How to Grow Sweet Potatoes in Your Garden - A Comprehensive Guide for a Successful Harvest
Sweet potatoes are a great vegetable to grow in your garden. This year, I tried growing sweet potatoes under a trellis made from field fence and it worked like a charm. The variety was "Jewel", a nematode resistant variety that produced large clumps of tubers around the slips. It only required continual threading of vines onto and through the trellis as they don't have tendrils to climb like beans and cucumbers do. Two days ago, I cut the vines off the trellis and dug up the potatoes this morning.
The success of this method is attributed to limiting the length of the vines so most of the plant's energy could go into making tubers. There were also some smaller potatoes away from the main clump which dried out quickly after harvest. To store them, I spread them out on newspaper in my garage for two weeks before transferring them to paper bags or cardboard boxes lined with newspaper.
This method can also be used to pair sweet potatoes with other crops such as bell peppers, corn, red beets, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, lettuce, rutabagas and turnips. However, care should be taken when planting them near other plants since sweet potatoes require full sun for best results. Furthermore, companion plants such as beans/cucumbers and onions/tomatoes may be beneficial but not necessary.
To protect against voles, one can use 1/2" hardware cloth tacked onto the bottom and about 15" high above the boards. Additionally, fabric pots elevated on bench legs from EMT can help prevent voles from climbing up the vines. Although watering will be more difficult using this method, it is worth doing if you want to ensure a successful crop of sweet potatoes.Overall, this year's sweet potato harvest was a success. The potatoes were large and healthy with no signs of disease or pests. I'm looking forward to trying out different varieties next season and seeing what other vegetables can be paired with them for an even more successful crop!
What kind of trellis did you use for your sweet potatoes?
I used field fence, the kind with the 6x6" mesh. I drove t-posts into the ground and then tied 8' poles to them for the height. A few brads driven into the poles at an angle let me hang up the fencing one high or two high and then I tie it to the posts with baling twine.
What variety of sweet potato did you grow?
The variety is "Jewel", a nematode resistant variety that Pickles bought at a Publix store back in 2016 and all the sweets since then have descended from that one potato!
What other companion plants are beneficial when growing sweet potatoes?
Bell peppers and beans/cucumbers are the only companion plants that I have found to be worth the effort of pairing every year. Onions/tomatoes are also somewhat advantageous.
How do you prevent vole damage?
I have not seen vole damage in years due to the ability of my miniature dachshunds to find them and kill them without digging up the whole yard and garden. Of course once in a while they will spot one of those oversized sweet potatoes and manage to dig it out and haul it out into the yard and gradually eat it.
What makes sweet potatoes split?
Sweet potatoes can split if they are exposed to too much moisture or too little moisture. Too much water can cause them to swell and split, while too little water can cause them to become dry and crack open. It is important to keep soil evenly moist throughout the growing season.
What is the best way to store sweet potatoes?
Sweet potatoes should be stored in a cool, dark place with good air circulation. The ideal temperature range is between 55-60°F (13-16°C). They should also be kept away from direct sunlight and other sources of heat. It is important to keep them dry and not allow them to become wet or damp.
How long can you store sweet potatoes?
Sweet potatoes can be stored for up to 6 months if they are kept in the right conditions. Make sure to check on them periodically and discard any that have started to spoil. If stored properly, sweet potatoes can last for several months without losing their flavor or texture.
What is the best way to cook sweet potatoes?
Sweet potatoes can be cooked in a variety of ways. Roasting, baking, steaming, and microwaving are all popular methods. Roasting is a great way to bring out the natural sweetness of sweet potatoes while still maintaining their texture. Baking is also a great option for those who want to make a delicious side dish or dessert. Steaming is a quick and easy way to cook sweet potatoes without losing any of their nutrients. Finally, microwaving is a great way to quickly cook sweet potatoes without having to wait for them to bake in the oven.