Sweet Potato Vines—very Proliferic!

Sweet Potato Vines Expanding, August, 2015

Sweet Potato Vines Expanding, early August, 2015

In our area (zone 8b) Sweet potatoes are generally planted in Mid to late May and grow until just before the first frost (usually around mid-October). These plants need a large space to grow, as the vines can quickly overcome too small an area (note how the vines have grown over the raised bed edges, photo left). Exclusively for sweet potatoes, we set aside a space approximately 6 feet x 7 feet in the large raised bed. Be patient, allow the vines to grow as needed and the rewards are wonderful!

Before planting the sweet potatoes, make sure that the area will receive full sun from May through October (last year I planted in an area that was full sun from May until about September, so the harvest was not as large as it could have been (shaded too much in the last stages of growth from September until October).

flowers of the sweet potato

flowers of the sweet potato

An interesting note about sweet potatoes, they will bloom but do not make seeds—just flowers—and looking more carefully at the flower reveals the kinship of sweet potato’s relationship to common morning glories (think about it, they vine and the below ground parts are very similar—with the exception that sweet potatoes have fantastic flavor (as well as being loaded with both macro-nutrients and micro-nutrients!).

Plant, watch grow, then harvest and enjoy!

 

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