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Growing Sweet Potatoes For
Sweet Loving Gardeners

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Harvest Time For These Red Skinned Sweet Potatoes

Growing Sweet Potatoes

Don’t be in a hurry to plant or harvest this delectable king of vegetables. Warm soil and sunny skies are a must for growing sweet potatoes and with an average of 100-120 days to mature, patience is definitely needed.

Photo of picked mature brussel sprouts

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The sweet potatoes foliage consists of alternate heart-shaped leaves growing on trailing vines.

Photo of picked mature brussel sprouts

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Although sweet potato flower are few and far between they are the same medium-sized funnel shaped flowers common to many members of the Convolvulaceae family.

There are many different varieties; most common are those that grow on trailing vines putting down roots at the nodes as they sprawl out quickly covering the soil. Other varieties are bush and semi bush types; these are well suited to gardens with limited growing space.

Photo of picked mature brussel sprouts

Roll-over image to enlarge

The roots forming at the node points that hit the ground will grow tubers. It is common to find mature tubers far from the actual plant at harvest time.

The edible tuberous root is long and tapered, although orange fleshed varieties are most common today there are also white, yellow, and purple. The sweet potatoes skin is normally smooth with colors ranging from copper, red, different shades of purple, brown, orange and white.

Photo of picked mature brussel sprouts

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The most common sweet potatoes grown and eaten today are the light orange skin with deep orange flesh.

Photo of picked mature brussel sprouts

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There was a time when the most popular sweet potatoes was red skinned with cream or white flesh.

Sweet potatoes are grown from slips that are in turn grown from the sweet potato tuber under controlled conditions. 

Photo of picked mature brussel sprouts

Roll-over image to enlarge

Growing them yourself is an easy process or you can purchase from many garden nurseries.




Quick Reference Guide


Veggie Garden Dairy
Vegetable Sweet Potato
Also Known As Kumara
Botanical Family - Convolvulaceae, Genus - Ipomoea, Species - I. batatas
Plant Type Warm season - perennial - root vegetable
Frost Tolerance Very Tender
Planting Position Grow in full sun - Requires at least 8-10 hours of direct sunlight daily.
Seed Viability 1 year
Germination Sweet potatoes set in sand for producing slips begin sprouting in 5-6 days at 70-95 F (21-35 C)
Growing Temp 70-95 F (21-35 C)
Seed to Transplant Slips ready 4-6 weeks from setting
Planting Method Slips or vine cuttings
When to Plant Spring
Time to Plant Wait until at least 2-3 weeks after the last average 32 F (0 C) freeze in your area and not before soil temperature are consistently 70 F (21 C) or above.
Seed Sowing Plant slips only
Plant Spacing Transplant slips - 12-18 inches (30-45 cm) apart with 3-4 feet (90-120 cm) between rows.
Soil Conditions Well drained - Low to moderate organic matter - low to medium fertility
Fertilizer Low fertilizer needs, 2-3 quarts per 100 sq feet (2.2-3.3 liters per 9.3 square meters) preplanting of All-Purpose 5-5-5 Organic Fertilizer icon, same rate for each side dressing.
When to Fertilize 2 weeks before planting - use liquid starter fertilizer at time of planting slips - side-dress after plants have begun new growth.
Days to Harvest 90-150 days - depending on conditions and variety
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