How to Grow Sweet Potatoes In Your Backyard? The beauty of a sweet potato plant is undeniable, whether it’s on a trellis, in a garden, or in a simple container. And the positive doesn’t end there. When it comes to health benefits, sweet potatoes should be considered as part of your diet. They are full of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytonutrients that can strengthen your mind and body.
If you’re curious to grow them yourself, keep in mind that they work best in the sunshine Vegetable garden, although they can thrive in other areas of your outdoor area. You can even trade as a temporary ground cover or as a trailing houseplant. In a planter on the terrace, a sweet potato vine forms a beautiful deciduous plant from which you can take roots in autumn.
This warm-weather crop grows worldwide, from tropical regions to temperate climates. The meat is classified as either moist or dry. Moist, deep orange varieties (sometimes called yams) are more popular with home gardeners, especially the Centennial and Georgia Jet varieties.
Sweet potatoes are also remarkably nutritious and versatile; Each fleshy root is rich in vitamins A and C and many important minerals. Use them raw, cooked or baked in soups, casseroles, desserts, breads or pan dishes – and don’t forget to try homemade sweet potato fries! Here you will find everything you need to know to grow your own sweet potatoes.
How to plant sweet potatoes:
Sweet potatoes grow in poor soils, but deformed roots can develop in heavy clay or long and thread-like in sandy dirt. To create the perfect environment, create long, wide, 10-inch ridges that are 3½ feet apart. (A 10-foot row produces 8-10 pounds of potatoes.)
Work with a lot of compost and avoid nitrogen-rich fertilizers that produce lush vines and stunted tubes. In the north, cover the elevated rows with black plastic to keep the soil warm and promote vigorous growth.
It is best to plant root sprouts, so-called briefs, which are available from nurseries and mail order companies. (Sweet potatoes bought in the store are often waxed to prevent sprouting). Save a few roots from your harvest for planting next year.
About six weeks before it’s time to plant sweet potatoes outdoors near you, place the roots in a box of damp sand, sawdust, or chopped leaves in a warm place (75 to 80 degrees). Shoots sprout, and when they grow 6 to 9 inches long, cut them from the root. Remove and discard the bottom inches from each slip, as this part sometimes hosts pathogens.
Sweet potatoes ripen in 90 to 170 days and are extremely sensitive to frost. Plant in full sun three to four weeks after the last frost when the soil has warmed up. Make holes 6 cm deep and 12 cm apart. Bury slides to the top leaves, gently but firmly pushing the floor down and watering well.
How to grow sweet potatoes:
If you don’t use black plastic, mulch the vines two weeks after planting to stifle weeds, save moisture, and keep the soil loose for root development. Occasionally, lift longer vines to prevent them from rooting on the joints, or use their energy to form many undersized bulbs at each root area instead of ripening the main crop at the base of the plant. Otherwise, treat plants as little as possible to prevent wounds that are prone to disease spores.
If the weather is dry, give 1 inch of water a week until two weeks before harvest and let the soil dry out a bit. Do not let it float, otherwise the plants – which can withstand the dry periods better than rain – can rot.
How to avoid pests:
Gardeners from the south are more likely to face pest problems than gardeners from the north.
Sweet potato beetles – ¼ inch long insects with dark blue heads and wings and red-orange bodies – prick stems and tubers to lay their eggs. Development of larvae tunnel and feed on the fleshy roots, while adults generally attack grapevines and leaves. They also spread foot rot, causing enlarged brown to black areas on the stems near the ground and on the ends of the stems. Because weevils reproduce quickly and are difficult to eradicate, use certified disease-resistant slips and practice a four-year crop rotation. Destroy infected plants and their roots or put them in sealed containers and dispose of them with household waste.
Black rot, which leads to circular, dark depressions of the tubers, is one of the fungal diseases. Discard infected potatoes and carefully heal the undamaged roots of the same crop. Do not confuse this disease with less severe scab, which creates small, round, dark spots on the tuber surfaces, but does not affect the quality of the food.
Stem rot or wilt is a fungus that invades plants that have been injured by insects, careless cultivation, or wind. Even if this disease does not kill the plants, the harvest will be poor. Minimize the risk of disease by planting only healthy slips. Avoid black and stem rot by planting resistant varieties. Reduce the occurrence of dry rot that mummifies stored potatoes by keeping the fleshy roots at 55 to 60 degrees.
Harvest sweet potatoes:
You can harvest as soon as the leaves turn yellow. The longer a harvest remains in the soil, the higher the yield and the vitamin content. As soon as the frost blackens the vines, however, the tubers can rot quickly.
Use a spade fork to dig tubers on a sunny day when the soil is dry. Keep in mind that tubers can grow a foot or more out of the plant and that nicks on their delicate skin promote spoilage. Dry the tubers in the sun for several hours, then put them in a well-ventilated place and keep them at 85 to 90 degrees for 10 to 15 days. After curing, store at approx. 55 degrees and a humidity of 75 to 80%. Properly hardened and stored sweet potatoes can be kept for several months.