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Growing sweet potatoes

AndreaNg
Established Contributor

Growing sweet potatoes

I've successfully grown potatoes before just by throwing old green ones into the compost or into the vegie gardenbed. Just wondering if sweet potatoes are as easy? Has anyone grown them?

Community Manager Jason
Community Manager

Re: Growing sweet potatoes

@CathM should be able to help you with this as she posted a tip earlier today in her Soil to Supper club. Could you please share your expertise Cath?

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greygardener
Super Contributor

Re: Growing sweet potatoes

I've done it after just noticing one had produced shoots in the cupboard. Sweet potatoes do produce shoots like regular potatoes if you leave them long enough. When you have shoots, just bury the potato and leave a few centimetres of the shoots above the soil. Easy. But you might not know whether you've got a ground type or a climber - best to find out first! 

 

To get them shooting I've seen people cut them and then put them in a glass of water with half of the potato above the water and half below using toothpicks. 

CathM
Junior Contributor

Re: Growing sweet potatoes

Yes sweet potatoes are SO easy to grow! You can either start off with a sweet potato that has sprouted, or plant the vine with roots of an existing plant.

 

Being a root crop, they like a deep rich soil, about 15-20cm deep to spread out their roots. The better the soil, the more roots you'll harvest!

 

When starting off, plant either the sprouted root or vine into the soil, but always leave about 10cm of vine and leaves above ground. These will allow for the plant to grow.

 

As the vine grows longer, just bend it back over itself and cover with a layer (about 5cm) of compost or good soil and then mulch...again leaving the 10cm of vine above ground.

 

This encourages deeper roots to grow and more food to harvest!

I use many support plants that are growing around the garden as a mulch, like lemongrass and pigeon pea, and also a small amount of lawn clippings are good for building up the soil layer, then cover with a fine layer of brown hay, brown lawn clippings or cane mulch.

Apply an organic slow release fertiliser every few months, to encourage strong root growth.

Enjoy!!

Isobel
Valued Contributor

Re: Growing sweet potatoes

Must give this a try. Many thanks for the tips. 

 

Can you plant them any time of the year @CathM?

_Marley_
Established Contributor

Re: Growing sweet potatoes

I believe they need warmer conditions. I think you'll have more success if you wait until spring. 

Shane
Established Contributor

Re: Growing sweet potatoes

Yates have easy step-by-step directions:

 

Step 1: Cut around 10-15cm off the end of a sweet potato.
Step 2: Push some toothpicks into the potato, in a circle around the outside.
Step 3: Half fill a shallow glass jar with water and place the sweet potato into the jar, suspended around the jar edges with the toothpicks.
Step 4: Adjust the water level so that only around a third of the potato is under water.
Step 5: Place the jar on a sunny window sill. The potato will develop sprouts.
Step 6: When these sprouts are around 10cm long, they can be gently twisted off, placed into another jar of water where they will grow roots.
Step 7: These can then be planted out into the garden in spring, where phase 2 of growing a sweet potato begins!

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