How to Grow Sweet Potatoes
This spring I had a sweet potato start sprouting in my potato bin. We love eating sweet potatoes here. Since it was pretty close to planting time and I had gardening on the brain, I decided to see if I could grow sweet potatoes.
1. Let the sweet potato sprouts grow bigger in windowlight.
2. Cut the sweet potato into pieces with sprouts.
3. Put pieces in dirt that is kept moist until roots and leaves appear.
4. When danger of frost is past, plant outdoors.
5. After vines turn brown and die, carefully dig up the roots.
We will be using these quickly, so I will dry them for 7-10 days at room temperature. If we wanted them to last longer, they would need to be cured at 90 degrees F (85% humidity) for those 5-7 days before being stored in a cool, dry place. For as many vines as we had, we did not get a lot of potatoes, but that could be because we just planted a random potato from the store. We got about 4 good sized potatoes per sprout. They were a beautiful vibrant red color.
I planted the first two sprouts in the new L-shaped raised bed I built this summer and the other two went into the packed out 3’X9′ bed. The ones with the most space grew much bigger vines and produced far larger potatoes. Here is a comparison of my biggest sweet potato from the packed bed vs the potato from the bed where both vines had about 4 square feet of space each:
As far as I could tell, this was just because of the crowding (maybe not enough sunlight?). It could have also been that the different mix of soil wasn’t ideal for sweet potatoes. The leaves didn’t seem to be bothered by bugs or anything, but the vines were only about 1-2′ long total (vs the huge tangle pictured above from the other bed). I’ll have to experiment more with what they prefer next year and see if I can find a way to grow sweet potatoes more efficiently (maybe a trellis?).