tk421storm
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Grow Sweet Potatoes like regular Potatoes?

Specifically, I've seen that one of the best ways to grow potatoes is to use stacking barrels (or tires - which i'd pass on, I'm not sure what they would do to the soil), and top off the plants with new layers of soil every week or so. This makes the plant grow more roots up along the stem, and produce more potatoes.

My question is, can this work the same way for sweet potatoes?

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Ozark Lady
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Sweet potatoes are in the morning glory family.
They can not take cold at all. But, they can take the heat.
I don't see why you can't use barrels, just remember not to plant them, until it is almost warm enough for you to go swimming.

I think that you could grow them in barrels. I usually spread them out in a raised bed, that is deeply dug, not alot of fertilizers. They like poor soil.
But, they are vines... as the vines grow, just toss some soil over the vine, and it will soon root, before you know it, the whole bed is totally covered, and each section that roots has the potential for growing sweet potatoes.

If you use the barrel idea, I would only use one maybe two per barrel, so that they have room to root and grow more, more, more.

This is just in my opinion though, others may do them alot different.
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applestar
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Regular potatoes grow tubers ABOVE the seed potato. So the more you bury the stem, the more potatoes grow (but you also need to allow top growth or the plant won't grow enough leaves).

Sweet potatoes grow in completely different way from regular potatoes. It's more of a spreading vine, and you want as much foliage as you can grow for maximum photosynthesis. At the same time, I have read, and my experience last year seem to bear this out, that you actually want to prevent the vine from rooting everywhere they touch. The reason for that is if they root, they'll try to grow potatoes there. With the vine distributing the collected/converted starch/sugar everywhere, none of the tubers get very big except for the first set of tubers that grew where the slips were first rooted. (I ended up with a lot of skinny tubers as thick as my thumb :?)

Commercial growers use plastic mulch to not only heat up the soil but also to control where the vines touch down. (slits are made in the plastic at limited number of locations)

My experience (as well as OL's "poor soil" comment) seem to indicate that SP's don't need as extra deep loose soil as you might think. My SP's grown in extra deep raised bed grew tubers that went straight down -- I had to dig up most of the 18" deep raised bed to get them all out. Tubers on SP's grown in the beds with maybe 6"~8" of loose top soil and hard pan clay underneath, grew mostly sideways and were easier to dig out. One monster kept snaking along under the ground. See the photo and read about some of my experience growing SP [url=https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=100340]here[/url]. But if you search the forum, you'll find much more info from other members.

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Ozark Lady
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I have a long growing season. And I often order sweet potato slips.
I plan so many per bed, then I let them just fill in the bed.
Once the bed is full, they have months of growing, and I have many more "hills" of sweets growing. And I don't particularly like the huge monsters, I prefer them a reasonable size. And with months and the beds dug down 2' well, I could get monsters. So consider your season, your bed and depths. I had sweet potatoes even get under the tiles of the bed... interesting to get those out.

Hey, I learned something in 2009. I got some sweet potatoes at the grocery store, they would not sprout at all. No matter what I did, they rotted. Hmm? Anyhow, towards the end of summer I bought a case from the local fruit stand, they sprouted like crazy! Guess what I found out... early picked sweet potatoes will sprout. But, after they have been stored awhile, or the ones the store wants to sell later... are treated to prevent sprouting!

I also, picked up some of my sweet potatoes and kept them with the roots on them, and brought them inside, no more hassels getting slips... They are growing as a houseplant, and I simply snip off a limb and root it. I have constant starts! If I don't kill them, like most houseplants! ha ha

If you must use sweet potatoes from the grocer, don't get them in the winter, get them in the fall, and save them yourself. Every vendor I could find had too wet of a year and offered no sweet potatoes in 2009, finally, a Texan friend, sent me some in the mail... they travelled great!
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tk421storm
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Awesome, these are great tips.

It sounds like they grow similarly to potatoes, but different in some ways. I'm not sure that the barrel idea won't work, but it may not be the best way to go about it. Since I don't have much flat space this year, though, it may be my only option.

Thanks again!

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gixxerific
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My sweets took up a lot of room last year, more than my reg potatoes. What I did was to keep adding soil to the base of the plant and it grew like crazy. Well one did all my others that didn't get special treatment didn't do so well. The big one was also in better soil, don't know if that helped seeing that poor soil does them well as said above. This was my first year with both kinds of potatoes so don't take my word for it too much.

Google is your friend, Youtube as well. There are tons of entries on both, TONS. Even links about growing in buckets and other "high rise" type planting methods.

Tires not a good idea, too many chemicals to worry about.

I can for sure tell you one thing sweets are hard to kill. Something ate 4 of my plants to the soil level, oh about 4-6 times. They came back every time, needless to say they didn't produce big fruits but they did produce. :shock:

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Ozark Lady
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I have heard that sweet potato greens are very good eating.
I haven't tried them yet. I guess, something can definitely agree... they are good eating.

I can't remember where I saw that about the tops, and I have never seen a recipe featuring sweet potato leaves... but, worth a try.
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gixxerific
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Ozark Lady wrote:I have heard that sweet potato greens are very good eating.
I haven't tried them yet. I guess, something can definitely agree... they are good eating.

I can't remember where I saw that about the tops, and I have never seen a recipe featuring sweet potato leaves... but, worth a try.
They are a delicacy in some places. I have never tried them yet. I will try them out this year. It may be hard to swallow knowing that regular (Irish) potato leaves are NOT to be eaten.

Here check this out [url=https://www.google.com/search?q=eating+sweet+potato+leaves&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a]Eating Sweet Potato Leaves[/url]

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Troppofoodgardener
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Here's a recipe I found following one of the above links. It's a dish eaten in the Phillipines.

Sweet Potato Tops a la Kuwago

• Dash of Asafetida
• 1 Tbsp of Olive Oil
• 1 Tsp of Mustard Seeds
• 4 pcs potatoes, peeled and diced into ½ inch squares
• 4 or more large Tomatoes, diced finely or 1 small can crushed tomatoes
• 3 cups of Water, Vegetable Stock or Rice Washing
• 1 large bunch of Sweet Potato Tops, hard stems removed and washed
• Dash of Cumin Powder
• Sea Salt or Bragg’s Liquid Aminos, to taste

In a deep pot, preferably die cast iron, heat the oil and add the mustard seeds. Fry them until they start to pop. Add the asafetida. Add the cumin. Add the potatoes and stir fry them until the outer parts start to change color. Add and sauté the tomatoes until they become tender. Add the water and allow it to boil. Add your sea salt or Bragg’s. Add the Sweet potato tops. Continue to boil, around 5 minutes, until the potatoes are tender enough, mixing them once or twice to ensure that all the ingredients are cooked evenly. Serve warm.
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DeborahL
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Wow ! I've always heard that sweet potato leaves are toxic and should be kept away from pets.
God must think highly of animals - He created them before creating us !

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Troppofoodgardener
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Nope.. sweet potato leaves are definitely NOT toxic. :D

Sweet potato belong to the Convolvulaceae family, and have been eaten in rural China and other parts of Asia for centuries. The leaves of the sweet potato plant are actually an excellent source for Vitamin E, Vitamin A, Folate, Magnesium, Potassium and Manganese, and could be a good source of iodine.

It is the leaves of the regular potato which belongs to the Solanaceae family (also known as the nightshades) which is toxic. This family includes tomatoes, eggplant, sweet peppers, chili peppers (but not black pepper), tobacco and petunias.
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ThomasCA
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Actually, regarding tomato leaves, there has been quite a debate over their toxicity...a single human would have to devour over a pound of tomato leaves for any ill effects.

https://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/29/dining/29curi.html

DeborahL
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My aunt had a beautiful sweet potato plant growing in water. It was huge.
I've wanted to do that but was worried about my cats eating it. Thanks !
God must think highly of animals - He created them before creating us !

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Gary350
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I have grown sweet and white and red potatoes in tires and it works great but tires are wasted space.

Sweet potatoes like hot weather, red potatoes do well in hot weather too but not quite as hot as sweet potatoes. White potatoes do best is cooler weather.

Barrels are too tall.

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I am so tempted to grow sweet potatoes this year, but I just don't know if the yield they will give will be worth the space allocated.

I really like the unique white and purple varieties available, too!

Good to know about the leaves. at least if you don't get a lot of potatoes, you will still be able to have a salad :lol:.
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soil
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you can grow them in big pots too, i only have enough space for a small area of in ground SP, also as a caution to gophers ill be planting some in half wine barrels and other big pots along with regular potatoes. you don't get really long deep fat tubers but youll be surprised how big they can get in there.
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Troppofoodgardener
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this is the one we grew, roughly the size of a child's head and weighing in at 1870gms! :lol:

[url=https://img849.imageshack.us/i/sweeet.jpg/][img]https://img849.imageshack.us/img849/4710/sweeet.jpg[/img][/url]

It's the white variety of sweet potato. I was making sweet potato wedges, pasta with sweet potato, sweet potato soup with carrot and chickpeas for 3 days straight...
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