Photo by Melody

Vegetable Gardening: Companions for sweet potatoes?

Communities > Forums > Vegetable Gardening
bookmark
Forum: Vegetable GardeningReplies: 64, Views: 451
Add to Bookmarks
-
AuthorContent
brigidlily
Lumberton, TX
(Zone 8b)

May 7, 2012
4:17 PM

Post #9114569

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!

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

May 11, 2012
6:12 AM

Post #9119547

brigidlily - sweet potatoes take up a lot of space. You might find you cannot get into the potatoe patch to pick the beans.
hornstrider
Hutto, TX

May 11, 2012
7:39 AM

Post #9119667

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.
Farmerdill
Augusta, GA
(Zone 8a)


May 11, 2012
10:00 AM

Post #9119855

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.

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

May 12, 2012
10:33 AM

Post #9121021

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.
MaryMcP
Phoenix, AZ
(Zone 9b)

May 12, 2012
2:25 PM

Post #9121189

Do they need to be started with slips already growing or can I just dice the potato, capturing at least one eye in each dice, and plant the piece of potato? Plant them and slips will come???
Farmerdill
Augusta, GA
(Zone 8a)


May 12, 2012
4:44 PM

Post #9121309

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.
MaryMcP
Phoenix, AZ
(Zone 9b)

May 12, 2012
4:59 PM

Post #9121323

Thanks Farmer, I'll see about getting slips started.
urbanveggies412
Pittsburgh, PA
(Zone 6a)

May 12, 2012
6:08 PM

Post #9121394

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?

Thanks,
Jake

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

May 13, 2012
6:35 AM

Post #9121885

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.
brigidlily
Lumberton, TX
(Zone 8b)

May 13, 2012
7:30 AM

Post #9121958

Honeybee, may you be blessed with an owl visit!

Urban, just stick them in the ground and water them well. They will take off!

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

May 13, 2012
7:36 AM

Post #9121968

Thanks, brigidlily ^_^

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

May 14, 2012
5:26 AM

Post #9122947

This morning, I'm minus thirteen sweet potatoes! They seem to be taking out two a day.

Whole Foods is supposed to open near here later this year. Hopefully they will be stocking organically grown sweets (sigh) can't win for losing :(
MaryMcP
Phoenix, AZ
(Zone 9b)

May 14, 2012
6:05 AM

Post #9122986

Maybe you can convince your local bird rescue to release an owl or three to your neighborhood. Sorry for the troubles you're having. voles and moles can be a real nuisance.

dreaves

dreaves
Hutto, TX
(Zone 8b)

May 14, 2012
9:04 AM

Post #9123275

Hornstrider,

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.

David

Calalily
Deep South Coastal, TX
(Zone 10a)

May 15, 2012
5:04 AM

Post #9124415

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.

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

May 15, 2012
8:02 AM

Post #9124651

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!

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

May 15, 2012
8:39 AM

Post #9124713

SWEETIE SLIP TUTORIAL...

http://www.outlawgarden.com/2012/04/25/grow-your-own-sweet-potatoes/

image taken from the "Grow Your Own Sweet Potatoes..." website

This message was edited May 15, 2012 10:40 AM

Thumbnail by Gymgirl
Click the image for an enlarged view.

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

May 15, 2012
8:52 AM

Post #9124728

Gymgirl - thank you for the "outlawgarden" link to growing sweet potatoes. That is the best explanation as to how to grow them that I have ever read!

Next year, I'll be sure to grow sweets in containers. I don't think the voles will be able to get in!

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

May 15, 2012
12:30 PM

Post #9124968

HUGS!

Linda, HoneybeeNC, and Brigidlily growing sweeties together! ^^_^^^^_^^^^_^^
hornstrider
Hutto, TX

May 15, 2012
5:57 PM

Post #9125303

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

Thumbnail by hornstrider
Click the image for an enlarged view.

urbanveggies412
Pittsburgh, PA
(Zone 6a)

May 15, 2012
6:23 PM

Post #9125321

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?

Thanks,
Jake

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

May 15, 2012
7:48 PM

Post #9125410

Jake,
Go for it!

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

May 16, 2012
10:08 AM

Post #9126039

Jake, I agree with Gymgirl - use the ones you have.
Calalily
Deep South Coastal, TX
(Zone 10a)

May 17, 2012
6:24 AM

Post #9126981

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.

Thumbnail by Calalily   Thumbnail by Calalily
Click an image for an enlarged view.

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

May 17, 2012
6:45 AM

Post #9126998

That field of sweeties is gorgeous! Who says food can't be art??!!
lusciousleaves
West of Chicago, IL
(Zone 5b)

July 6, 2012
6:07 PM

Post #9195856

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.

meadowyck

meadowyck
Brooksville, FL
(Zone 9a)

July 8, 2012
9:21 PM

Post #9198428

Oh I love that blog link, thanks for sharing it. I'm about to give SP a try. Will see how they do.

Jan

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

July 9, 2012
7:15 AM

Post #9198832

Thank you, Jan!
urbanveggies412
Pittsburgh, PA
(Zone 6a)

July 10, 2012
6:17 AM

Post #9200117

Question about SP:

Do the potatoes grow underground only where the main slip was planted or can they form down the vine where it roots as well?

Thanks,
Jake
Farmerdill
Augusta, GA
(Zone 8a)


July 10, 2012
10:12 AM

Post #9200383

It depends. I plant on a list so mine form under the plant. If you plant flat, the vining types tend from down the vine wherever they encounter soft ground.
podster
Deep East Texas, TX
(Zone 8a)

July 10, 2012
5:37 PM

Post #9200829

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

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

July 10, 2012
9:16 PM

Post #9201117

can you re-root the runners as slips? If not, I've got a heap of trimming to do tomorrow!

My sweeties are growing on a large Rubbermaid tub, but has runners trailing off down the fenceline.

Linda
podster
Deep East Texas, TX
(Zone 8a)

July 10, 2012
9:25 PM

Post #9201131


When you say they are on the fenceline, I'm guessing they aren't taking root?

I'd leave them 'running'. The leaves will provide needed nutrients for the roots.

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

July 10, 2012
9:55 PM

Post #9201147

I think I've got a tub full of roots. but they're now trailing over the sides, and off into the soil along the fence.
podster
Deep East Texas, TX
(Zone 8a)

July 11, 2012
4:17 AM

Post #9201269

It is suggested to flip the runners on occasion to prevent the runners from rooting. Either that or use a loose mulch under them to discourage rooting.
urbanveggies412
Pittsburgh, PA
(Zone 6a)

July 11, 2012
6:15 AM

Post #9201370

Thanks guys. Seems others had this question as well. I love this website. :)

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

July 11, 2012
7:47 AM

Post #9201482

Thanks, Pod!

Will do!
Calalily
Deep South Coastal, TX
(Zone 10a)

July 12, 2012
5:53 AM

Post #9202449

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.
urbanveggies412
Pittsburgh, PA
(Zone 6a)

July 12, 2012
7:33 AM

Post #9202583

8lb potatoes! wow! I wonder what the world record is for weight of an organic potato/sweet potato. Time to google...

Solace

Solace
Monte Vista, CO
(Zone 4a)

July 16, 2012
4:55 PM

Post #9207795

HoneyBee, voles hate garlic, so you might get some garlic to spray or pour around your beds, or put garlic in the blender and strain the juice, then spray it around your sweet potatoes. Here are some other homemade repellants: http://www.ehow.com/info_8377399_homemade-repellents-voles.html

Keep trying. :)

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

July 17, 2012
7:37 AM

Post #9208608

Solace - I noticed the voles ate onions, but left the garlic alone, so had given some thought to planting garlic amongst the sweet potatoes next year.

They like parsley, but haven't touched the basil growing next to it!

I'm glad they left the beans alone. They decimated a crop of beans a few years back.

Solace

Solace
Monte Vista, CO
(Zone 4a)

July 21, 2012
8:15 PM

Post #9213926

That's good to know, about the onions and voles. I'm trying to start onion seeds, now. Also, I didn't know they like beans so much. The varmints!

meadowyck

meadowyck
Brooksville, FL
(Zone 9a)

July 22, 2012
6:40 AM

Post #9214167

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

Jan

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

July 22, 2012
7:45 AM

Post #9214226

meadowyck - are you sure you caught voles with spam and not moles?

meadowyck

meadowyck
Brooksville, FL
(Zone 9a)

July 22, 2012
8:57 PM

Post #9215120

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

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

July 23, 2012
5:43 AM

Post #9215323

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!

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

July 23, 2012
7:08 AM

Post #9215463

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.

Linda
Calalily
Deep South Coastal, TX
(Zone 10a)

July 24, 2012
5:22 AM

Post #9216642

Linda, paper wasps like sweet potato leaves also. They use the leaves (chewed up and mixed with their saliva) to make their nests.

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

July 25, 2012
10:58 PM

Post #9218979

Thanks for the heads up on the bees, Lady Lily!

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

July 30, 2012
8:46 AM

Post #9223531

Gymgirl - with all the problems I've had with voles, I have given some thought to growing sweet potatoes in pots next year. I would LOVE to hear how yours did when you harvest them.

I have several 25 gallon pots that I could use.

http://www.growersupply.com/25gablmo6co.html

What soil recipe did you use? Did you put one slip in each 35 gallon container?

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

July 30, 2012
9:31 AM

Post #9223594

Bee,
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.

Linda

Thumbnail by Gymgirl
Click the image for an enlarged view.

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

July 30, 2012
10:37 AM

Post #9223689

Linda, I already have the 25 gallon pots. I thought I would try using them first before investing in the 35 gallon Rubbermaid tubs.

I'm looking forward to seeing how many sweets you harvest.

The sweet potatoes that the voles have left me look fine on the surface. I'll have to wait until October to find out how many they've left me underground.

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

July 30, 2012
12:03 PM

Post #9223764

Ok, Bee. I'll be sure to post the harvest pics here.

Linda
urbanveggies412
Pittsburgh, PA
(Zone 6a)

August 7, 2012
4:48 AM

Post #9232661

So I didn't know that sweet potato plants flowered! They are really nice looking too.

Thumbnail by urbanveggies412
Click the image for an enlarged view.

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

August 7, 2012
6:15 AM

Post #9232779

urbanveggies412 - I, too, was surprised the first time I saw a sweet potato flower. They are in the "Morning Glory" bindweed family, so the flowers are similar.
Calalily
Deep South Coastal, TX
(Zone 10a)

August 7, 2012
6:18 AM

Post #9232786

So nice they flower in cooler areas. They flower constantly here. Wonder if one could do a bit of hybridizing? I would love to have the flavor of Georgia Jets with the crack resistance of Centennial.

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

August 7, 2012
7:43 AM

Post #9232881

Uh, nothing beats a wish but a try! Break out that Q-tip and go for it!

meadowyck

meadowyck
Brooksville, FL
(Zone 9a)

August 10, 2012
6:58 PM

Post #9237262

Calalily, I'm with Gymgirl, go for it!

Jan
Calalily
Deep South Coastal, TX
(Zone 10a)

August 11, 2012
7:01 AM

Post #9237618

I'll give it a try when I get home! I have some growing in the greenhouse as a cover crop, I will let some continue to grow and try a bit of crossing.
urbanveggies412
Pittsburgh, PA
(Zone 6a)

August 13, 2012
8:19 AM

Post #9239929

So I guess the plants also go to seed? When they start flowering and going to seed is that any indication that the potatoes are ready for harvest?

Thanks,
Jake
urbanveggies412
Pittsburgh, PA
(Zone 6a)

August 13, 2012
9:09 AM

Post #9239981

And a picture of my small over crowded patch with some flowers in between. I can't remember the name of the flowers right now, doh!

Thumbnail by urbanveggies412
Click the image for an enlarged view.

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

August 13, 2012
11:31 AM

Post #9240124

Coneflowers?

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...

Linda
Calalily
Deep South Coastal, TX
(Zone 10a)

August 14, 2012
5:50 AM

Post #9240954

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.
brigidlily
Lumberton, TX
(Zone 8b)

August 16, 2012
11:53 AM

Post #9243604

I haven't grown them that many times, but I always left them in the ground until the vines started to die back.

You cannot post until you register, login and subscribe.


Other Vegetable Gardening Threads you might be interested in:

SubjectThread StarterRepliesLast Post
very important question farmgirl21 31 Jan 8, 2008 12:31 AM
Need Source For Chinese Vegetable Seed berrygirl 18 Jun 15, 2008 7:21 PM
An accidental lesson Farmerdill 26 Feb 24, 2013 12:10 PM
Planting the "Three sisters" HilltopDaisy 94 Jul 6, 2011 3:38 AM
Rhubarb emilyrasmus 19 Apr 25, 2013 4:55 PM


We recommend Firefox
Overwhelmed? There's a lot to see here. Try starting at our homepage.

[ Home | About | Advertise | Media Kit | Mission | Featured Companies | Submit an Article | Terms of Use | Tour | Rules | Privacy Policy | Contact Us ]

Back to the top

Copyright © 2000-2014 Dave's Garden, an Internet Brands company. All Rights Reserved.
 

Hope for America