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Sweet Potato

Botanical Name
Ipomoea batatas
1 foot
Up to 10 feet
Full sun
Moist, well-drained, rich in organic matter
Planting & Care
  • Sweet potatoes are started from plants called slips
  • Wait until all danger of frost has passed and the soil has warmed before planting slips in the garden
  • Always buy plants grown from certified disease-free roots
  • Plant slips four inches deep and 12 inches apart, preferably on a wide raised ridge about 8 inches high
  • Space rows 3 to 4 feet apart
  • Water regularly after planting to help the plants get established
  • As the plants mature, they should be watered with moderation, later watering can cause root cracking
  • Early roots can be "robbed" starting in late summer by digging into the side of the ridge and carefully removing some developing roots while leaving the plant in place
  • Harvest the main crop around the time of the first fall frost
  • Using a fork or spade, be careful not to bruise, cut or damage the roots
  • Sweet potatoes should be handled as little as possible to avoid bruising and scuffing
  • In case of frost, cut the vines from the roots immediately to prevent decay spreading from the vines to the roots and dig up sweet potatoes as soon as possible
  • Cold soil temperatures quickly lessen the roots' ability to keep in storage
  • Allow harvested roots to dry on the ground for 2 to 3 hours after harvest, then cure the roots for 1 to 2 weeks at 80°F and then store in a cool (55°F) and dry location
  • When properly cured, sweet potatoes can be stored for 3 to 4 months, but for best quality, enjoy your sweet potatoes as soon as possible after storing
Mice, weeds, wireworms, nematodes, scurf, black rot, fusarium wilt, flea beetles, cutworms
  • Beauregard - dark orange flesh, light rose skin, extremely high yield, stores well, 100 days to maturity
  • Bush Porto Rico - compact vines, copper skin, orange flesh, high yield
  • Jewel - deep copper skin, deep orange flesh, high yielding; good fusarium wilt, Southern root-knot nematodes, beetle and internal cork resistance
  • Regal - very high yields, excellent disease and pest resistance
  • Southern Delite - rose to dark copper skin, excellent baking flavor, high yields, excellent disease and insect pest resistance, 100 days to maturity

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