Search The Rusted Garden Blog: Just Enter A Vegetable or Phrase

Sunday, October 15, 2017

How to Grow Sweet Potatoes in Containers: Making Slips, Container Preparation, Basic Feeding and Harvesting

Subscribe to my YouTube Channel The Rusted Garden
Over 800 Garden Videos Designed to Quickly Present Information!

Please Support The Rusted Garden by Shopping through my Amazon Affiliate Link

How to Grow Sweet Potatoes in Containers:
Making Slips, Container Preparation, Basic Feeding and Harvesting

My 2018 Sweet Potato Harvest from Containers
Growing Your Own Sweet Potato Slips:

Sweet Potatoes can be easily grown in containers. You don't start sweet potatoes from seeds or from 'seed potatoes'. You start them from slips. You can easily grow your own by dropping a portion of the sweet potato in a container  of water. Just like the old elementary school experiment. Use tooth picks to support the potato over a jar or glass of water, so it is submerged to 1/3 - 1/2 its size. Keep the jar full on a sunny windowsill and wait. It will soon start growing shoots that will become your slips.

You want to start growing your slips about 60-90 days before they are ready to go into the ground. They get planted after the danger of frost has passed. You might get lucky and get slips in 30 days but it is best to start earlier. When your slips or the growth on you sweet potato get about 3-5 inches tall you can cut them off and drop them into their own glass of water. They will root quickly and be ready for transplant in about 2 weeks. I purchased my sweet potatoes from a local grocery store that sells organic vegetables. The 2 videos shows you all the steps for growing your own sweet potato slips.

Container Selection:

Sweet potatoes can be grown in 5 gallon containers. Generally speaking, the yield is smaller but you can still get plenty of delicious sweet potatoes. No matter what size container you choose, the set up is the same. Make sure you have holes in the container. Excess water has to drain from the container or the plant's roots will rot. The container soil can really be any basic bagged potting mix. You just need a simple mix that drains well. If you want to make your own you can use 50% soil and 50% peat moss or coco coir. A combination of the two is fine. You can also cut the soil to 25% and add in 25% of true compost. What I mean by true compost is any fully composted product, not one that is still breaking down.  This video will give you some information on selecting containers.

Fertilizing and Feeding:

I recommend a balance fertilizer like a 5-5-5 NPK. Sweet potatoes are heavy feeders and you want to equally represent the phosphorous (5) and potassium (5) to a value at least equal to nitrogen (5) or even a little bit higher. Don't over stress with finding the right number. I use organic fertilizer with my potatoes when setting up the container mix for planting. Just follow the fertilizer package as directed. You don't want nitrogen to be over represented. You will have to follow, the basic soil set up, by feeding your sweet potatoes regularly with water soluble fertilizer.

The water soluble fertilizers have NPK and other nutrients the are readily or immediately available to the plants. You will have to do this every 10-14 days and of course use less when the plants are small and more as the summer progress. Again you want to make sure the phosphorous and potassium are well represented. You can use an organic water soluble fertilizer but the chemical fertilizer are often more balanced. Your plant can't tell the difference but use what you are comfortable with.

Harvesting Sweet Potatoes:

What I learned about harvesting is be patient and wait until the frost comes and takes the leaves. In Maryland Zone 7 you plant in mid May. You can plant in your zone once the danger of frost has passed. I was harvesting my sweet potatoes in September. I found letting them grow 4-6 weeks longer into October, when the first frost is arriving, made for larger sweet potatoes. Common sense to me now but you will see sweet potatoes breaking the surface in September and might be tempted to harvest them early. Simply put, wait till first frost.

Good Luck
Gary (The Rusted Garden)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Visit The Rusted Garden's YouTube Video Channel
Follow The Rusted Garden on Pinterest