I ordered some sweet potato slips from an online company. Unfortunately they never arrived. I’d rather not mention the company name until I get the problem resolved. Or not.
As an alternative, I went to Lowe’s and picked up a nine pack of Beauregard sweet potato plants. I’ve never grown sweet potatoes – I’ve rarely even eaten them – but they’re a traditional summertime southern crop. What the heck.
As you can see from the photo my backyard is not heavily overgrown with grass. After laying out a 4’x16′ bed I lightly cultivated and pulled most of the weeds. I’ll depend on a cardboard mulch to take care of the rest.
Cultivating talcum powder sand isn’t exactly hard work—but watering it is! For a fun experiment (if you don’t live around here) get some talcum powder and put it in a dish. Sprinkle a little water on top. Does it soak in? I didn’t think so.
Here’s how I did it. I dug a trench with a cultivator, filled it with water, and cultivated again. Repeat, over and over. The water just puddles on top of the soil unless you stir it in. Once the soil and water were mixed I added a cardboard and log mulch to keep the water from evaporating too fast.
What spacing to use? The little plastic thing that came with the plants suggests 12”. An online source suggests 9”, with 32” between rows. Since my bed is four feet wide (until the grass moves back in) I punched the holes 9” apart. I dug each planting hole with a stream of water from the hose, and stuffed the plant in the resulting puddle. I don’t need a trowel.
I also threw a handful of worm castings in each hole to get the plants off to a quick start (I’ll talk about my red worms some other time). I checked online to see how much fertilizer sweet potatoes need – and it doesn’t seem like they need much. I’m going to try growing them with nothing added except the worm castings. We’ll see how they do.
One thing that I forgot to mention – something you always need to do when planting. Pray. It really does help.
Here’s a close-up of a sweet potato plant.