growing sweet spuds in pots

Discussion in 'Planting, growing, nurturing Plants' started by gardenlen, Oct 8, 2012.

  1. gardenlen

    gardenlen Group for banned users

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    g'day all,

    seen the question asked at times and no doubt good advice already out there.

    about 17 months ago when we had decided to sell our last place like all gardeners i went around collecting material and potting it. this 'tater has been with us for around 10 years now, did have a white one but lost it someplace.

    anyhow with dry period started plants in the ground easier to tend for than those in pots.

    just regular potting mix used and watered when they drooped or i should say when pots were in danger of being blown away, mostly with 2nd hand water.

    so as they don't need full sun can be grown in well lit shaded, similar to rainforest floor. only food was what was in the mix.

    anyway a surprising result, when we planted them out today.

    len
     
  2. mouseinthehouse

    mouseinthehouse Junior Member

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    Wow, thanks gardenlen - feeling really dopey now - we planted some sweet potatoes out in a raised bed but they got knocked around by the frosts over winter as expected but are hoping they will recover and re-shoot soon. I am currently growing normal spuds in horse feed bags in the greenhouse with good results. Why it didn't occur to me to do the same with the sweet potatoes I don't know? Another job for this week maybe...
     
  3. gardenlen

    gardenlen Group for banned users

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    yep mith,

    i wasn't prepared for usable tubers, to be honest just wanted to keep my line of this plant, so with 1 gallon pots you could have lots, tip and harvest then replant the plant, maybe 2 gallon pots will give more, got 2 out of 1 pot the biggest and smallest.

    keep us updated

    len
     
  4. Taurion

    Taurion Junior Member

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    How do you know when to harvest them? I have had some in one part of garden but never know when I can dig them up? is there a some time guideline or visual sight that one can go by?
     
  5. Grasshopper

    Grasshopper Senior Member

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    Have a brogle and see what pops up.....bandicooting FTW

    I usually just see a cleared piece of ground and a whole lot of orange pieces after the brush turkey finds them.(even where I forgot I planted them,his radar can pick them a mile away)

    But grew some in a garbage bin and it didnt have a lot of vine but it did have a few potatoes.
     
  6. S.O.P

    S.O.P Moderator

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    I read it is when the vine is swollen, compared to the thin stem it is when it's normally growing.

    Keeping in mind you can detach a fully grown potato and leave the vine in place.
     
  7. gardenlen

    gardenlen Group for banned users

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    scrape a bit around where the main vine is if there is any tuber you will find the top of it just below surface, if large enough pick it and tuck the vine back in.

    in pots would be easier just tip the pot and look, can be done with little disturbance.

    the vines those tubers cam from now happily growing in the ground

    they ate well too tasted nice.

    len
     
  8. Taurion

    Taurion Junior Member

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    Thanks
     
  9. Diggman

    Diggman Junior Member

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    Hi everyone, old thread, I know but I'd rather ask here than start a new one.

    looking online it seems the way to grow Sweet Potatoes is different to normal ones, so I take it that you do not keep mounding up the earth as the potato stem grows higher? they seem to be more ground covering plants than tall growing like normal potatoes (correct me if I'm wrong).

    Also, the site I found before reckons you need to store the harvested potatoes in a cupboard that is heated (cant remember the temperature) for 8 - 10 days to develop the taste, if that's the case I'd rather skip the hassle, most sites I have been to since says nothing like that, so any advice welcome.

    Thanks
     
  10. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    You are right. They trail along the ground and push a shoot down that swells to become the tuber. No need to mound up. They take up a bit of space but double as a ground cover somewhere that you don't want weeds to get a hold.

    I go and harvest a bucket once every few months and wash, dry and store them in a wire basket in a cupboard. Mostly I leave them in the ground until I want them. No need to do fancy steps.
     
  11. S.O.P

    S.O.P Moderator

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    If you want to concentrate on a few tubers, you "twirl" your vine onto itself so it can't root at the nodes and put energy into smaller potatoes.
     
  12. Eco Jono

    Eco Jono Junior Member

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    Can I get some advice please... I'm trying to get some sweet potato slips prepared to plant out soon after last frost.

    I'm not having much luck getting roots to grow out of store bought ones. I'm also having a hard time sourcing organic sweet potatoes where I live (Central NSW)

    What do you guys use?
     
  13. sweetpea

    sweetpea Junior Member

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    Ah, I wondered why I wasn't seeing the distinction between potatoes and sweet potatoes here, then I saw your question, Diggman.

    I grow Japanese yams (dark burgundy skin/white insides) (is what they call them) but they are sweet potatoes because they grow with vines, have pointy ends, and grow DOWN from the initial buried sprouting vine. Sweet potatoes are actually related to morning glories, not to potatoes (solanum) and so the conditions are quite different, even the time they take to mature can be different. Sometimes the Japanese "yams" go so deep it takes a scoop bucket on a tractor to dig them out. I tried them in a half barrel and I got the craziest looking long, snaking finger-width roots that were trying to go down but were forced horizontally when they hit the bottom of the barrel, never did turn into tubers.

    Potatoes (solanum) grow UP from the initial sprouted chunk, and do well in containers because of that.

    Yams are related to lilies and grasses, oddly enough. they also grown DOWN from the planted sprout. So we've managed to name them inappropriately, and it's confusing when it comes time to plant them.

    https://www.loc.gov/rr/scitech/mysteries/sweetpotato.html
     
  14. Grasshopper

    Grasshopper Senior Member

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    I have just let an old one sprout in the fruit bowl and started with that.
    Then divide and conquer
     
  15. Bryant RedHawk

    Bryant RedHawk Junior Member

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    I normally set one in a glass with a bit of water( like starting an avocado but with out the toothpicks) when the slips grow enough that I can see some roots forming I just snick them off and plant them up. The bowl method mentioned by Grasshopper works well too.
     
  16. Mysterious

    Mysterious Junior Member

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    Sweet potato greens

    We are loving sweet potato greens at the moment in our house in Sydney. Works perfectly in a dhal where it contributes its slimy consistency. Together with its ability to cover anything in its path at a such rapid rate, and strong pest resistance the tubers are simply a bonus!

    I have read that sweet potato can harbour nematodes. Does anyone have any knowledge on this? It seems to conflict with its use as a perennial groundcover.
     
  17. Bryant RedHawk

    Bryant RedHawk Junior Member

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    Mysterious, here is some information on nematodes in sweet potatoes, this information is from Louisiana State University and so it does mention pesticides:

    Nematodes are a serious pest to both our sweet potato industry and for those people growing them in a home garden. These pests affect the total production and quality of the sweet potato. Since the damage occurs to roots below ground, they are often not recognized as being a problem.

    Two nematode species cause most of our damage. Root-knot nematode has been recognized for years as one of the most important nematodes that injure sweet potatoes. It is very widespread in Louisiana and attacks a wide range of plants. Reniform nematode is the other nematode that can cause problems on sweet potatoes. This nematode has very recently become widespread. Cotton appears to be the primary crop that reniform nematode has spread on throughout the state. Unfortunately, reniform nematode does extremely well on sweet potatoes.
    Plant-parasitic nematodes can damage plants in several ways. Root-knot nematode can cause roots to be malformed or cracked or to appear roughened. Aboveground symptoms are a general stunting or yellowing of the plant. These plants look like they are lacking in fertility. If this nematode attacks early in the growing season, small galls can be seen where it has attacked the root system. This pest can also enter into the enlarging roots later in the growing season. Root-knot females can often be found in corky areas within these roots. The females are white or yellowish, often occurring in discolored areas within the root. Although they are quite small, they can just be seen without the aid of a magnifying glass.

    Reniform nematode has recently begun showing up as a more-serious pest than root-knot nematode and is a serious threat to this crop. This pest causes the root system to be poorly developed, be discolored and lack feeder roots. Cracked roots are also associated with this nematode, which leads to quality problems.

    There are several methods used to reduce losses by nematodes. The variety Bienville has been selected for resistance against the root-knot nematode. The variety Beauregard is the dominant variety now in Louisiana but is susceptible to both root-knot and reniform nematodes. Commercial growers will need to treat fields before planting with either a preplant fumigant such as Telone II or preplant nematicide such as Mocap 10G or EC. Temik 15%G can be applied at the time of planting. Home gardeners need to plant behind crops that are not good hosts for the root-knot nematode or have resistance against it such as found in many tomato varieties or Mississippi Silver cowpea.

    Nematodes can cause serious losses to sweet potatoes. Don’t let them be a surprise to you at harvest

    Then there is this from UCD, https://ucce.ucdavis.edu/files/repositoryfiles/ca3803p26-72342.pdf
     
  18. sweetpea

    sweetpea Junior Member

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    Bryant, remember that these universities are not doing organic/compost methods. So their soil is way more vulnerable and depleted and full of high-nitrate fertilizers than soil that has mulch, a compost made from a rich mix of different things, and compost teas.

    But sometimes there are soils that just seem to have nematodes in different parts of the country, yet when mixed with high concentrations of compost and mulch for a few years become much healthier. Is your part of the country one with nematode problems? Mine isn't, so it's not a given the nematodes will be a problem :)
     
  19. Bryant RedHawk

    Bryant RedHawk Junior Member

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    I totally agree with you sweetpea, I have yet to grow sweet potatoes so I don't know if my mountaintop has them, I will be finding out this season though. Mostly I just wanted to put the info out there as a reminder for folks to watch out for these. LSU does research both for commercial and for organic farmers, this report didn't specify organics so I am sure it was directed at the fertilizer using, soil depleting crowd. I put up the UCD link simply because that's one of my Alma-Maters.
     
  20. Bananarama

    Bananarama Junior Member

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    Interesting point, I was just watching Gabe Brown on youtube talking about oil health - one of the first points is that healthy soil has mycorrhizal fungi that prevent nematodes.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9yPjoh9YJMk
     

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