Experiencing Life with the Mid Kid Crew

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.

Grow Sweet Potatoes at Home - Fun Easy Squarefoot Gardening for Urban Backyard Beds - Midkid Mama Blog

Grow Sweet Potatoes at Home - Fun Easy Squarefoot Gardening for Urban Backyard Beds - Midkid Mama Blog

2.Β  Cut the sweet potato into pieces with sprouts.

Grow Sweet Potatoes at Home - Fun Easy Squarefoot Gardening for Urban Backyard Beds - Midkid Mama Blog

3. Put pieces in dirt that is kept moist until roots and leaves appear.Grow Sweet Potatoes at Home - Fun Easy Squarefoot Gardening for Urban Backyard Beds - Midkid Mama Blog

4. When danger of frost is past, plant outdoors.

Grow Sweet Potatoes at Home - Fun Easy Squarefoot Gardening for Urban Backyard Beds - Midkid Mama Blog

5. After vines turn brown and die, carefully dig up the roots.

Grow Sweet Potatoes at Home - Fun Easy Squarefoot Gardening for Urban Backyard Beds - Midkid Mama Blog Grow Sweet Potatoes at Home - Fun Easy Squarefoot Gardening for Urban Backyard Beds - Midkid Mama BlogGrow Sweet Potatoes at Home - Fun Easy Squarefoot Gardening for Urban Backyard Beds - Midkid Mama Blog Grow Sweet Potatoes at Home - Fun Easy Squarefoot Gardening for Urban Backyard Beds - Midkid Mama Blog Grow Sweet Potatoes at Home - Fun Easy Squarefoot Gardening for Urban Backyard Beds - Midkid Mama Blog

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.Β  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.

Grow Sweet Potatoes at Home - Fun Easy Squarefoot Gardening for Urban Backyard Beds - Midkid Mama Blog Grow Sweet Potatoes at Home - Fun Easy Squarefoot Gardening for Urban Backyard Beds - Midkid Mama Blog

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:

Grow Sweet Potatoes at Home - Fun Easy Squarefoot Gardening for Urban Backyard Beds - Midkid Mama Blog

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?).



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