Sweet potatoes........................ GRRRRRR

Kassaundra

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I thought I did it right this year. I put them in a 4 x 8 raised bed w/ lots of loose dirt, a soaker hose, it was a very long growing season this year. I just got in from digging them up since we are to get our first killing frost tonight, I had ONE potato, ONE and I cut that one in half w/ the shovel!!!!!! They looked happy all year, green pretty foliage, even started blooming over the past few weeks. I'm so disappointed!
 

seedtrader-teg

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I did a sweet potato trial this year. I grew them in pots (I don't like digging for them).

I had one in what I call a horse tub, it's a big round, plastic tub, with rope handles on 2 sides.

The tub got cracked on the bottom, and wouldn't hold water, so I turned it into a pot, by drilling holes on the bottom.

I then took a whole store bought sweet potato, that had sprouted, and planted it in this big pot.

I planted 2 other sprouted sweet potatoes, in 2 smaller pots.

Anyway, I didn't figure they'd do anything, but since they were growing, I took care of them.

Long story short, a got 5+#s of them. They were thin, and all doubled up, for not having enough room.

I grew in a mix of bought loam, and native sandy soil.

I didn't do much for them, just watered them when they wilted.

But since I got some at all, the trial was a success. Free food!

I want to try and grow them in a big kiddie pool with holes drilled in the bottom, and filled with soil, that way, I know if they're any in there, that I should be able to find them. The soil can be taken out of the pool, and used in a newly built raised bed frame, and the pool refilled in the spring.
 

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so lucky

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Good grief, Kassaundra, I can't imagine what happened. Do you know what kind they were (supposed to be)? It sounds like they bloomed a lot later than mine did. I think mine bloomed in August.
You might consider these things, although I am not at all sure that any of these would make a difference:
The variety of potato. Maybe it is just a really long season one?
Soil too rich in nitrogen so all the energy went to foliage?
Not enough potassium?
I know you grow a lot of things, and have probably thought of all these. Maybe @Ridgerunner has an idea, since he's kinda south.
 

Ridgerunner

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I'm kinda gobsmacked. Sweet potatoes should be about the easiest thing you can grow if you have the climate, and you have the climate. So Lucky hit the high points but I'll ask:

How did you plant them, slips or whole potatoes? When?

How much did you water them? They like some dampness early but prefer it drier when potatoes are making. Sweet potatoes supposedly get bigger if it is pretty dry when they are making, but even if they are wet you still should have some, they'll just not be as thick.

How big was the one you found? Since you said they had not been flowering long it kind of sounds like they were late.

It has been a strange year for me as wet as most of it was, but my sweet potatoes were about the only thing that did pretty well. You are just not that far away.
 

Kassaundra

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Mostly slips, but then planted the sprouted potatoes I had been getting the slips from too. They were wet early on but not over watered through the summer. The one I got was nice size normal size, each plant had one or two thick roots about the thickness of my finger including the one that had the one potato. Should have been a perfect year for sweet potatoes, most of my garden did poorly this year, but I was taking comfort in the fact I was going to have a bumper crop of sweet potatoes!

Maybe to much nitrogen, they vined very well, but not seemingly over the top. I'm thinking maybe not enough phosphorus, I didn't amend any into the soil b/c I use mostly chicken manure for fertilizer and it is high in phosphorus?
 

catjac1975

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I thought I did it right this year. I put them in a 4 x 8 raised bed w/ lots of loose dirt, a soaker hose, it was a very long growing season this year. I just got in from digging them up since we are to get our first killing frost tonight, I had ONE potato, ONE and I cut that one in half w/ the shovel!!!!!! They looked happy all year, green pretty foliage, even started blooming over the past few weeks. I'm so disappointed!
I would think that they would be easy in your climate. Maybe you planted them too late? Ask a local who is successful for advice.
 

dickiebird

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I put in 2 rows of sw/pot about 30' each row.
I did nothing to them but watch them vine all over the place.
I was waiting for a hard frost but that hasn't arrived.
When it did cool off and every thing quit producing the vines died off. Since I hadn't done any maint to their rows their area was not defined and I lost track of where they were planted.
Well last Sunday I tilled the garden and I found a few....pieces.
I've just let them stay put, but now I may go out there and put the pieces in a row next to my asparagus and see if they'll do anything next year.

THANX RICH
 

Just-Moxie

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Our first year here, planting sweet potatoes...we put them in the main garden. The soil was heavy clay, barely amended. We had a drought, so they actually got very little water. But they did get lots hot sun. I couldn't water them because our well doesn't seem to have the capacity. We got over 50# harvest then.

The second year, we put them way up in front of the house. On a slope. Partial shade. They did horrible. We only got less than a 2 gallon bucket half full of sweet potatoes. The soil there was heavier on the sand.

The third year, we put them back in the main garden. But I requested they be planted in the back rows, because they just can take over the rows and walkways.
Again...too much shade. They did terrible there too.

I think this next time, I will put them back in the original spot in the main garden. They did take over. I couldn't even find my onion row. But the potatoes did well.
I never really did fertilize them either.

I have planted slips as well as the whole potato. They both do equally well.
 

Ridgerunner

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I don't have any choice here, wherever I put them they will be in full sun. That's a very good point. I did not see where Kassaundra said when she planted them but since one made I assumed it was early enough. Her day length and such is really close to mine since she is not that far down the road. I normally get them out in June and that is plenty early enough. Early July might even work.

I put them in different areas of the garden every year. Instead of one long row I use several short rows side by side and leave an area about 5-1/2' to 6' clear all around. I'm constantly turning runners around to keep them in that area once they start to run. They will take over.

This year I had four rows each about 10 feet long and spaced about 3-1/2 feet apart. I plant slips spaced at 9" in each row. I had a couple die this year, which is pretty unusual, but sometimes I can have a special talent. Anyway, I cut off the ends of a longer one and stuck that in the bare spot and kept that moist for couple of weeks. No roots just the end of a runner. Those grew and produced well.
 
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