Planting Sweet Potato: Here Is Your Ultimate Guide To Do It
Image Credit: Freepik

Sweet potatoes belong to the Morning Glory family. If you compare the flowers and leaves of a sweet potato vine, you will be able to notice a striking resemblance to those of morning glory.

Despite their name, sweet potatoes are not actually related to regular potatoes, which belong to the nightshade family. One key difference between sweet potatoes and regular potatoes is that the part we eat of a sweet potato is a tuberous root, not a true tuber like regular potatoes.

These root vegetables have a deep-orange flesh and a coppery skin. Sweet potatoes are often cooked by mashing them or roasting them whole. They can also be used as a filling for pies.

With their delicious taste and versatility in cooking, sweet potatoes are a popular choice for many dishes.

Image credit: Freepik

Steps To Planting And Harvesting Sweet Potato In Your Home Garden

Step 1: Start the Slips

You can get slips from a catalog or online, or you can grow slips from a sweet potato you bought or from your garden. If you buy from a store, check if it's a bush or vining type. Bush types are shorter than vining types.

Image credit: Freepik

Step 2: Root the Slips

After your sweet potatoes have sprouted, you need to separate them into plantable slips. To do this, gently twist off each sprout from the sweet potato. Place the sprouts in a shallow bowl with the bottom half of the stem in water and the leaves hanging over the rim. Roots will appear in a few days, and once they are about an inch long, the slips are ready to be planted. 

Image credit: Freepik

Step 3: Prepare the Soil for the Slips

Before planting sweet potato slips, make sure to prepare the soil properly. Sweet potatoes need loose, well-drained soil to grow big tubers. Loose soil is very important for the roots to easily expand and grow.

Image credit: Freepik

Step 4: Plant the Slips

Place the plant slips in the soil with the roots facing downwards. Make sure that the bottom half of the slip is covered with dirt, while the top half with the new leaves remains above ground. Take care not to damage the plant. Press the soil gently to secure the plant and eliminate any air pockets.

Image credit: Freepik

Step 5: Water, Water, Water

After placing the slips, water them thoroughly until the surrounding dirt is wet. For the first week, water the new plants daily, and every other day for the second week. Gradually reduce the frequency of watering each week until you only need to water once a week. 

Image credit: Freepik

Step 6: Harvest

The time to harvest sweet potatoes varies depending on the type you bought. When you get your slips, make sure to read the instructions. Usually, it takes around three to four months for most types to fully grow, which is about 90 to 120 days.

Step 7: Cure the Sweet Potatoes

After harvesting sweet potatoes, let them dry in the sun for a few hours. Store them in a box with newspaper for a couple of weeks in a well-ventilated area. Keep them at 85-90 degrees to cure. Move to a cooler place at 55-60 degrees with 75-80% humidity. Check regularly for spoilage.

So, go and grab the slips, and plant sweet potatoes in your home garden with these easy to follow steps, and enjoy organic, home-grown vegetable in sweet and saoury dishes, chips, and many more.