In the following article, we will show you how to plant sweet potatoes in your own urban or home garden.
Growing sweet potatoes is not difficult if you follow the right steps.
Being a close relative of the potato, we must keep in mind that fertilizing the soil is important to have healthy and strong plants.
Table of Contents
When and Where We Plant Sweet Potatoes
Before explaining how to plant sweet potatoes, we will explain when and where to plant them.
The best time to plant sweet potatoes is two, during the period between April and June, and another between August and September (Northern Hemisphere).
Its cultivation is carried out using sprouts that we must prepare previously.
The sweet potato is a tropical plant and does not tolerate low temperatures. It requires good luminosity and a temperature above 70°F (21ºC).
It tolerates heat very well and the minimum temperature for its growth is 53°F (12º C).
How to Water Sweet Potatoes
It requires a relative humidity between 80 and 85%.
It requires moist soils, especially when planting shoots, to favor rooting.
However, excessive humidity can cause production and quality losses, so a well-drained substrate is recommended.
Generally speaking, one or two waterings per month are sufficient, ensuring that the soil layers are kept moist, although if the climate is very dry and the heat is intense, the number of waterings can be increased.
Soil for Sweet Potatoes
It adapts to different types of substrates, although it prefers coarse-textured, loose, crumbly, granular, and well-drained soils.
The optimum pH is 6.0, although it tolerates moderately acid soils, with a pH between 4.5 and 7.5.
Fertilization should be avoided during the growing season, as it will favor the growth of the vine, but will result in undersized tubers.
Try to moderate the amount of nitrogen in the soil.
To control the pH of the soil where we will plant our sweet potatoes we use this pH meter, the advantage of this model is that it does not require batteries.
How to Plant Sweet Potatoes – Step by Step
Now that you know when, where and what sweet potato needs to be planted, we will explain step by step how to plant sweet potatoes.
1- To grow a sweet potato you only need to get a sweet potato. Wash it well and cut it in half.
2- Next, fill a bowl with water. Place the two portions of sweet potato with the cut side down. The water level should be kept between 1″ and 2″ (2.5 and 5 cm).
Place the container in a window so that they receive air and a good amount of sunlight.
You will notice that after about 2 to 4 weeks, each piece will begin to sprout small plants and develop roots.
3- When the sprouts have developed a good number of roots, it is time to move them into direct soil or a large, deep pot.
4- Pull weeds and debris from previous crops and all types of debris to ensure that your sweet potatoes receive the proper amount of nutrients.
All plants should be pulled out at the root to prevent re-growth.
5- Moisten the soil before planting sweet potatoes to improve the quality of the substrate. Make sure that the place where you place your sweet potatoes is well lit and the ambient temperature is high.
Add a layer of compost to help make the soil nutritious for your sweet potatoes.
6- Bury each cutting in holes deep enough for the roots to enter, taking care not to leave the stem buried where the leaves begin. Approximately 0.6″ (1.5 cm) above the base.
If sowing more than one cutting, leave a separation of 12″ to 20″ (30 to 50 cm) between one and the other.
7- To protect sweet potatoes from the cold, add mulch to the soil.
How to Grow Sweet Potatoes in a Bag
Alternatively, you should also plant your sweet potatoes in a bag, we have some bags for planting potatoes and sweet potatoes, we place them on our balcony. The advantages of these bags are that they are very resistant and provide the space that the sweet potato needs to grow (Order it here).
How to Harvest Sweet Potatoes
Between four and six months after planting, usually during October and November, you will be able to harvest your sweet potatoes.
When the sweet potato is ripe, the leaves turn yellowish.
Two weeks beforehand, it is necessary to cut the branches.
Harvesting is done by hand, leaving the roots to dry on the ground. To enhance their flavor and harden their peel a little, you can place them in an area with a temperature of 86 to 95°F (30 to 35 °C) and 80 to 90% humidity for 5 to 10 days.
A small heater and humidifier in a small room may be sufficient.
Pests and Diseases of Sweet Potato
You already know how to plant sweet potatoes, now finally we explain which pests and diseases could affect the sweet potato.
The application of nettle slurry is recommended as prevention.
To combat them, potassium or biodegradable soap can be applied to the underside of the plants. It should be applied very early in the morning or the afternoon when the sun no longer hits the leaves.
Sweet Potato Mosaic
To prevent it, it is best to install a drip irrigation system and apply horsetail as a preventive measure.
Also, nitrogen supply should be limited and resistant varieties should be used.
It also works to eliminate weeds and crop debris and to promote crop ventilation.
To prevent the disease, it is recommended to use well-drained soils, plant healthy and vigorous cuttings, protect the roots and regulate shade.