The Q&A Archives: Sweet Potato Cracks

Question: My sweet potato vines were very lush and I had a lot of sweet potatoes but most of the potatoes had big wide open cracks on them, and many smaller ones. I put mushroom soil and super phosphate in the soil before planting. The mushroom soil does very well for everything else. I did grow red potatoes and they came out excellent. Why did I have the problem for the sweet potatoes?

Answer: Based on your description, it may be that the plants were attacked by root-knot nematodes. Here is a photograph: If the damage looked like that, you should seek out varieties resistant to root-knot nematodes such as Hernandez, Jewel or Travis. The most popular variety Centennial, unfortunately, is highly susceptible to it. You should also grow your sweet potatoes on at least a three year rotation. If the damage looked different, it may be that they were accidently damaged during harvest. Sweet potatoes are notoriously fragile and are easily damaged during digging or handling for storage.

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