Many families live off sweet potatoes; it is quite famous in the United States and can be prepared in different ways. This vegetable is also quite nutritious and is a healthy option for many households. Instead of buying potatoes, you can simply raise them in your garden and save up on money. There are different potato varieties, and they all require a large amount of space in the garden before they can be grown. However, they’re one of the easiest crops to grow, and below is a guide on how to effectively raise sweet potatoes.
Potatoes are grown from slips, which are small rooted pieces of a tuber; you can also make use of tubers that you may have rooted at home. Slips are used because they rarely grow outside the borders of their native slip. While most potato varieties prefer cool soil temperature, note that sweet potatoes excel in hot temperatures. This is because they are tropical plants and are therefore sensitive in cold climates. If you have rocky or very dense soil, then the best option for you will be planting sweet potatoes in raised beds. Follow the tips below to effectively raise sweet potatoes in your garden.
- Plant sweet potatoes when the soil is hot or when there are warm climate conditions.
- Improve the soil quality before planting by adding inched of rich organic matter to the soil.
- When planting, ensure you space the sweet potato plants by at least 12-18 inches, and rows should be apart by 3-4 feet. This is because when growing, potato vines tend to spread and will therefore need plenty of room.
- Plant in damp loamy soil and ensure the pH is between 5.8 and 6.2.
- Inspect the garden bed frequently so as to protect the young plant from any form of weed and if you spot weeds, ensure you remove them by hand.
- Make sure your plants are adequately fed with a continuous release plant food.
- When the vines of the potato plant start to yellow, then it is time to start harvesting the sweet potatoes.
- After harvesting, keep sweet potatoes in a warm, dry, and well-ventilated area without washing for about ten days so that they can be cured before cooking.
Sweet potatoes are different from other potato varieties out there and therefore require full sun or part shade before they can thrive. This plant prefers full sun but could do with some shades when the temperature is too hot; sweet potatoes thrive in temperatures between 60-85°F.