Extremely nutritious and easy to grow, sweet potatoes thrive in the summer heat and need little upkeep once established. In fact, they are so eager to grow that plants dropped on the ground will take off running.
About two weeks after planting, sweet potatoes explode with new growth, and quickly cover the ground with lush vines. Sweet potatoes have few serious insect enemies and — best of all — they store so well that you can enjoy eating your crop into the winter months.
Plant a Bed of Sweet Potatoes:
- Choose young plants in pots with healthy, green leaves.
- Choose a sunny planting bed and dig out weeds with a spading fork.
- Amend the soil with 2” of compost and a balanced organic or time-release fertilizer. Follow label instructions for how much fertilizer to apply.
- Sweet potatoes should be planted 18” apart with 3’ between rows so the vines have plenty of room to spread out. Dig holes deeper and slightly larger than the plants’ pots. Pour about a quart of water into each hole.
- Place plant in the hole and refill with soil so that only the topmost three or four leaves show at the surface. Water again to thoroughly soak the bed.
- If hot, or if sunny weather is expected, cover each plant with an upturned flowerpot for three days to allow time for new roots to develop.
- About three weeks after planting, when the vines begin to run, carefully hoe the bed to eliminate weeds.
- Mulch to suppress future weeds and retain moisture.
- Water weekly if the weather is hot and dry.