Learning Download: How to Grow Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes may appear similar to regular potatoes, but unlike regular potatoes which grow best in a cooler environment, sweet potatoes do better in the heat.
Before Planting: For those living in warm climates, plant sweet potatoes a month after the last spring frost, as soon as the temperatures outside and the soil temperatures have warmed up considerably. To obtain a sweet potato slip, cut a sweet potato in half lengthwise and bury each half in damp potting soil. Keep the slips moist and warm, and shoots should sprout within a few days. Leaves will follow the shoots.
Planting: Shoots should be between 4 and 8 inches tall before they’re transplanted outside. When the shoots are old enough, transplant them outside. Since sweet potatoes like it warm, plant the transplants in raised rows, which are usually about 8 inches higher than ground level.
Watering: Water your sweet potato plants weekly since a regular watering schedule will help prevent the sweet potato skin from splitting.
Fertilizer: Add fertilizer containing potassium approximately two weeks after planting the slips.
Days to Maturity: Tubers are ready to harvest when the plant’s foliage turns from green to yellow. (See each variety for days to maturity)
Harvesting: The tubers will grow close to the surface, so dig gently when harvesting. If harvesting too roughly, the sweet potato skin will bruise.
Tips: To avoid vines over growing , gently weed the vines two weeks after you’ve planted the slips. Avoid using a hoe so you don’t disrupt the feeder roots.