soil preparation, planting techniques, watering and fertilization needs, and much more! Let's grow together and get dirty!

What are Sweet Potatoes?

Sweet potato loves heat, and are great to fill that spot during summer heat. Sweet potatoes are a root vegetable that is packed with nutrition. They usually have a long, tapered shape and can range in size from small to large. They are a good source of dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, and many other vitamins and minerals. Sweet potatoes tend to be much more nutrient–dense than regular potatoes. They are a staple food in many countries and are used in a variety of dishes, including baked goods, casseroles, and soups. Sweet potatoes are a great vegetable to grow in the garden, as they are hardy, easy to grow, and have a long harvest season. Sweet potatoes are also a great choice for gardeners because they are relatively pest and disease-resistant, and can be stored for a long time. Additionally, sweet potatoes can be grown in a variety of climates, even in cooler regions.

Leaves are Edible

Sweet potato greens are the leafy green tops of the sweet potato plant, which are edible and commonly consumed in many parts of the world. They are rich in nutrients, including vitamins A, C, and K, as well as iron, calcium, and antioxidants. Sweet potato greens can be prepared in various ways, such as sautéing, stir-frying, steaming, or boiling. They have a slightly sweet and earthy flavor, similar to spinach or other leafy greens. They can be used in salads, soups, stews, or as a side dish. When choosing sweet potato greens, look for young, tender leaves that are bright green and not wilted. Wash them thoroughly before cooking and remove any tough stems. 

Varieties Recommended by Hoss

Beauregard: Highest yielding, most forgiving on fertility and watering Covington: longer storage time, disease resistance, good size, sweeter than Beauregard Georgia Jets: extremely fast growing, cold tolerant, Murasaki: sweet nutty flavor great for roasting

How to start Growing Sweet Potato?

 Plant on the last day to order online. To grow sweet potatoes, you’ll need well-drained soil and a warm, sunny spot. Start by planting sweet potato slips in the spring after the last frost date. Plant slips outdoors 3 to 4 weeks after your last spring frost or once the soil has warmed to at least 65°F (18°C). Nighttime temperatures should be at least 55°F (13°C). The trick is to plant them early enough for them to have time to mature fully, but not so early that they get killed by a late spring frost. Bury each slip about a foot deep, with the top leaves sticking out of the soil. 

Mulching

Mulching sweet potatoes is an important part of growing a successful crop. Mulch helps retain soil moisture, suppresses weeds, moderates soil temperature, and prevents the spread of diseases. Use a 2 to 3 inch layer of organic mulch, such as straw, dry grass clippings, shredded leaves, or wood chips, around the base of the sweet potato plants. Keep the mulch a few inches away from the stems to prevent rot. Reapply mulch as needed throughout the growing season.

Soil Requirements to Grow Sweet Potato

• Well-draining, high phosphorous soil• pH between 6.0 to 6.5• Rich in organic materials• Good quality compost added to the soil

Sweet Potato Irrigation Requirements

Sweet Potato plants need at least 1 inch of water per week. Using drip irrigation is always recommended to be sure that your plants are getting moisture directly to their root system. If you’re using conventional overhead watering techniques, try and use something like the Dramm Watering Can and water and fertilize at the base of the plant to keep moisture off the leaves.  

Raised Bed Fertilizer Schedule

Several Weeks Before Planting Test your soil at your local extension office. 1 Week Before Planting After adjusting soil pH to 6.0 – 6.5, mix 1 1/2 cups per 10 ft. of row of Hoss Complete Organic Fertilizer with your soil. 2 Weeks After Planting Side dress 2 cups of Hoss Complete Organic Fertilizer per 10 ft. of row. Every 14 Days (After 1 Week Planting) Mix 1 tablet each of Dr. Joe Nutri Bubble -AND- Dr. Joe Tomato & Vegetable Bubble into 1 gallon of water. Apply as a drench per 4 plants

In-Ground Fertilizer Schedule

Several Weeks Before Planting Test your soil at your local extension office. 1 Week Before Planting After adjusting soil pH to 6.0 – 6.5, mix 1 1/2 cups per 10 ft. of row of Hoss Complete Organic Fertilizer with your soil. 2 Weeks After Planting Using the Hoss Fertilizer Injector, Mix 1 cup of Hoss Premium 20-20-20 Fertilizer -AND -1-2 cups of Hoss Micro-Boost Micronutrient Supplement per 20 ft. of row. Alternate Every 14-21 Days Mix 1 cup of Hoss Premium Calcium Nitrate -AND -1-2 cups of Hoss Micro-Boost Micronutrient Supplement per 20 ft. of row.

Harvesting

Harvest the sweet potatoes when the vines begin to yellow and die back, usually in late summer or early fall. Carefully dig around the roots and gently remove the sweet potatoes from the soil. Allow them to cure in the sun for a few days before storing. To harvest sweet potatoes, wait until the foliage begins to yellow and die back, usually in late summer or early fall. Carefully dig around the roots with a garden fork or spade. Gently lift the sweet potatoes from the soil, being careful not to damage them. Brush off any excess soil and let the sweet potatoes cure in a warm, dry place for a few days to allow the skin to harden. This will improve their storage potential. Do NOT wash.

Storing

To store sweet potatoes, keep them in a cool, dry place with good air circulation, such as a pantry or root cellar. Avoid exposing them to temperatures below 55°F, as this can cause them to develop a sweet, woody flavor. Do not wash the sweet potatoes before storing, as moisture can encourage spoilage. Instead, simply brush off any excess soil and place them in a single layer in a paper or mesh bag. Sweet potatoes can be stored for several months in these conditions. To extend their shelf life, inspect them regularly and remove any that show signs of spoilage, such as soft spots or mold.

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SWEET POTATOES

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