Grow Sweet Potatoes

A delicious crop, sweet potatoes are easy to grow and rich in vitamin C. Learn how to grow sweet potatoes and discover ways to use and store your harvest.

| October 2013

  • The sweet potato is a delicious crop that is easy to grow if you choose one of the hardier varieties.
    Photo Courtesy Mitchell Beazely
  • Growing sweet potatoes through plastic will also make the individual plants easier to locate when the tubers are ready to harvest.
    Photo Courtesy Mitchell Beazely
  • Learn how to grow, harvest, preserve, cook and make the most of your produce in “Made at Home: Vegetables.”
    Cover Courtesy Mitchell Beazley

Made At Home: Vegetables (Mitchell Beazley, 2012) is the go-to guide to planting your own plot for fresh, year-round garden produce. Father and son, Dick and James Strawbridge provide simple instruction for planning, growing and harvesting your own seasonal produce, as well as recipes to use them up. In this excerpt from part three, “Autumn,” see how easy it is to grow sweet potatoes and what you can do to use and store these vegetables.

More from Made at Home: Vegetables

Easy Sweet Potato Pie recipe with Goat Cheese

We’ve been enjoying sweet potatoes for years but we’ve only recently begun growing them in the garden. Sweet potato is a delicious crop that is easy to grow if you choose one of the hardier varieties. If you have a sunny, sheltered garden why not have a go—they have more vitamin C than the classic potato and are great fun to cook.



Plant

The easiest way to grow sweet potatoes is to buy ‘slips’ (available by mail order) and plant them 30cm (1 foot) apart and 5cm (2 inches) deep. They will provide ground cover all summer and a harvest of tubers. You can also grow them from tubers that you plant into a pot or tray filled with moist soil mixed with a third of its volume of sand and then allow to sprout in an airing cupboard or a warm propagator. Similar to chitting potatoes, this job is vital to the success of your crop.

Grow Sweet Potatoes

Once your sweet potatoes have produced shoots a few inches long, cut away the pieces of tuber with the sprouts on them with a sharp knife and plant the chunks with sprouts into small pots of cutting compost (a mixture of equal parts sharp sand and good compost). Keep them moist and place a clear plastic bag over each pot and secure it with an elastic band as a mini-propagator.



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