Saturday, June 2, 2012

Sweet Potatoes:  Simple and Scrumptious

We planted sweet potatoes today in the Harvesters Garden.  They are the last crop we plant in the spring and we're hoping for a bountiful harvest like this one photographed  last October.

Sweet potatoes are a completely different plant from white potatoes which are planted in early spring.  Related to the morning glory, they are easy to grow with few problems from pests or disease.  They don't like to be waterlogged and prefer loose, well-drained soil.

Sweet potatoes are started from plants called "slips" which are grown from existing sweet potatoes. They are available from local nurseries or you can grow your own if you start earlier in the season.  Be sure and keep your slips moist so the roots don't dry out.

 Plant your sweet potato slips from May 10 to June 10. Place them about 12 to 18 inches apart on a small hill or ridge about 8 inches high.  Allow three to four feet between rows to allow room for the vines to spread.

Dig a hole 3-4 inches deep and be sure to bury the roots.  Bury at least 2-3 "nodes" which are small bumps where roots start.  Leave all the leaves above the ground.

We planted sweet potatoes in a garden bed as well as a large container.  Soon the ground will be carpeted with lush vines which means little weeding and less watering. One of the easiest vegetables to grow, each sweet potato slip we planted today will generate several pounds of sweet potatoes this fall.

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