How to Grow Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes plants always look beautiful whether planted in a garden, container or a trellis. It always adds an extra beauty to the lovely flowers and foliage of your garden.  Sweet potatoes require a sunny vegetable garden to grow well, and other parts of your home where sun rays reach can also be a suitable landscape. Planting a sweet potato vine in your balcony or veranda will grow into a beautiful foliage plant and can be harvested during the autumn.

Sweet potatoes are classified into two types, dry or moist.  The moist and deep orange coloured are often called yams and are the favourite ones for gardens in homes. These are grown worldwide in temperate climates to tropical regions and are full of nutrition. It is enriched with Vitamin C and Vitamin A, along with many other minerals. You can consume it raw, boiled, dip in soup, with bread, desserts or fry it.

Tips To Grow Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are warm-weather plants, so its plantation needs a little attention. Here are few steps which can help you grow some sweet potatoes in your home landscape.

  • Start the Slips: Like many other vegetables you don’t need a seed to start plantation of sweet potatoes, they are grown from slips which is a shoot of full-grown sweet potato. You can order it online from internet catalogue or email orders, or make your own slips from the potatoes of your garden or the one which you have purchased from the market.  While purchasing be sure the potatoes are of vining or bush types.

Gather some clean and healthy sweet potatoes and start making slips out of them, an average sweet potato can provide you up to 50 slips sprouts. Cut your potato either in large or in half sections to produce sprouts. Place each section of the slips in a jar of water such that half of its part is underwater and the half above it. Place the jar in a warm place, within few weeks; leafy sprouts will start coming out.

  • Root the Slips: After being sprouted, disperse them into plantable sips. Take out each sprout with care and twist it off from the potato. Now submerge the sprouts in a bowl with half its bottom below water and hang its leaves over the bowl’s rim. Roots will come out from the bottom of each plant after few days, and when they are an inch long, they are ready to be planted.
  • Prepare the Soil for the Slips: Sweet potatoes need well-drained and loose soil to plant to form large tubers, so no doubt there is extra work to do before you plant it. If the soil is not drained or loosen properly, the roots will be resisted and cannot expand. So soil preparation is the most critical factor for growing sweet potatoes.
  • Plant the Slip: Dig a hole about 3” wide and 4” to 5” deep, with the help of a small trowel. Place each one of the slips in the hole in a way that the roots of the slips are pointing downward. Now locate the bottom half the slip in the hole covered with mud and the leafy part above the ground.

Avoid bumping or bruising the sweet potatoes, so be careful always while filling up the hole. After covering the hole completely with soil, press the surrounding mud of the plant very gently so as the plant gets set properly. Continue this process till all the slips are planted.

  • Watering the Plants: After planting all the slips in their place, water them regularly. Soak the ground thoroughly until all the mud surrounding it becomes wet. Do not water too much or else it will lead to the erosion of the mound. As the slips are the new plants so after plantation they need to be watered every day for the first seven days and from the second week, you can water it on alternate days.  Farther the days of watering with every week until you the watering period comes to once in every seven days. However, if there is a lot of rain or your ground is dry, you have to regulate your watering depending on the conditions. These plants can easily withstand drought, but their production becomes less.

With these few important techniques, you can grow sweet potatoes whenever you want.

Erin Emanuel

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