The Q&A Archives: Propagating Sweet Potatoes

Question: Do you have information on sweet potato propagation (i.e. soil, planting instructions, cultivation and harvesting)? Ben Hamburg La, Valle, WI

Answer: Like most other warmth-loving vegetables, well-drained, rich soil and full sun are required. They are seldom bothered by pests or disease. Choose a hardy variety, such as 'Georgia Jet' (offered by Burpee). Plant the slips in ridges 8"-15" high, spaced 3'-4' apart. Space the plants 12"-18" apart in the ridged rows. Plants need 3/4" of water/week when young, and more as they mature. Too much water during a dry period will cause the roots to split. Hold off watering during the two weeks before harvest. Harvest small roots anytime, or wait til they are full grown. Dig them before frost, taking care not to damage them. Cure them in a warm, humid location for 10 days, and store them at 55 degrees at high humidity (40 % or more). Enjoy that sweet potato pie-- my favorite!

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