Sweet potato

how many pounds did you get off your sweet potato plants and how many plants did you have

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I got zero pounds off about 15 plants. Best I can tell mice moved in once there was sufficient leaf cover. They destroyed all my sweet potatoes before I knew what happened. There were no signs of stress in the leaves. The bites and tunnels left by the mice then got attacked by slugs. First time I’ve ever lost an entire crop of something.

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I got zero pounds off 4 plants. But it did grow out of the fenced in veggie garden and invited a groundhog inside to see what else is there. Never planting sweet potatoes again…

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They are so good when they work though.

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I had some great leaf growth but the drought kept us from getting much of a harvest. Had some good years before this one so it was my turn .

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I got about 15 usable pounds off one plant for the same reason. I thought the bed was protected (with hardware cloth) but they got in through a hole in a rotten landscape timber. I cut off damaged portions - not all were damaged - and they healed over just fine. :blush:

I grow root veggies in pots usually and I’ve done that with sweet potatoes successfully. But all my pots were occupied with white potatoes, ginger, carrots and yacon. :thinking:

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Growing root vegetables in pots sounds very interesting Anne, what size pots do you usually use?

My first exwife chopped all the sweet potatoes and left the morning glories to thrive…so I got none that year from about 25 plants!

But generally I get 3 to 8 usable-sized sweet potatoes per plant in the garden.
I didn’t grow any in 2018.

Sweet potatoes are the one crop where almost all of the major pests, in my experience, are four-legged, furry creatures.


My worst year ever. I got nothing. Rabbitts and flooding rains ruined everything. Have a few plants to salvage for next year’s try.

I have 2 pot gardens. I’m not sure of the pot ‘sizes’ but the diameter of these pots varies from about 18" to 36". All the drainage holes are covered with 1/2" hardware cloth on the inside. Both of these pot gardens are a way to make use of sloped ground as well as providing a rodent free zone. They look poorly now - but remediation is my winter project. :blush:
(BTW my son who is a prosecuting atty for the city says, “Mom! Please DON’T say you have a pot garden.” LOL).
These had Yacon in them.
These have ginger, one parsnip (LOL) and 2 pots of carrots.
They are surrounded by chicken wire to hold in the leaves that suppress weeds between the pots, and the cardboard protects the pots from heating up too much from the summer sun. Both have irrigation (gravity feed from rain barrels).
You can grow carrots in a much smaller pot - like with a 10" diameter.
You can also use Rubbermaid totes like I have here but def would do some covering to reduce sun deterioration.


Wow those are some big pots! Thanks for the pictures; using cardboard to cover from the sun is a really great idea that I need to try out sometime. Funny stuff with your son lol; “container garden” is a more diplomatic term I suppose. :wink:

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I figure I averaged right around 3 lbs per plant this year, including some relatively less productive varieties that I really like for other reasons, having only minimally irrigated once or twice during the longest dry spells of the growing season, growing organically with very minimal inputs, and spacing plants at 1’ apart in the row with rows about 42" apart.

Here’s a photo from last year (which was probably close but not quite as good a yield as this year) showing what my yield looks like. I think my yield is very unexceptional, at least for my North Carolina Piedmont location. Sweet potatoes just seem to really like it here.


Those are some beautiful sweet potatoes! You also apparently do a much better job than I do at not cutting into them when digging! I see a few cut ones but not nearly as many as mine get. Nicely done.

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I plow them out with a basic middle buster/potato plow. Using the same plow I do slice some Irish potatoes, not too many but some, but hardly any sweet potatoes at all actually get sliced. I’d guess what look like cut ends in the photo are probably longer potatoes that got broken. And whether broken or sliced, it doesn’t matter very much with sweet potatoes, because unlike Irish potatoes, sweet potatoes will heal over those kind of wounds quite well after harvesting.


I grew some nice sweet potatoes this year, but they weren’t as productive as I’d like. Also, the blue ones I grew had the potatoes all over the place instead of neatly under the plant so that meant I cut a bunch digging around to find them. I got the blue ones from my father-in-law who didn’t know what type it was and the orange I got as slips from another gardner so I don’t know what they were either.

I was going to order some new varieties from Sand Hill and was wondering what you would recommend for a regular orange type that was productive and flavorful. Bush would be okay, but vinning is fine if the flavor is worth it. I think you’ve mentioned Porto Rico in another thread, but it looks like there are a bunch with that name.

Any suggestions from the Sand Hill list?

I think I have seen information about various strains of Porto Rico. I think there’s a vining strain and perhaps even strains with rather different color flesh, but I think what I grow is the most typical strain: bush type, leaves that are slightly larger and taller, pinkish-tan skin on the potatoes, pale orange flesh (definitely not “regular orange type”), still very moist flesh but very different from the baby-food texture of regular orange type varieties.

As far as recommendations, I haven’t ever ordered from Sand Hill. I have a friend that grows over 100 varieties of sweet potatoes, so after getting my initial start from George’s Plant Farm (tatorman.com – they have a pretty good selection; the 12 or so varieties they carry include a lot of my favorites), I’ve gotten my start of most of the other varieties I’ve tried from that friend. If I were to order from Sandhill, though, and if I were to limit myself to what I would call more or less regular orange types (which would probably exclude my top two overall recommendations: Porto Rico and Nancy Hall – what Sandhill calls “Bush Porto Rico” seems like the most standard, but you could ask them about that), I would definitely be interested in Allgold and Cordner’s Red. Evangeline is another orange fleshed variety I’d be interested in trying, but Sandhill doesn’t carry it, I think because of a patent and limited licensing.

Some other varieties I’d really like to try that Sandhill carries but that aren’t at all regular orange types are violetta, and Korean purple (white fleshed, purple skinned), Tennessee Top Mark (which might be the same as a variety I already grow and like quite well that I know as Tennessee Red)…

Gem and Scott Orange are two orange-fleshed varieties that I grow and like significantly better than the common orange fleshed varieties. Scott Orange might even be in the running for my favorite in its best years. It’s really amazing how the most commonly grown commercial varieties and the type of potato they represent is way down near the bottom of practically everyone’s list – and I’ve done multiple taste tests with lots of customers and friends to test this theory – at least as a plain baking potato. The common orange supermarket types do make the best chips for deep fat frying, in my experience, so they have their place.

Thanks for your suggestions. I just checked out George’s Plant Farm and that seems like a great place to get slips as well. I assume the Porto Rico you grow is from there? Also, have you ever tried the one listed as Diane?

I can’t remember for sure, but I think that’s where my start of Porto Rico came from. Are you interested in growing your own slips every year?

I haven’t tried Diane. I’m not a fan of the baby food (“yam”) types, though, not for baking, which is what my family most often does with sweet potatoes – besides the texture the baby food types don’t seem to have much less taste, too – and Diane looks like it might be one of those, but I don’t really know.

Yes, growing slips each year would be my plan. I don’t have a lot of space, but I’d basically keep 2-3 of each variety I keep and grow the slips. I’ve grown sweets the last 2 years and they have just been from slips I grew from potatoes given to me by other growers or the first time from an interesting sweet I bought at the grocery store. I just thought I’d try some named types this year, but for the cost I can’t imagine buying slips each year.

I don’t know what the blue ones I have are, but I’ll probably grow those again next year even though it was a pain that the actual potatoes were so spread around. They’re more long than fat, with some of them over a foot long and probably still about 3 inches wide. I like the taste quite a bit, although they aren’t overly sweet and are definitely pretty dry.