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Companions for sweet potatoes?

Lumberton, TX(Zone 8b)

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!

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

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

Hutto, TX

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.

Augusta, GA(Zone 8a)

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.

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

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.

Phoenix, AZ(Zone 9b)

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???

Augusta, GA(Zone 8a)

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.

Phoenix, AZ(Zone 9b)

Thanks Farmer, I'll see about getting slips started.

Pittsburgh, PA(Zone 6a)

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

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

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.

Lumberton, TX(Zone 8b)

Honeybee, may you be blessed with an owl visit!

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

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

Thanks, brigidlily ^_^

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

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 :(

Phoenix, AZ(Zone 9b)

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.

Hutto, TX(Zone 8b)

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

Deep South Coastal, TX(Zone 10a)

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.

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

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!

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

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
Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

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!

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

HUGS!

Linda, HoneybeeNC, and Brigidlily growing sweeties together! ^^_^^^^_^^^^_^^

Hutto, TX

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
Pittsburgh, PA(Zone 6a)

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

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

Jake,
Go for it!

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

Jake, I agree with Gymgirl - use the ones you have.

Deep South Coastal, TX(Zone 10a)

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

That field of sweeties is gorgeous! Who says food can't be art??!!

West of Chicago, IL(Zone 5b)

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.

Brooksville, FL(Zone 9a)

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

Jan

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

Thank you, Jan!

Pittsburgh, PA(Zone 6a)

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

Augusta, GA(Zone 8a)

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.

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

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

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

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

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)


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.

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

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.

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

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.

Pittsburgh, PA(Zone 6a)

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

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

Thanks, Pod!

Will do!

Deep South Coastal, TX(Zone 10a)

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.

Pittsburgh, PA(Zone 6a)

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

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