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I have some sweet potato slips that are going into the ground in a couple of weeks or so. Of course I have planted too much and space is getting essential, and I am needing to combine things. I have green beans climbing up two "tomato towers" and was wondering if I could stick the SPs in at their base? The beans will be 2' at least by then. Thoughts? Will one crowd out the other? It is a 3'x6' raised bed, and I suspect the beans will be done by the time I need to harvest the SPs. Thanks!
Please tell me about sweet potato's. I have never grown them before. I planted approx 26 slips in a 3' X 10" bed. How big do they get? Do they climb? They are now about 15" tall. Please tell me what to do. When to pick ect. In short tell me everything I need to know. Thanks in advance.
Depending on whether you have a bush or vining variety, they can 3 ft or 8-10 feet. Normally they are planted on a list about 14-18 inch spacing with 42 inches between lists. With vining types you will get a mass of intertwined vines. Bush types are better behaved but will still meet in the row. Typically they are harvested in the fall, just before frosts kills the vines.
hornstrider - if you don't get frost in your area, you can grow sweet potatoes year round. They are a perennial vine related to morning glories.
Mine get planted in May and harvested in October, so that's five months in the ground. They never look as neat and uniform as the ones in the store, but they sure taste better. You can expect sweets from finger sized to 3lb-plus ugly monsters! Those I bake in the oven for an hour or more, then slice and freeze.
Sweet potatoes are roots, so they really don't have eyes. They are best started from slips, altho you can plant the roots. Difficulties with this method is late start under the best of conditions, cut sweet potatoes tend to rot, and it is difficult to control the number of plants.
I have about 3 slips now from a sweet potato that I stuck in the water and rooted. More are popping up from the potato. I have cut some of them off and stuck them in some small planters to let them grow a bit more before planting in the garden. Anyone have any tips on how best to plant them?
As of this morning, I've lost eleven sweet potato slips to pesky VOLES!
I have some sweets in the house left from last year that are sending out slips, so I plan to replace the eaten ones in a week or so. In the meantime, I'm hoping a friendly neighborhood owl will drop by for a free dinner! There a plenty of Barred owls in the neighborhood, I hear them almost every morning.
What variety of sweet potatoes did you plant? This is my first year for successfully planting sweet potatoes. I tried one other year, but rabbits ate all the sets within two days of planting. This year I had better luck and all 50 slips survived. I ordered and planted 'Vardaman' sweet potatoes, which are a supposedly bush variety. I have two raised rows, each about 30 feet long. So far, all I've done is weed the rows and water some. The plants are all about a foot tall now.
Honeybee, the Whole Foods in San Antonio (our closest one) has several kinds of organic sweet potatoes. I bought one with dark skin and dark orange flesh for sprouting to get plants. Hope you win the battle with the voles, I know how frustrating it is when plants get eaten by critters.
I think I can give up on our sweet potato crop this year. I now have 23 left. I started out with 50. I only hope they don't start on the beans once they are finished with the sweets.
The problem with voles is that they rarely come to the surface. If they did, I could set traps. They pull the sweets/beans down from under the ground and all one is left with is a bunch of leaves sticking out of a hole!
David...I have no clue...I am not a sweet potato fan, but my wife, and kids are so I planted what the folkes at the natural gardener had available. They had two varities, and I picked one and planted...below is a picture...maybe someone can tell me...congrats on your tasty looking Indian stripe...I saw the pic...harvest time in hutto
So I had always wondered why my sweet potato took forever to root and grow vines and only grew a couple of vines. I wasn't using organic sweet potatoes so more than likely that bud nip stuff was applied. Argh! Anyways, I do have a couple of slips finally. Is it ok to grow these or do you guys think I should start over with an organic sweet potato?
Sweet Potatoes growing in the garden, these beds are 4 ft wide with an 18 inch isle between them. These were planted in March. The second photo is of slips growing from a potato I bought at Whole Foods.
I'm a little late to this thread, but the OP has a great idea, I think. Here's what came to mind when thinking of a possible fix for the lack of access to harvest the beans. It may be a little awkward, but is doable. I'd place some cinderblocks near the bean trellis, or in brigidlily's case, in a star pattern around the tomato towers. This would allow either a stepping stone for harvesting from, or the ability to place a board across cinderblocks to use as a picking platform.
And if I can add in my experience, when the runners set roots and form potatoes, they will all be inferior. Smaller potatoes due to the plant spreading its' energy too thin. It is best for the main body of the plant to produce the potatoes. Kristi
2000 sweet potatoes in the ground and over a thousand plants already harvested so far this year! I trim my vines if they get too out of control, otherwise I leave them. Haven't noticed inferior potatoes from allowing the vines to root along the beds. I have a problem with some getting too large if left in the ground more than 3 months, but we are in a unique climate compared to most of the country. Last year we harvested several 8 lb potatoes.
Believe it or not voles will come a try to get spam out of mouse traps, I can't tell you how many I've caught when I was really trying to catch mice. I didn't know they liked meat, well who knows what is in spam, I don't eat it but DH does...LOL
you know now that I think of it it was moles, so sorry for the mix up. I just remember at the time I couldn't catch the mice for all the moles getting into the trap... Had a mouse family move in under a dog whelping box during the winter in the garage and there was enough space under the box as it was on runners for the mice to have a breeding session of their own like I've never seen... When we first started setting the traps every 2 minutes my DH was going out and reloading the traps, then he called in one time to say what is this? Caught over 10 of them, and I had always heard that there wasn't too many of them as they keep to territories.
Sorry again about mixing the moles with the voles. Moles that we caught had the long ant eater noses on them
Jan, no worries about the mix-up. I thought it had to be moles as they are meat eaters. From what I've read, voles are vegetarians. They sure love to eat sweet potatoes. I've lost half my crop to them so far!
Have ya'll considered growing sweeties in containers? I'm growing mine in a Rubbermaid container (35 gallons). I used a 5/8" drill bit to drilled holes all over the bottom and about 1/4" up the sides for drainage.
The only thing attacking my sweeties is either a cricket or some pill bugs chewing holes in the leaves. But, I have a good 18" of soil depth in the container. I'll post a pic when I remember to take one.
I was sooooooooo busy last week (vacation) with home improvement projects INSIDE, I'm sorry I haven't responded sooner.
Here's a pic of the kind of tub I'm using -- they're waaaaaaaaaaaaay cheaper than the tubs you're considering. I filled mine with the same pine bark mixture I used for my containers last time, to stretch the soil on the cheap (that's a theme with me...). Basically, 5 parts PBFs, 2-3 parts peat (I used old, spent, MG potting mix), and 1 part perlite. I sprinkled in enough Dolomitic Lime and some Triple 13 TR fertilizer (just a bit).
I water deeply until I get run off through the drain holes, about once a week now. I use MG Water Soluble in a hose end sprayer.
I have no clue what's going on down in that tub, but the vines sure look healthy. They've long since spilled over the side of the tub and are trailing beautifully down my fence line.
I'll turn the tub over on a tarp (the truly wonderful part of harvesting in a container) sometime in November? December? or whenever the temps dip low enough to threaten the foliage and shut it down.
I'll take pics of the potato vines this evening and post tomorrow.
My neighbor dug up a piece of his volunteer sweetie vines from last season. I just buried the rooted part in the soil, and threw more soil along the vine that I laid on top of the soil. I think the nodules along the vine that touched the soil have rooted cause the tub is filled with vines now, from the little piece I started with.
P.S. I asked about this pic over on the other thread you updated. Don't worry about a reply, except for the benefit of the others.
Sweeties! Mine are in a 35 gallon Rubbermaid tub, and have spilled over the side. They're running along the fenceline, and look just like yours. I'm not gonna touch them until close to the frost date, around December 7th or earlier if it looks like the cold is threatening the vines.
Once the temps dip, I'll tip the tub over onto a tarp, and see what I"ve got. Sort of like waking up on Christmas morning, and heading for the Christmas tree...
Just because they flower doesn't mean they are ready to dig. I haven't found any seed pods on my sweeties, but I haven't really looked. I'm not at home right now, so can't go out and check.
Depending on the temps in your area and the variety, sweet potatoes take 80-100 days to mature with some varieties giving baker size at 60 days. If you're getting impatient, just "noodle" for a few bakers right below the plant and carefully remove them without uprooting the whole plant and try not to take the one attached to the main stem.