Growing Sweet Potatoes for a Healthy Backyard Harvest

If you’re hoping to grow some sweet potatoes this year, start sprouting them now! Here’s how:

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I’m trying something new, and planting my sweet potatoes inside a raised container with mulch. The mulch (freshly chipped yard waste, really) is very loose which I have found that sweet potatoes like. I’m thinking that when they’re ready to harvest I should be able to just lift the black ring off. This should keep me from losing any potatoes in the soil, which sometimes happens when I plant them straight in ground. We’ll see!

Something similar is happening here, although it’s a small galvanized trashcan which had a bottom that rotted out and an enthusiastic Irish potato trying to sprout on the counter. The potatoes were really happy in the mulch and sprouted quickly.

I’d read somewhere that one can do exactly what you’re doing, but after the vines grow a little bit, add more mulch around the bottom of the vines. Keep doing that as the vines grow and apparently there’s supposed to be more potatoes grown in the deeper mulch. Not sure how high you can go with covering the vines, but the more potatoes the merrier!

How do you know when to harvest potatoes or sweet potatoes?

I definitely add more soil/mulch to potatoes. Haven’t with sweet potatoes, really, but it could work. (We use sweet potatoes as a green mulch/groundcover to hold down weeds, so it’s not always possible.)

Harvest potatoes when the leaves brown and die down. Sweet potatoes? I always struggle with this. I had one local braddah tell me to harvest when the plant flowers. But I’ve had plants flower after just a few weeks in the ground, so I’m not sure that’s the ticket.

Good to know about when to harvest the Irish potatoes. This is the first time I’ve grown them in either decades or forever, I’m not sure which.

It doesn’t look like much, just an old trash can I was gonna throw away with a throw away sprouted potato, but we will see if it works.

There’s a sweet potato vine that’s been growing in the hedge for at least four years that I know of, once a sweet potato has made potatoes, do they stay there? I’m sure they all tangled up in the hedge roots, would it be worthwhile to try and dig them up? I could always replant some of the vine in an easier to harvest place and see what type of sweet potato it is, I suppose.