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Although most often thought of as a food for the holidays, sweet potatoes are becoming more and more popular as a garden crop. And why not? This warm season crop is easy-to-grow, contains a high amount of vitamins and a relatively low amount of calories, and tastes delicious!
All of the so-called "yams" grown in the United States are actually sweet potatoes. The U.S. Department of Agriculture now requires labels with the term "yam" to be accompanied by the term "sweet potato", if they are in fact really sweet potatoes. True yams are much harder to find in many U.S. grocery stores. Although they look similar to some sweet potato varieties, they are in no way related and belong to an entirely different plant family. Yams are grown in tropical areas like South America and the Caribbean. Their outer skin is typically rougher and their flesh sweeter than sweet potatoes.
Soil: Not too fussy. Loose, nutrient-rich soil with a pH of 5.5 to 6.5 is ideal. Once established, plants are drought tolerant. The "Centennial" variety is said to be tolerant of clay soils.
Spacing: Mounds 12 inches apart in rows 3 feet apart. Mulch: Use black plastic or mulch around plants to keep soil warm and suppress weeds.
Number of plants: 2 to 4 plants per person.
You can grow sweet potatoes in a wooden barrel. Cut off your sprouts, leaving a medium amount of potato on the sprout. Get your wooden barrel and place some small size rocks in the bottom of your barrel. This is so you will have good drainage when it rains or you water it.
Then start layering your soil about 12 inches on your rocks. Layer the potato sprouts about 8 to 10 inches apart in the barrel. Keep adding soil and potato sprouts all way to the top.
If it is a dry year, you can water them. Make sure you have good drainage from the bottom. Just pull off the tops and turn over the barrel when ready for harvest in the fall before frost.
By mamacrafter from TN
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I have never planted sweet potatoes, hints?
By Steve J.
Plant sweet potatoes in a slightly acid soil, pH between 5.0 and 6.5. If you feed sweet potatoes, they will only produce foliage, so plant in soil with lots of organic matter in it, and don't feed again. 3 to 4 weeks prior to harvesting, don't wanter the plants or the tubers will split.
Hi Steve I live in Queensland Australia which is a hot and dry place, not sure where you are but if its a hot place. I buy some small sweet potato from the shops and leave them in my shed to sprout, it takes a while but it will send out shoots. Bury them leaves and all just under the surface or cover them with soil so you can't see them. You will notice in a few weeks the vines start to come through.
I wait a year and then starting in one corner follow the vine with your hand, when you reach a join in the vine; that's where you will find a sweet potato. then just bury the vine again don't dig them all up. sweet potato for ever. you can chop up the vines that grow too long out of the garden beds and give them to your friends. Good luck from gail
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Sweet potato plant, beautiful and easy to grow!
By Christine from Sanremo, Italy
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I know the potatoes should of been in already. Someone just gave me some sweet potatoes. Do you plant them just like the other potatoes, or is there a certain way of planting them.
Hardiness Zone: 3b
By Joyce from Janesville, WI
Look it up on google. They aren't planted like regular potatoes, you have to let the 'eyes' grow into sprouts first---there are several good sites, but make sure that they refer to a growing area that is close to where you live. You could try your states Dept of Agriculture site. (05/29/2009)
My understanding was that you soak them for a while first with half in the water and let them sprout roots first. (05/30/2009)