The Q&A Archives: growing sweet potato

Question: How do you grow and take care of sweet potato plants and is it to late to put them in the garden.I live in growing zone 7.I have the Beauregard variety from Home Depot,I have 6 plants is that to many for a medium garden? I have room for them.

Answer: Beauregard (100 days to harvest, light purple skin, dark orange flesh, extremely high yielder from Louisiana State University) is an excellent choice. Set the plants 12 to 18 inches apart. Because the vines of spreading varieties need a great deal of space, allow at least 3 to 4 feet between rows.

Once the vines spread to cover the ground, little weeding is required. Irrigate if an extended drought occurs.

Dig the main crop of sweet potatoes around the time of the first frost in the fall. Use a spading fork or stout shovel and be careful not to bruise, cut or otherwise damage the roots.

Ideally, the roots should be allowed to dry on the ground for 2 to 3 hours, then placed in a warm room for curing (85?F and 85 percent humidity (if possible) for 10 to 14 days and then stored in a cool (55?F) location. Sweet potatoes should be handled as little as possible to avoid scuffing and bruising. For best quality, use the potatoes as soon as possible after they have been stored.

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