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Sweet Potatoes - Page 9 Toplef10Sweet Potatoes - Page 9 1zd3ho10

Hello Guest!
Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
There's lots to learn here by reading as a guest. However, if you become a member (it's free, ad free and spam-free) you'll have access to our large vermiculite databases, our seed exchange spreadsheets, Mel's Mix calculator, and many more members' pictures in the Gallery. Enjoy.

Sweet Potatoes - Page 9 I22gcj10Sweet Potatoes - Page 9 14dhcg10

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Sweet Potatoes

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Post  OhioGardener 9/18/2022, 10:55 am

sweetcatkins wrote:First time planting sweet potatoes, and while they appear to have thrived in my Northwest Garden, I have no idea when or how to harvest them. What should I be looking for to know they are ready to be dug up?

When I see the ends of the vines starting to yellow, I know they are ready to dig.  If the tops haven't started dying back, and we get a frost warning, I get them dug before the frost gets them.

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Post  sanderson 9/18/2022, 6:16 pm

Dying vines are also my cue. My frost usually doesn't occur until late November, so I let the vines notify me it's time to harvest.

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Post  Frost? 9/19/2022, 7:30 pm

sanderson wrote:You can leave them in the ground up until the first frost and then harvest.

Does anyone else have advice?

My first harvest in 2015.  They were fingerlings.   Razz  Sweet Potatoes - Page 9 Sweet_10

  I start my slips in a disposable roasting pan filled with modified MM (no compost/manure) using a whole potato.  Having reviewed some posts here, seems to make sense to at least "half" the taters (I'll do mine lengthwise) because slips never grow out the bottom anyway.  I used a 30" x 18" tote this year because my 40" tote broke and I couldn't find one that size to replace it.  I probably put 1/2 dozen slips in it.  I usually shove my vine overgrowth back down into the tub to promote more rooting until it becomes impractical to do so.  Then I trim the vines during the season to prevent them from reaching the ground (I've heard that manicuring the vines promotes tater growth).  I think mine were in the ground end of April beginning of May, but don't have the date recorded.  Now the vines are starting to yellow and the ones I can grope seem to be about 4" - 5" long, maybe 2" across.  Since we're stilling getting daily rain I will leave them be till that ceases, or the vines die.  Maybe next year I'll try fewer slips.
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Post  sanderson 9/20/2022, 12:07 am

Frost,  Just curious.  Are you getting the size SP that you expect?  I ask because it seems to me that the fewer slips I plant (started with 4 and down to 2 in each tote), the larger they are.

Energy is made in the leaves, so more leaves, more energy.  The energy made in the leaves goes down to the roots through the phloem.

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Post  MrBooker 9/20/2022, 6:43 am

I never worried too much about a light frost on my Sweet Potatoes.
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Post  Frost? 9/20/2022, 8:47 am

sanderson wrote:Frost,  Just curious.  Are you getting the size SP that you expect?  I ask because it seems to me that the fewer slips I plant (started with 4 and down to 2 in each tote), the larger they are.

Energy is made in the leaves, so more leaves, more energy.  The energy made in the leaves goes down to the roots through the phloem.

  Actually, no.  I would certainly appreciate (slightly) larger ones.  I will definitely try to reduce the number of slips, and maybe just add more totes.  
  
Thanks for the tip on the greenery too; as I relayed my past instruction had me pruning vines to encourage root growth.  Maybe time for side by side comparison, I could certainly trellis them.

  Overall the whole year has been disappointing:  mini eggplants, mini peppers, almost no yield on tomatoes, failed beets....the only highlights are well established root stock (and greens) on sorrel and arugula, and the butternut squash that arbitrarily grew in the compost heap has yielded quite nicely.  Maybe I should give up farming and be a gatherer.
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Post  sanderson 9/20/2022, 2:37 pm

Two things to keep in mind. Water and nutrients from the soil (our Mel's Mix) only travels in one direction, from the roots to the tips of the leaves and fruit. Energy/sugar from photosynthesis occurring in the leaves only travels in one direction, from the leaves to the roots.

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Post  OhioGardener 9/20/2022, 3:02 pm

sanderson wrote:Two things to keep in mind.  Water and nutrients from the soil (our Mel's Mix) only travels in one direction, from the roots to the tips of the leaves and fruit.  Energy/sugar from photosynthesis occurring in the leaves only travels in one direction, from the leaves to the roots.

Someone has read Teaming with Nutrients by Jeff Lowenfels, haven't they?  Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy

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Post  sanderson 9/20/2022, 3:02 pm

One year I built a free-standing PVC trellis to surround the 2 storage totes because the vines take over the small patio.  It consisted of 4 bottom "plates", 4 vertical pieces, 4 top "plates) using eight (Cool 3-way fittings.  Nylon trellis netting was wrapped around all 4 sides. You can see the trellis to the left of the 2 rolling beds. Photo 6-20-20.

Sweet Potatoes - Page 9 Trelli37


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Post  sanderson 9/20/2022, 3:06 pm

OhioGardener wrote:. . . Someone has read Teaming with Nutrients by Jeff Lowenfels, haven't they?  Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy

Wink
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Guilty.  "Microbes" and "Nutrients" are within reach, as well as all of the SFG books.

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Post  Frost? 9/20/2022, 3:29 pm

sanderson wrote:One year I built a free-standing PVC trellis to surround the 2 storage totes because the vines take over the small patio.  It consisted of 4 bottom "plates", 4 vertical pieces, 4 top "plates) using eight (Cool 3-way fittings.  Nylon trellis netting was wrapped around all 4 sides. You can see the trellis to the left of the 2 rolling beds. Photo 6-20-20.

  Sort of cages them in doesn't it.  Seeing as I never do anything but water the SPs it wouldn't matter that I can't get to them because of the netting.  I may give that a whirl.  Thanks!
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Sweet Potatoes - Page 9 Empty sweet potato harvest - Nov 17 2022

Post  Frost? 11/17/2022, 10:14 pm

So today was the day, sort of impromptu.  Friends came by to tour the yard and were commenting on the grow beds.  As I showed them around I decided it's a fair time to check on the sweet potatoes; herewith the results.  Variable sizes, no monsters, in the tub they were grown in.



Sweet Potatoes - Page 9 Sweet_11

  My next question to those with experience; can I plant some of the pseudo "slips" I took out of the bin, and/or some of the immature taters to start another over winter crop?
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Post  sanderson 11/18/2022, 1:52 am

I tried replanting the "fingerlings" one year. While I did get some sweet potatoes, I also got these frankentaters from the slips. I would stick with slips instead of fingerlings. 10-26-2016

Sweet Potatoes - Page 9 Sweet_32

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Post  sanderson 11/18/2022, 2:10 am

This year's harvest. There's always roots that actually grow through the durable weed fabric. Big ones, perfect mediums, fingerlings, 2 big ones with cracks, some with beetle larvae (?) surface holes. Not bad for what I consider a lazy garden. Plant, water and harvest 7 months later.

Sweet Potatoes - Page 9 Sweet_35

Sweet Potatoes - Page 9 Sweet_34

Sweet Potatoes - Page 9 Sweet_33

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Post  Frost? 11/18/2022, 7:05 am

Sanderson - Thanks for the advice on the slips.  

  Nice haul on the sweet potatoes, interesting with the root network - is that MM?  I had quite a few wads of light rooting, but certainly no binding.  I was quite pleased with the "ease" of harvest, rummaging through the friable mix.
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Post  sanderson 11/19/2022, 12:05 am

I use MM in everything! Very Happy

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