Protecting Sweet Potatoes from Gophers – Tips for Co-existing with Nature
Growing sweet potatoes with gophers
Sweet potatoes are an excellent choice for gardeners of all skill levels. They are easy to grow, and can be harvested in just a few months. But if you're planning on growing them, it's important to consider how to protect your crop from pests like gophers. Gopher baskets can provide protection, but they come in different sizes, so it's important to know which size is best for the slips you've ordered. Alternatively, you could make your own protection using hardware cloth. If you choose this option, you should dig down at least 12 inches deep when planting.
When it comes to trellising sweet potatoes, they will happily let you do so as long as you wind their runners through the trellis. This will help keep the ground around where you plant them clear, but won't necessarily deter gophers since they don't live underground. It also depends on the variety of sweet potato you're planting - some form tubers on runners while others are "nest" formers.
Gardeners who have experienced the frustration of trying to protect their crops from gophers understand why some Native Americans taught their people to use hot peppers around their crops. Hot peppers may work for some pests, but not birds, so it's important to take this into consideration when creating a barrier for gophers. Ultimately, learning how to co-exist with nature is key - good fences make good neighbors!If you're looking for a more natural way to deter gophers, consider planting companion plants like marigolds or garlic. These can help repel pests and provide additional nutrients to the soil. You could also try using castor oil around your sweet potatoes - this is an effective repellent that won't harm the environment.
Finally, it's important to remember that gophers are part of nature and they play an important role in our ecosystem. If you find yourself with a problem population of gophers, there are humane ways to deal with them such as trapping or relocating them away from your garden area. With some patience and creativity, growing sweet potatoes with gophers doesn't have to be difficult!
What size gopher basket should I use for each sweet potato slip?
5 gallon or 10 gallon baskets should accommodate each slip.
How deep should I go if I make my own protection?
You should dig deep enough to cover the roots of the slips.
Can I trellis sweet potatoes?
Yes, you can trellis sweet potatoes, but you will need to wind the runners through the trellis as they will not climb by themselves.
Will hot peppers keep pests away from my greenhouse?
Hot peppers may work for some pests, but not birds, as they have different taste receptors and don't feel the heat.
What other methods can I use to protect my crops from gophers?
You can create a barrier around your crops to keep gophers out. Alternatively, you can also constantly be on the lookout to trap/kill them.
Is there a way to make sure my sweet potatoes don't rot in the ground?
Yes, you can use mulch or straw to keep the soil moist and help prevent rotting. Additionally, you should avoid over-watering your plants.
What type of soil is best for growing sweet potatoes?
Sweet potatoes prefer well-drained, sandy loam soils that are high in organic matter. You should also make sure the soil has a pH between 5.5 and 6.5.
How often should I water my sweet potato plants?
You should water your sweet potato plants once a week, making sure to provide enough water to reach the roots. During hot weather, you may need to water more frequently.
How long does it take for sweet potatoes to mature?
It usually takes around 90-120 days for sweet potatoes to mature, depending on the variety and climate conditions.