Friday, 12 June 2015

Planting Sweet Potatoes

I have been pondering for a while now where to grow the Sweet Potato plants I have raised from slips. The plants were big enough to go into their final growing position, so a decision had to be made.

Everything I have read tells me that Sweet Potatoes need as much sunlight as they can get, and there are not many places in my garden that get as much sun as they would like. Furthermore, Sweet Potatoes need plenty of room ,and they are not going to do well in a small container like those in which I grow "ordinary" potatoes.

Finally, I decided on this:

It is the bottom half of an old compost bin, which got squashed by a fence that blew over in a storm. It is just a ring - a container with no base. It has a diameter of 70cm. For several years now it has lived at the bottom of the garden, in a very shady area which is no good for growing anything, and it has served as a receptacle for storing fallen leaves (used for making Leaf Mould). I have relocated it. This was no mean task, because I had to empty it first.

So there it is in its new location, sandwiched between the fence and the Salads bed. Although it won't be in full sun all day it will get a reasonable amount of light. I have put back into it most of the decomposed leaf material, but I have mixed into that a load of composted stable manure in which some of my early potatoes were until recently growing. I also added a handful of Growmore multi-purpose fertiliser.

Into this container have gone three Sweet Potato plants (I have 2 more in reserve). To get them off to a good start I watered the compost very thoroughly, and covered the plants with a plastic cloche. This cloche will only be big enough for the first couple of weeks, but after that presumably the weather will have warmed up a bit more, and the plants will manage without it.

So let's see what happens. I suspect they will only do well if we have a really hot Summer - so it doesn't bode well at present!

P.S. Following advice found on the internet, I planted the Sweet Potatoes at a sharp angle (less than 45 degrees). Apparently this means that the stems will be in contact with the soil and will form roots wherever they touch.


  1. Good luck. I really look forward to see how they grow for you. Many people mistakenly believe that they need too much heat to grow here, but they do pretty well. I often say I have a cool summer, but the reality is it is cool for the eastern US. Compared to the UK we are warm. A black pot seems like the best bet though. That ought to heat them up well.

  2. Your sweet potato slips are looking so healthy! I'm just hardening mine off and plan to plant them out early next week. One or two leaves from them have browned a bit & I'm hoping that they perk up once they get planted into a nice, roomy container.

  3. I look forward to seeing how your sweet potatoes do in containers. Summer has to come and you will no doubt have a good harvest.

  4. Ooh, this is exciting. I'd like to grow sweet potatoes some time. Good luck.

  5. Such a great idea, I hope your method is successful! I've never even considered growing sweet potatoes, even though I eat them several times a week! Fingers crossed for plenty of sunshine! x


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