I’m hoping to grow some sweet potatoes in the high tunnel this year. Since I can’t very well let them run all over everything, and since some varieties set tubers very far from the crown and are hard to dig, I’m thinking I’ll do them in containers. I see on YouTube, etc. that some are having success with this. Wondering if anyone ln the list has tried it and how it works for you. Any tips on how to do it really well?
I’m planning to irrigate the pots with 1/4 soaker drip line. Probably I’ll do 10 or 15 gallon if I can scare enough of them up. Still wondering if theyll scramble all over anyway. Enlighten me.
Good tip, thanks. I guess the rectangular ones would fit together better than round pots anyway. Do you find you need to prune or manage them in any way, or just let ‘em rip? When I’ve grown them in the ground, they sprawl everywhere. I guess I’m not sure why they wouldn’t in pots
I’ve done them in containers/grow bags and it works out well in my zone 5 since the root zone can get a little warmer. It also extends my season since I can bring them in during those first few weeks of frosts in the fall. I’d like to try some okinawan ones that way.
Cool, thanks. I like the Asian types that are more on the starchy end. I bought a few different types from Asian markets, including an Okinawa. It didn’t sprout though. I understand many are treated with Im sprout inhibitors. I’m excited to try a Korean type I acquired. Also the sorta common red skinned white fleshed Japanese one, I think it might be called ‘satsuma’ and purple type grown in california. The purple ones are fairly long season types, so I’ve gotten low yields growing outside. Biggest issue has been their habit of making tubers sporadically at depths and distances far from the crown. They’re tasty though, IMO. Hoping pot culture in the high tunnel will be a big improvement in work to yield ratio.
I’ve used them as living mulch under my tomatoes like @FarmGirl-Z6A does under peppers. One of the tricks to keep the tubers in one place and get a crop faster in a short season is to periodically pick up the vines so they don’t root in. That way all the roots are at the base and he tubers form there and will fill faster than if the energy is spread out at multiple rooting points. You can also put down newspaper or cardboard under the vines to keep them from rooting. Even with my relatively long season it is easy to wind up with lots of skinny tubers when they root in all along the vines, something I’ve particularly found to be true of the blue/purple types.
Of the short vined, or bush, types, I’ve found Vardaman to be the most productive and very good tasting. I’ve also grown Bunch Porto Rico (often written as Bush Porto Rico), but it wasn’t very productive for me, although the taste was good.
I’m a little late with mine, but I’ve started some Garnet slips which will hopefully be long enough to plant out in a few weeks. It has good taste for the traditional orange fleshed ones, but I do wish I had gotten some blue ones to start as well since I really like those cut into fries and roasted.
The living mulch idea is a good one, thanks to you both. I’d been doing that some in a sort of Milpa style planting I’d been playing with- 3 sisters plus tomatoes, tomatillos, yacon. Shifting cultivation. It was lots of fun to play with, beautiful, productive. The sweet potatoes were one of the lowest yielding, probably THE lowest actually. Shifting gears to grow in the new high tunnel is going to help yields a lot, but I’m going to have to keep them more in check. What you’re saying about keeping the stems from rooting is helpful. I had my suspicions this was reducing useable crop. Part of my reason for inquiring on the forum.
I have had good success growing sweet potatoes in PNW. I have grown them in containers and they do really well. Here are my simple tips.
Try to get a slips for the first time, some varieties mature in 90 days and some need over 100+ days. Using grocery store potato to grow slips unless you know for sure the variety you’ll never know how long it takes. This is not an issue in the south or in California, but in PNW we get just enough duration suitable for sweet potato.
Pick a container that is at least one square foot, 14" deep 12". wide for a single slip. This way you get medium sized roots and not monsters (largest of mine was 3 lbs)
They like hot, like really really hot just like okra. I put them out in my front driveway (lol) and they relish soaking up all that high heat.
When You plant slips pay attention to number of root nodes, 2 is ideal and 3 is insurance, any more than that you will have many permanent market size tubers.
When you plant the slips, water them daily for 10 days this is very crucial for them to form storage roots. Mix your choice of organic granular a handful into the container and some compost.
Feed them fish emulsion once you start seeing some new growth, maximum 2-3 weeks and stop. Second month onward I throw a table spoon or two of langebinite which is potassium and magnesium bonus has sulphur too.
Some varieties make very pretty flowers. I think this means the plant is happy and making some nice tubers.
Harvest before frost or prolonged rainy season starts (PNW).
Besides that, plant one or two slips just for the leaves, the leaves and tender shoots are one of our favorite. We just chop and sauté them with eggs, bacon, onions or just about anything.
I have fail with sweet potatoes in container numerous of time. I would get amazing vine growth with no tuber. I think the problem is too much nitrogen in our case. What is everyone favorite soil mix recipe? TY!