SlideShare a Scribd company logo
Growing Sweet Potatoes from
Start to Finish
How to grow your own sweet potato slips, plant
them, grow healthy crops and harvest good
yields. How to select suitable roots for growing
next year’s slips. How to cure and store roots for
top quality and minimal losses.
©Pam Dawling 2016
Author of Sustainable Market Farming
www.sustainablemarketfarming.com
www.facebook.com/SustainableMarketFarming
What’s in this presentation
• Intro and encouragement
• Grow your own sweet potato slips
– Twin Oaks method – Slips-in-flats
– The Boutard single node method
– Traditional bedding technique (Sand Hill)
• Crop requirements
• Planting out
• Sweet potato development
• Pests, afflictions and diseases
• Harvest
• Selecting stock for next year’s slips
• Plant a cover crop
• Curing
• Storing
• Resources
Twin Oaks Community Gardens
Well grown and cured, sweet potatoes store well and are a good market
or CSA crop for late fall, winter, or the early spring “Hungry Gap”. They
reach their peak in flavor during January and February. One baked
sweet potato of 114gm (4 oz) has 185% the RDA of vitamin A, 28% the
RDA of Vitamin C, 100% of vitamin E, lots of anti-oxidants, and 160
calories, none from fat.
Photo
Brittany
Lewis
Sweet potatoes are not yams!
• Sweet potatoes are related to morning glory, in
the genus Ipomoea. They are not yams, even
though they are often called yams! True yams
are a tropical species of tuber (genus
Dioscorea). Sweet potatoes are tuberous roots,
and will not even cross with yams.
• Unlike white potatoes, which have the annual
sequence of vegetative growth, flowering and
dying back, sweet potato plants continue
growing as long as the weather is warm
enough.
• Modern varieties grow to a good size in as little
as 90 days, so they are not just for the South!
The further north you are, the longer the
daylight at midsummer and the more
photosynthesizing the plants can do.
• Fitting sweet potatoes into a rotation is easy
because it is unlikely that you are growing
anything else in that family.
Sweet potato flower.
Photo Wikimedia
Commons
Encouragement
• You can provide a long-keeping crop of delicious roots for filling those
CSA bags at the end of the year, or for sale in late fall and winter. At
Twin Oaks we aim to grow enough to supply us from Nov to May.
• They do not need lots of organic matter, or high fertility levels.
• There is time the winter before planting them to grow a mature cover
crop mix including legumes to the flowering stage.
• Sweet potatoes fit easily into the crop schedule. Slips are started
after the first flush of seed-starting, and grow with little attention.
• Planting out comes later than most spring crops.
• They thrive in hot weather and are fairly drought-tolerant .
• After vining they need little care during the summer (apart from
irrigation) until harvest.
Photo Nina Gentle
Understanding sweet potato growth
• Regardless of how early in the
season you plant out your sweet
potatoes, they will not make
flowers earlier, or start making
tubers sooner.
• Both flower and tuber initiation
are triggered by day length. Each
variety has its own internal clock.
• Don’t plant them out until it is
good and warm! It can only stunt
their growth, never speed it up!
Hoophouses can help provide
warmer conditions in cooler
climates.
• I usually reckon on the first month
after planting being focused on
root growth, the next month on
vines and the rest on roots.
Sweet potato at the vining stage.
Photo Nina Gentle
Heat is important
Photo
Bridget
Aleshire
Forget about
climate zones –
they are about
winter-hardiness
of perennials.
Sweet potato
growing is all
about warmth
and light.
• Growing Degree Days (heat units) determine success, not the number of
days from planting. Early varieties take 1200 GDDs to grow a good crop.
• To calculate GDDs, take the day's high temperature (max) and the day's low
temperature (min) and add them together. Divide by 2 and subtract 55.
• For a max of 90F, min of 70F, you get 25 GDDs - just about perfect.
90+70=160. 160/2=80. 80-55=25. At 25 GDDs a day, you theoretically only
need about 48 days to get a crop. There are some other limits to daily plant
growth – the likely minimum for a decent crop is about 76 days.
The mystique of sweet potato slips
Photo Southern Exposure Seed
Exchange
• Sweet potatoes are not grown from seed or
from replanted roots, but from “slips,”
which are pieces of stem with a few leaves,
grown from a mother root.
• We used to buy bare-root sweet potato
slips for transplanting, believing growing
our own would be very tricky. Our desire to
have organic plants, plus a need to reduce
our expenses one year, pushed us into
growing our own.
• We had some problems initially, so I can
warn you about how not to do it. Now we
have a system we really like, and we’ve
found several advantages of home-grown
slips over purchased ones.
• Here I’ll cover 3 methods of growing slips.
Grow your own
Disadvantages of buying slips
1. Need to specify a shipping date
months ahead, then hope the
weather sprites are kind.
2. Jump-to when the plants
arrive, and get them all in the
ground pronto, and keep them
alive as best you can.
3. A certain amount of drooping
(transplant shock) is normal.
4. You might have late frosts,
spring droughts, or El Nino wet
springs, and climate change is
only adding to the uncertainty.
Advantages of home-grown slips
 Delay planting if that seems
wise;
 Plant them in stages rather than
all on one day.
 The transplants don’t wilt.
 Grow them big and plant them
with 3-5 nodes underground,
giving more chance of survival in
heat or frost.
 Keep some spares on hand to
replace casualties.
 The sturdy plants get off to a
strong start – this could be an
even bigger advantage further
north where the season of
warm-enough weather is on the
short side for a 90-120 day plant.
 Self-reliance.
Three methods of slip production
1. Twin Oaks slips in flats method
2. Boutard single node cutting method
3. Traditional outdoor bedding method (Sand Hill)
Planning ahead – how many to plant
Photo Kathryn Simmons
• Decide how much space you want to plant, or
how many pounds (tons?) you want to grow.
• One slip will produce a cluster of 4–10 roots,
each weighing 3–17 oz (80–500 g).
• Yield range is 2.5- 6.8 lbs (1-3kg) per plant,
276–805 lbs/1,000 ft² (14–40 kg/10 m²), or 6–
17.5 tons/ac (13.5–39 t/ha).
• Climate, spacing, growing season affect yield.
• Planting space is 6-18” in the row (wide
spacing gives more jumbo roots).
• We do 15" (38 cm) as we like to get some
jumbos. If unsure, try 12” (30 cm).
• Space between rows could be 32-48” (0.8-
1.2m). The vines become rampant.
• Calculate how many slips you’ll need and add
5-10%. For an acre you’ll need 15,000.
Selecting mother roots
• If you didn’t save seed roots from high-
yielding plants at harvest, choose small to
medium-sized roots of typical appearance
(no rat-tails!) from stored roots.
• Each root will produce 10-30 slips,
depending how much time you allow, but
regardless of size - no advantage in
selecting jumbos.
• If you are buying sweet potatoes, choose
a variety with a short number of days to
maturity if you are in the north.
Otherwise buy from a local grower.
• Failing that, buy slips one year, and save
your own roots for the next year’s slips.
• We save 60 roots for 600 plants.
• There are two tests we do before the
initial 2 weeks conditioning, to choose
good virus-free roots - allow an extra
10%.
Seed stock saved at harvest time.
Photo Nina Gentle
How not to sprout sweet potatoes
‼ My first big mistake – following directions written for much
further south, I tried to start growing slips in mid-January in
central Virginia. Dismal fight against nature!
‼ Another path not to take: the first time I tried this, I was puzzled
by talk of using cold frames. Ours were freezing cold at that time
of year. Indoor spaces are much warmer than outdoors!
‼ Next, I set up a soil warming cable in a cinder-block-enclosed bed
on the concrete floor of our greenhouse. This is how I discovered
most soil warming cables have thermostats set to switch off the
heat at 70F. I just couldn’t get the soil warm enough.
‼ No need to repeat these mistakes
‼ For small quantities of slips, it is possible to sprout the potatoes
half-submerged in water, either in trays of water,
or suspending a sweet potato impaled on toothpick s, resting
on the top of a glass of water. For larger quantities
I recommend our method, which I describe next.
Timing
• Figure out your ideal planting date and work back to find your starting date.
• Planting is usually done about 2 weeks after the last frost. You need settled
warm weather. The soil temperature should reach at least 65F at 4” deep on
4 consecutive days – don’t rush into planting too early.
• Plants set out too early will struggle with skin fungi, and give uneven yields.
• We plant May 10, between pepper and okra & watermelon transplanting.
• It takes 7-8 weeks to grow the slips using our method, and the roots
produce more slips if conditioned for 2 weeks (or even 4), before you start
to grow slips. So start 10-12 weeks before your planting date. We start 3/4.
Testing
1. Test the roots in a bucket of water – the ones that float are said to
yield more and produce better flavored roots.
2. Test for viral streaking, (color breaks or chimeras) where paler spots
or radial streaks appear in the flesh. Discard roots with pale spots or
streaks wider than a pencil lead.
3. Cut a thin slice from the distal end of each root – that’s the stringy
root end, opposite the end that was attached to the plant stem. All
the sprouts will grow from the stem end, so don’t cut there!
Photo Southern Exposure
Seed Exchange
 If you can’t tell the difference between the ends,
ignore this step. Plan to propagate your own slips
for just 2 or 3 years (to keep the virus load low).
 If you grow a small crop, you could keep the slips
from each root separate. Before planting, cut up
the mother roots, discard slips from streaked roots.
 An option for commercial growers is to check some,
which become your seed stock, and are planted in a
different plot from the untested market stock.
Conditioning
• Put the chosen roots in flats, boxes or
trays, without soil, in a warm, moist,
light place for 2-4 weeks.
• Ideal conditions are 75-85F, 95%
humidity.
• This can double or triple the number of
sprouts the root will produce in a
timely manner.
• We use our germinating chamber,
which is an old glass door refrigerator
heated by an incandescent light bulb.
• Conditioning after testing allows the
cut surfaces to heal before they are
covered by compost.
• The environment for sprouting the
roots is similar, so you can probably use
the same location.
Photo Small Farm Central
Sweet Potato Plan 2016
Here’s the first part of our slip-growing worksheet
Sprouting
Our germination chamber.
Photo Kathryn Simmons
•
• Set up a place with light, humidity and
ventilation at 75°F–85°F (24°C—29°C) and 12"
(30 cm) of headroom.
• Plant the selected roots flat, almost touching, in
free-draining potting compost in boxes or crates.
The tubers do not need to be fully covered with
soil. Water the boxes and put them to sprout.
• We use our ex-fridge germinator. Using boxes is
much more manageable than having the roots
loose in a big cold frame. Insulated boxes could
set on a bench at a decent working height, with
lights or heat lamps over them.
• Keep the compost damp. If your planting
medium is without nutrients, feed occasionally
with some kind of liquid feed.
Cutting slips
Cut slips
Photo Kathryn Simmons
• After 5-7 days, the roots begin to produce slips.
• When the slips are 6-12” tall with 4-6 leaves, cut
daily from the tuber.
• I tie them in rubber bands and set them in water.
• Some people twist the slips from the roots, but this
can transfer diseases by including a piece of the root
• The slips grow more roots while they are in water
for several days, which seems to be an advantage.
• Once a week I spot (plant) the oldest, most vigorous
slips (with good roots) into 4" (10-cm) deep wood
flats filled with compost.
• The spotted flats need good light in a frost-free
greenhouse and sufficient water.
• If you are 2 weeks shy of your planting date and
short of slips, you can take cuttings from the first
flats of slips.
• The slips planted in flats become very sturdy,
• This system allows for flexibility about planting
dates, and a longer slip-cutting season.
• 10 days before planting, start to harden off the flats.
I learned the slips-in-flats
method from Hiu
Newcomb of Potomac
Vegetable Farms, in the
Experienced Organic
Farmers’ Network run by
SSAWG some years back.
Here’s the second part
Newly spotted out slips
Photo Kathryn Simmons
• K
Sweet potato slips ready to plant out
Photo Kathryn Simmons
Many growers have success with slips with few or no roots, but we like a
good root system. More important than root size is keeping newly
transplanted slips well watered.
Second method of slip production
Both methods start at the same time, planting roots in damp compost
in a warm greenhouse
Advantages of the Boutard single
node cutting method, learned from
John Hart of Cornell
• Fewer “mother roots” are needed.
10-20% compared to my method.
• Smaller plants save on greenhouse
space
• Only 18 days between cutting
nodes and planting in the field.
• Smaller plants as plugs experience
less transplanting shock.
• Root production is concentrated –
from a single node rather than
several.
Drawbacks with my version
of the traditional method
• The number of slips from
one tuber is limited
• Some varieties are
meager in providing slips
• A lot of warm space is
needed to grow the slips,
at a time when warm
space is at a premium.
• The process takes from
early March to mid-May
The Boutard single node cutting method
• Anthony Boutard and
Caroline Boutard Hunt wrote
an article about single node
sweet potato propagation in
Growing for Market in
March 2015. They farm in
Oregon and New York
respectively.
• Anthony is the author of
Beautiful Corn: America’s
Original Grain from Seed to
Plate, New Society
Publishers.
• As well as articles for
Growing for Market, he has
also written for Art of
Eating. Single node cutting growing roots at 3 days.
Photo Anthony Boutard
To prepare single node cuttings
1. Take a shoot from the mother tuber and
cut off about ¼”(6mm) above a leaf node
(swollen point where the leaf emerges).
2. In the leaf axil is a bud which will grow a
shoot.
3. Just below the bud is a ring of cells that
can grow roots.
4. Trim back the leaf stem, or leave the leaf
on – your choice.
5. Make the second, lower, cut just above
the next node down. Make several
cuttings from one slip.
6. If the cutting is too tall to fit your cell
plugs, cut more off the lower end.
7. Push the lower end of the shoot cutting at
an angle into the soil, creating an even V
with the leaf stem. The new shoot will
then grow upwards easily.
8. Keep the trays warm and moist
50-cell plug flats work well.
3 day old single node cuttings
Photo Anthony Boutard
Some benefits of single node cuttings
 This method can also be used to get
more plants from purchased cut slips.
 Plant the purchased slips in the
greenhouse and grow them on until
you can make cuttings.
 Very helpful if you are growing a rare
heirloom with limited propagation
material available.
 This method buys time if the weather
turns bad and you need to back pedal
on your planting out date.
Just 16 days after striking the cuttings,
the plants in this photo have made
impressive root growth.
Photo Anthony Boutard
Plant out after 18 days
• These plants, 18 days after
starting the cuttings, are
ready to plant in the field.
Photo Anthony Boutard
• Delaying planting for 10
days or so should not be a
problem.
• Plant out into well-
prepared damp soil, with
drip tape in place.
• Plugs are very quick and
easy to plant.
Third method of slip production
Sand Hill Preservation Center field bedding method
• They start field beds in late April or early May, their usual last frost date.
• The soil is still too cold for tender sweet potato slips, but they prepare beds
by digging a wide trench several inches deep.
• They set the mother roots in it, cover with peat moss and wet it down.
• They cover the beds with clear plastic and wait several weeks.
• If they have warm weather the roots start sending up slips in about 20 days.
• Cool, cloudy weather means added time, fewer slips - parent roots can rot.
• Glenn says: “Slips set out when the weather is very warm will outgrow and
out-produce ones set out even as much as a month earlier. A slip set out in
cold soil will many times become stunted and not produce as large a yield. I
typically do not get my slips planted until June 20 to June 25.”
• The sweet potatoes are almost all ready to harvest by mid- to late
September.
Glenn and Linda Drowns at the Sand Hill Preservation Center
are genetic preservationists in Iowa. They sell small quantities
of 225 varieties of sweet potatoes, and have developed a
version of field bedding of slips that works well for them.
Crop requirements
• Heat is vital.
• Sweet potatoes prefer loose, well-drained soil with pH of 5.8-6.2.
They will tolerate pH from 4.5-7.5.
• Enough potassium (K) is important for drought-resistance, but too
much K makes them taste bitter.
• Sweet potatoes do not benefit from high nitrogen (N). They can get
plenty from high-biomass cover crops, organic mulch, and soil life.
• As with other crops, a 3 or more year rotation helps control disease.
• Once they are established, sweet potatoes are fairly drought-
tolerant.
• Critical times to maintain sufficient moisture are after transplanting
and for at least the first 20-40 days while roots are developing.
Photo Nina Gentle
Tips to increase yields
Photo Bridget Aleshire
• Compacted, heavy, lumpy soils
can result in misshapen,
undersized tubers.
• If you have clay soil or drainage
problems, work in lots of
compost and make raised beds
or ridges 8 to 12 inches high.
Ridges help heat up the soil and
reduce flood damage
• Black plastic warms the soil and
increases growth. Plastic set out
3 weeks before planting warms
the soil considerably.
• You can gain GDDs (heat units)
in a cold climate, by planting
inside a hoophouse or low
tunnel covered in clear plastic.
Ventilate in hot weather. Get 20
GDDs a day, not 5.
Planting out
• We like to do 2 plantings a week
apart, using the older slips first, and
then make a 3rd visit after another
week to fill any gaps.
• It’s better to wait for the slips to grow
4 leaves or more before planting,
rather than rush them outside.
• For big potatoes, plant the slip
vertically. For average size roots but
larger crops, plant horizontally 2-3”
deep.
• Have 3-5 leaf nodes underground and
only the tips above the ground – this
gives the plants a 2nd chance if frost
strikes.
• If you are planting in hot dry weather,
water the soil first, and keep the roots
enclosed in damp or wet compost as
you plant.
Photo Bridget Aleshire
Development
• The first month or so after transplanting is
the root development stage. Roots can go 8’
deep in 40 days. Don’t be alarmed at the lack
of above-ground action. Give 1” water/week,
and cultivate to remove weeds.
• The second month or so is the vine growth
stage. The roots begin to store starch and
sugar close to the stem base. Cultivate until
vines cover the ground, after which very little
weeding will be needed.
• During the last month of growth for that
variety (3rd or 4th month), the potatoes
develop.
• Make sure you dig them up before the soil
temperature gets down to 55F –the week of
the average first fall frost is about right.
• Most varieties take 90–110 days from
planting out to reach a good size, provided
the weather is warm enough.
Photo by Bridget Aleshire
Pest mammals
• Deer eat the plants at all stages,
including digging out the roots in
the fall. Dogs, fences and guns are
the 3 most effective methods of
deer control. The plants can be
covered with row cover or plastic
net for the growing season. Motion-
sensor sprayers work well if
maintained.
• Rabbits eat the foliage. Plant the
slips on black plastic to hold back
weeds, then put wire hoops over
the rows and cover with row cover
for 3-4 weeks while the plants are
young. Even after the plants are
large rabbits can cause substantial
losses.
• Groundhogs dig and eat the roots.
They can be trapped with baits of
fruit.
Sweet potatoes grazed by
deer. Photo Nina Gentle
More pest mammals
• Pocket Gophers search out sweet potatoes to eat.
Their mounds may be hidden under the foliage and
the plants may survive as they only eat the larger
roots, leaving no crop.
• Voles move in from grassy areas to live under the
mulch and feed as fast as the roots form. They eat the
roots from the top down leaving the outer shell in the
soil where they have feasted. Cats are the best control.
• Rats love the roots. Cats or dogs are the best method
to remove them from the area.
• Field Mice build nests under black
plastic and eat the roots emerging
from the ground.
Afflictions
Sweet potatoes are often relatively problem-free, but here are a few
afflictions, and the reasons they happen, so you know what to do
differently next year:
• Round chunky roots, low yield, purple color: Planted too early, too
cold.
• Low yield: Flooded or crusted soil 6-7 weeks after planting? Planted
too early?
• Rough irregular shaped roots: Heavy clay soils or OM above 2%.
• Rattails: thin, tough, tubers caused by hot dry weather, insufficient
water.
• Souring: tissue breakdown caused by
poor soil aeration; for instance, flooding.
• Water blisters: Small whitish bumps around
the lenticels/breathing holes - wet soil.
• Cracking: Uneven water supply or too much late-season water.
• Blister: small raised bumps appearing several months into storage –
boron deficiency.
• Fine hairline cracks: also boron deficiency.
• Long, slender malformed roots, reduced yield: Potassium deficiency.
 North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission commercial growing page
Souring
Photo
NC
Sweet
Potato
Comm.
Diseases
• Brownish skin patches, worse in wet years. Stored roots shrivel.
Scurf fungus, Monilochaetes infuscans, more likely if too much
compost was used.
• Metallic black surface lesions, maybe covering most of the root:
black rot fungus, Certocystis fimbriata. Internal decay is not deep,
but the fungus may impart a bitter flavor;
• Sunken brown lesions that may encircle the root: ring rot, Pythium
fungus;
• Sunken lesions that dry and may fall out: Circular Spot, Sclerotium
rolfsii. The underlying tissue may taste bitter;
Ring Rot. Photo North
Carolina Sweet Potato
Commission
More diseases
• Hard, dry, black, sunken spots developing in harvest wounds:
Fusarium. Spots may become larger than 2” (5 cm) diameter, but
damage is not deep.
• Pitting: Soil rot or soil pox fungus in the presence of water stress.
Roots will be small and malformed.
• Streptomyces root rot bacterium causes a similar rot;
• Fine or coarse irregular cracks, browning of the surface; dry, corky,
dark-colored clumps of tissue scattered throughout the flesh,
becoming worse if roots are stored warmer than 60°F (16°C): russet-
crack/internal cork, feathery mottle virus (yellow feathery patterns
of leaves). Do not use as seed stock.
Feathery Mottle/internal
cork. Photo North Carolina
Sweet Potato Commission
When to harvest
• Usually sweet potatoes are harvested in the week that the first frost
typically occurs in your region.
• Aim to harvest on a mild day, above 50°F (10°C), to avoid chilling injury
• Don’t wait till soil temperatures get below 55°F.
• If frost strikes, waste no time – get them harvested within a few days.
• If the days are warm, a couple of light frosts will not harm your crop.
Despite myths, there is no toxin in frozen leaves going down into the roots.
• Cold wet soil can quickly rot sweet potatoes. Cold injury can ruin the crop -
roots without leaf cover are exposed to cold air temperatures, and have lost
their method of pulling water up out of the soil.
• In drought, irrigate the field before harvest, to avoid scratching the skin with
chunks of dry soil.
Photo Kathryn
Simmons
How to harvest
Photo Kathryn
Simmons
• Remove the vines from the plants to be harvested that day. If there is more
than one day’s digging, leave intact vines to protect the rest of the crop. Clip
the vines, leaving stumps to show where to dig.
• Roll the vines into the gaps between the rows –if you have close rows you
may need to roll the vines further away. Digging forks can be useful tools for
this job.
• Mowing isn’t recommended, as the roots sometimes stick up out of the
ground.
• Mechanical harvesting is done with a modified disk or moldboard plow with
a spiral attachment. Potato diggers usually do too much damage on sweet
potatoes.
• We dig ours by hand
Dig the potatoes
• Using digging forks, carefully dig up the
roots, which grow in the ground in a
bunch-of-bananas shape. Begin digging
12-18” from the center of the plant to
avoid damaging them. Go straight
down about 6”, then angle toward the
center and gently lift the potatoes out
of the ground.
• It’s important not to drop, throw or in
any other way bruise the roots.
• Avoid any abrasion of the skin, which is
very fragile at this stage. This is the
reason for the recommendation to
irrigate before harvest if the soil is very
dry.
• Set the potatoes out beside the spot
they’ve grown, one clump per plant, so
it’s easy to identify the most productive
plants, for seed stock.
Photo Nina Gentle
Let damp tubers dry
Let the tubers dry in the sun for up to an hour, unless the weather is
unsuitable.
Don’t leave roots exposed to temperatures higher than 90°F for more
than ½ hour, or they get sun-scald.
And below 55°F, they’ll get chilling injury.
Photo Nina Gentle
Max 90F
Min 55F
Sorting and crating
Photo
Nina Gentle
1. If you want to grow your own slips next year, first select seed potatoes.
We grow several different kinds, and make sure not to mix roots from
different rows. See next slide.
2. Sort storable from damaged roots. Large open broken surfaces will cure
and can be stored, but any roots with soft wet damaged areas or deep
holes (whether from bugs or fork tines) will not store and should be
graded out, for composting or immediate use at home. We sort into
wood flats or plastic crates for curing and buckets for the “Use First” or
cull category.
Selecting seed potatoes
• Select the best: choose plants with a
high yield and no string (rat-tail)
roots.
• From these plants, choose medium
sized (1½” diameter) potatoes with
good shape and color.
• Don’t save jumbo potatoes for seed,
they’re harder to deal with, and will
not produce more or better crops.
Each potato produces about the
same number of slips (shoots)
regardless of size.
• Do not save for seed any roots with
disease symptoms. Damage due to
poor growing conditions can look
like a disease, but as it isn’t, it will
not carry over to the next crop.
• Save about one tuber per 10 slips
wanted.
Photo Nina Gentle
Plant a cover crop
• After harvest is complete, we disk the area and sow winter wheat
as a cover crop around Oct 25.
• It’s usually too late in the year to sow most leguminous cover
crops, or for oats.
• Here in zone 7, with an average first frost date of October 14, we
could sow wheat, winter rye and Austrian winter peas up till Nov
7; crimson clover or hairy vetch till Oct 14.
• Because sweet potatoes inhibit the formation of nitrogen
nodules, following with a legume may not be very successful.
• We choose winter wheat after the sweet potatoes, because in
our rotation, we will use that area the next year for spring white
potatoes in mid-March, and there is no time in spring for legumes
to grow to flowering or produce much nitrogen.
• Rye takes too long to break down early in the spring.
To wash or not to wash?
• We do not wash our potatoes. I expect the need depends on soil type.
We find most of the soil drops off during curing and storage.
• Anthony Boutard says: “we always wash the roots well before curing. I
hate handling and washing dirty roots in the winter. I have never had
significant shrinkage. Even broken roots skin up nicely during the
curing process. . . . So much easier to wash them on a sunny
September day . . . Washing is such an easy step when they are
freshly dug.”
• He adds “Appearance is not my prime concern. . . Listeria is a soil borne
bacterium. With the recent outbreaks I am making sure staff and I are
careful when handling food and soil together. ”
Washed white sweet potatoes.
Photo Anthony Boutard
Cure immediately
• Immediately after harvest, field drying, sorting and
crating, take the boxes of sweet potatoes into a warm,
damp basement or other indoor space to cure.
Photo Nina Gentle
Curing
Boxes of sweet potatoes curing with
battens between the layers of boxes.
Photo Nina Gentle
• Curing allows the skin to thicken, cuts to
heal, and some of the starches to
convert to sugars. Uncured “green”
sweet potatoes are not very sweet, and
are best used in dishes with other foods.
• Ideal conditions are 85-90°F, and 80-95%
humidity for 4-7 days. There also needs
to be some air flow and ventilation.
• Curing takes longer if conditions are less
than perfect. The length of the curing
period also varies with the dryness of
the soil just prior to harvest. We reckon
on 10-14 days.
• To test if curing is complete, rub two
sweet potatoes together. If the skins
scratch, they need to cure longer.
Tips for good curing
Temperature
 In the past we used our
greenhouse to cure sweet
potatoes, but it really is too hot
and sunny, and dry.
 Nowadays we use a basement
with the door to the adjoining
furnace room open.
 We stack our 4” deep flats of
roots on pallets, with wood
spacer bars between boxes in
each stack, to ensure air flow.
 We use box fans to improve the
airflow, and the basement
already has some natural
ventilation.
Humidity
 We get quite good
temperatures, but keeping
humidity up is difficult for us.
 We cover the flats with
newspaper to hold in some
moisture. Some people use
perforated plastic. Perhaps
white rowcover would work?
 We have also used domestic
humidifiers and we’ve tried
hanging strips of wet cloth
from the ceiling.
 The best result seems to come
from splashing water on the
concrete floor several times
each day.
Storage
• Ideal storage conditions for sweet potatoes are 55-60°F, 85-90% humidity,
with one air change each day. Above 60°F, shrinking and sprouting may
occur, and below 55°F, a permanent chilling injury (Hard Core) can happen.
The potatoes remain hard no matter how long you cook them, and are
useless. Do not ever let the temperature drop below 50°F.
• Sweet potatoes do not need to be in the dark. Dormancy is generally
broken by moisture and warmth, not daylight. Green sprouts are not toxic,
as are those of white potatoes.
• We use a rodent-proof “cage” in our basement. We stack the boxes directly
on top of each other and this seems to keep enough moisture in. This way,
assuming we had a good enough harvest, we can still have sweet potatoes
into May and early June.
Photo Nina Gentle
Resources
 ATTRA Sweet Potato: Organic production
www.attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/summaries/summary.php?pub=32
 North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission. The commercial growing page has lots of
information, including photos of problems: http://www.ncsweetpotatoes.com/sweet-
potato-industry/growing-sweet-potatoes-in-north-carolina/
 North Carolina State University, http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/hil/pdf/hil-23-c.pdf
Guidelines for Sweetpotato Seed Stock and Transplant Production
 Mississippi State University Commercial Sweet Potato Production in Mississippi
http://ageconsearch.umn.edu/bitstream/15785/1/rr99-005.pdf
 Clemson University Estimated costs and Returns for Sweet Potatoes
https://www.clemson.edu/extension/aes/budgets/melons_vegetables/swtpot6.pdf
 Islam, A. F. M. Saiful, C. Kubota, M. Takagaki, and T. Kozai. 2002. Sweetpotato growth and
yield from plug transplants of different volumes, planted intact or without roots. Crop Sci.
42:822-826.
https://dl.sciencesocieties.org/publications/cs/abstracts/42/3/822?access=0&view=pdf
 Somasundarum, K. and V. S. Santhosh Mithra. 2008. Madhuram: A simulation model for
sweet potato growth. World Jour. Agr. Sci. 4: 241-254. for more understanding of sweet
potato growth.
http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.415.4824&rep=rep1&type=pdf
 Sustainable Practices for Vegetable Production in the South, Dr Mary Peet:
https://www.amazon.com/Sustainable-Practices-Vegetable-Production-
South/dp/0941051552
More Resources
 Sweet Potato IPM (not organic, but includes good info on insect pests)
http://www.ipmcenters.org/pmsp/pdf/sesweetpotato.pdf
 Alabama Co-operative Extension Guide to Sweetpotato Production in Alabama
http://aces.edu/pubs/docs/A/ANR-0982/ANR-0982.pdf
 Alabama Co-operative Extension Harvesting and Curing Sweetpotatoes
http://www.aces.edu/pubs/docs/A/ANR-1111/ANR-1111.pdf
 University of Georgia Extension Commercial Sweet Potato Production
http://extension.uga.edu/publications/detail.cfm?number=B677
 Sweetpotato production in California http://anrcatalog.ucanr.edu/pdf/7237.pdf
 Anthony Boutard and Caroline Boutard Hunt wrote about single node sweet potato
propagation in Growing for Market in March 2015.
 Anthony Boutard is the author of Beautiful Corn: America’s Original Grain from Seed to Plate.
New Society Publishers
Suppliers of slips
 Sand Hill Preservation Center, Iowa. Heirlooms, 225 Varieties. Some limits on how many you
can buy. www.sandhillpreservation.com/pages/sweetpotato_catalog.html
 Steele Plant Co, Slips in small and large quantities, good prices, great service. 10 varieties
http://www.sweetpotatoplant.com/
 Southern Exposure Seed Exchange 14 varieties, all organic.
http://www.southernexposure.com
 This slideshow and many other of my presentations, is available on www.slideshare.net
Growing Sweet Potatoes from
Start to Finish
How to grow your own sweet potato slips, plant
them, grow healthy crops and harvest good
yields. How to select suitable roots for growing
next year’s slips. How to cure and store roots for
top quality and minimal losses.
©Pam Dawling 2016
Author of Sustainable Market Farming
www.sustainablemarketfarming.com
www.facebook.com/SustainableMarketFarming

More Related Content

What's hot

Plant propagation methodologies
Plant propagation methodologiesPlant propagation methodologies
Plant propagation methodologies
Debbie-Ann Hall
 
classification of vegetable.pptx
classification of vegetable.pptxclassification of vegetable.pptx
classification of vegetable.pptx
Mata Gurji College, Fatehgarh Sahib
 
CULTIVO DE HORTALIZAS EN INVERNADERO.pptx
CULTIVO DE HORTALIZAS EN INVERNADERO.pptxCULTIVO DE HORTALIZAS EN INVERNADERO.pptx
CULTIVO DE HORTALIZAS EN INVERNADERO.pptx
FiorellaFEspejo
 
COMMERCIAL VARIETIES AND HYBRIDS IN FRENCH BEAN
COMMERCIAL  VARIETIES AND HYBRIDS IN FRENCH BEANCOMMERCIAL  VARIETIES AND HYBRIDS IN FRENCH BEAN
COMMERCIAL VARIETIES AND HYBRIDS IN FRENCH BEAN
Adhiyamaan Raj
 
Como plantar, cuidar y multiplicar rosas
Como plantar, cuidar y multiplicar rosasComo plantar, cuidar y multiplicar rosas
Como plantar, cuidar y multiplicar rosas
Martha Urvina
 

What's hot (20)

Aonla ppt by pushpendra singh
Aonla ppt by pushpendra singhAonla ppt by pushpendra singh
Aonla ppt by pushpendra singh
 
Lettuce year round Pam Dawling
Lettuce year round Pam DawlingLettuce year round Pam Dawling
Lettuce year round Pam Dawling
 
Plant propagation methodologies
Plant propagation methodologiesPlant propagation methodologies
Plant propagation methodologies
 
classification of vegetable.pptx
classification of vegetable.pptxclassification of vegetable.pptx
classification of vegetable.pptx
 
Custard apple by pooja
Custard apple   by  poojaCustard apple   by  pooja
Custard apple by pooja
 
ORGANIC BUCKWHEAT CULTIVATION.pptx
ORGANIC BUCKWHEAT CULTIVATION.pptxORGANIC BUCKWHEAT CULTIVATION.pptx
ORGANIC BUCKWHEAT CULTIVATION.pptx
 
CULTIVO DE HORTALIZAS EN INVERNADERO.pptx
CULTIVO DE HORTALIZAS EN INVERNADERO.pptxCULTIVO DE HORTALIZAS EN INVERNADERO.pptx
CULTIVO DE HORTALIZAS EN INVERNADERO.pptx
 
Gomprena.pptx
Gomprena.pptxGomprena.pptx
Gomprena.pptx
 
Dolichos seed production
Dolichos seed productionDolichos seed production
Dolichos seed production
 
COMMERCIAL VARIETIES AND HYBRIDS IN FRENCH BEAN
COMMERCIAL  VARIETIES AND HYBRIDS IN FRENCH BEANCOMMERCIAL  VARIETIES AND HYBRIDS IN FRENCH BEAN
COMMERCIAL VARIETIES AND HYBRIDS IN FRENCH BEAN
 
Production of late fall, winter and early spring vegetable crops Pam Dawling
Production of late fall, winter and early spring vegetable crops Pam DawlingProduction of late fall, winter and early spring vegetable crops Pam Dawling
Production of late fall, winter and early spring vegetable crops Pam Dawling
 
Presentation on Cauliflower
Presentation on CauliflowerPresentation on Cauliflower
Presentation on Cauliflower
 
Crop planning 6 pg handout 2020 Pam Dawling
Crop planning 6 pg handout 2020 Pam DawlingCrop planning 6 pg handout 2020 Pam Dawling
Crop planning 6 pg handout 2020 Pam Dawling
 
Papaya production
Papaya productionPapaya production
Papaya production
 
Leafy vegetables seed production
Leafy vegetables seed production Leafy vegetables seed production
Leafy vegetables seed production
 
Radish
RadishRadish
Radish
 
Chrysanthemum production technology
Chrysanthemum production technologyChrysanthemum production technology
Chrysanthemum production technology
 
Pitahaya por Kelly Hernández
Pitahaya por Kelly Hernández Pitahaya por Kelly Hernández
Pitahaya por Kelly Hernández
 
Cucumber diseases A lecture on ToT training of FFS By Mr Allah Dad Khan Pro...
Cucumber diseases A lecture on  ToT training of FFS  By Mr Allah Dad Khan Pro...Cucumber diseases A lecture on  ToT training of FFS  By Mr Allah Dad Khan Pro...
Cucumber diseases A lecture on ToT training of FFS By Mr Allah Dad Khan Pro...
 
Como plantar, cuidar y multiplicar rosas
Como plantar, cuidar y multiplicar rosasComo plantar, cuidar y multiplicar rosas
Como plantar, cuidar y multiplicar rosas
 

Viewers also liked

Agriculture Slideshow
Agriculture SlideshowAgriculture Slideshow
Agriculture Slideshow
cheergalsal
 
The sweet potato project
The sweet potato projectThe sweet potato project
The sweet potato project
archathome
 
Cover crops for vegetable crops
Cover crops for vegetable cropsCover crops for vegetable crops
Cover crops for vegetable crops
jbgruver
 

Viewers also liked (20)

Cover crops for vegetable growers Pam Dawling
Cover crops for vegetable growers Pam DawlingCover crops for vegetable growers Pam Dawling
Cover crops for vegetable growers Pam Dawling
 
Intensive Vegetable Production on a Small Scale 2016 Pam Dawling SSAWG
Intensive Vegetable Production on a Small Scale 2016 Pam Dawling SSAWGIntensive Vegetable Production on a Small Scale 2016 Pam Dawling SSAWG
Intensive Vegetable Production on a Small Scale 2016 Pam Dawling SSAWG
 
Sustainable farming practices 2016 Pam Dawling
Sustainable farming practices 2016 Pam DawlingSustainable farming practices 2016 Pam Dawling
Sustainable farming practices 2016 Pam Dawling
 
Storage vegetables for off season sales 2017 90min Pam Dawling
Storage vegetables for off season sales 2017 90min Pam DawlingStorage vegetables for off season sales 2017 90min Pam Dawling
Storage vegetables for off season sales 2017 90min Pam Dawling
 
Diversify your vegetable crops 2017 90 mins Pam Dawling
Diversify your vegetable crops 2017 90 mins Pam DawlingDiversify your vegetable crops 2017 90 mins Pam Dawling
Diversify your vegetable crops 2017 90 mins Pam Dawling
 
Fall vegetable production 2016 Pam Dawling
Fall vegetable production 2016 Pam DawlingFall vegetable production 2016 Pam Dawling
Fall vegetable production 2016 Pam Dawling
 
Crop rotations for vegetables and cover crops 2014, Pam Dawling
Crop rotations for vegetables and cover crops 2014, Pam DawlingCrop rotations for vegetables and cover crops 2014, Pam Dawling
Crop rotations for vegetables and cover crops 2014, Pam Dawling
 
Crop planning for sustainable vegetable production 2016 Pam Dawling
Crop planning for sustainable vegetable production 2016 Pam DawlingCrop planning for sustainable vegetable production 2016 Pam Dawling
Crop planning for sustainable vegetable production 2016 Pam Dawling
 
Succession planting for continuous vegetable harvests 2015 Pam Dawling 90mins
Succession planting for continuous vegetable harvests 2015 Pam Dawling 90minsSuccession planting for continuous vegetable harvests 2015 Pam Dawling 90mins
Succession planting for continuous vegetable harvests 2015 Pam Dawling 90mins
 
Sweet potato
Sweet potatoSweet potato
Sweet potato
 
Evaluation of Sweet Potato Based on Agronomic Characters and Biochemical Cont...
Evaluation of Sweet Potato Based on Agronomic Characters and Biochemical Cont...Evaluation of Sweet Potato Based on Agronomic Characters and Biochemical Cont...
Evaluation of Sweet Potato Based on Agronomic Characters and Biochemical Cont...
 
Agriculture Slideshow
Agriculture SlideshowAgriculture Slideshow
Agriculture Slideshow
 
Evaluating the performance of improved sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas L. Lam) ...
Evaluating the performance of improved sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas L. Lam) ...Evaluating the performance of improved sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas L. Lam) ...
Evaluating the performance of improved sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas L. Lam) ...
 
The sweet potato project
The sweet potato projectThe sweet potato project
The sweet potato project
 
Pepper commodity profile-Chethan I N
Pepper commodity profile-Chethan I NPepper commodity profile-Chethan I N
Pepper commodity profile-Chethan I N
 
effects of extreme cold
effects of extreme coldeffects of extreme cold
effects of extreme cold
 
Cover crops for vegetable crops
Cover crops for vegetable cropsCover crops for vegetable crops
Cover crops for vegetable crops
 
1002 Super high- yielding rice cultivation techniques in cold region: Heilong...
1002 Super high- yielding rice cultivation techniques in cold region: Heilong...1002 Super high- yielding rice cultivation techniques in cold region: Heilong...
1002 Super high- yielding rice cultivation techniques in cold region: Heilong...
 
What Is Reishi?
What Is Reishi?What Is Reishi?
What Is Reishi?
 
mushroom production plant which is producing good quality mushroom.
mushroom production plant which is producing good quality mushroom.mushroom production plant which is producing good quality mushroom.
mushroom production plant which is producing good quality mushroom.
 

Similar to Growing sweet potatoes from start to finish Pam Dawling 2016

Organic Strawberries with Paul & Sandy Arnold
Organic Strawberries with Paul & Sandy ArnoldOrganic Strawberries with Paul & Sandy Arnold
Organic Strawberries with Paul & Sandy Arnold
acornorganic
 

Similar to Growing sweet potatoes from start to finish Pam Dawling 2016 (20)

Growing sweet potatoes from start to finish 2020 Pam Dawling
Growing sweet potatoes from start to finish 2020 Pam DawlingGrowing sweet potatoes from start to finish 2020 Pam Dawling
Growing sweet potatoes from start to finish 2020 Pam Dawling
 
Growing Lettuce Year Round 90 mins 2024.pdf
Growing Lettuce Year Round 90 mins 2024.pdfGrowing Lettuce Year Round 90 mins 2024.pdf
Growing Lettuce Year Round 90 mins 2024.pdf
 
Annual Strawberry Production
Annual Strawberry ProductionAnnual Strawberry Production
Annual Strawberry Production
 
Succession planting 2019 pam dawling
Succession planting 2019 pam dawlingSuccession planting 2019 pam dawling
Succession planting 2019 pam dawling
 
CAFF - Extend Your Growing Season into Colder Weather with High Tunnels.pdf
CAFF - Extend Your Growing Season into Colder Weather with High Tunnels.pdfCAFF - Extend Your Growing Season into Colder Weather with High Tunnels.pdf
CAFF - Extend Your Growing Season into Colder Weather with High Tunnels.pdf
 
ABC of kitchen gardening in Pakistan By Allah Dad Khan
ABC of kitchen gardening in Pakistan By Allah Dad Khan ABC of kitchen gardening in Pakistan By Allah Dad Khan
ABC of kitchen gardening in Pakistan By Allah Dad Khan
 
Thinking outside the box with Season Extension
Thinking outside the box with Season ExtensionThinking outside the box with Season Extension
Thinking outside the box with Season Extension
 
Sequential planting cool season crops in a hoophouse 2019 pam dawling
Sequential planting cool season crops in a hoophouse 2019 pam dawlingSequential planting cool season crops in a hoophouse 2019 pam dawling
Sequential planting cool season crops in a hoophouse 2019 pam dawling
 
42 .kitchen gardening a to z in pakistan A Series of Lectures By Mr. All...
42 .kitchen gardening  a to z  in pakistan A  Series of Lectures By Mr. All...42 .kitchen gardening  a to z  in pakistan A  Series of Lectures By Mr. All...
42 .kitchen gardening a to z in pakistan A Series of Lectures By Mr. All...
 
How to Grow Cucumbers - Homegrown Outlet
How to Grow Cucumbers - Homegrown OutletHow to Grow Cucumbers - Homegrown Outlet
How to Grow Cucumbers - Homegrown Outlet
 
Season extension pam dawling
Season extension pam dawlingSeason extension pam dawling
Season extension pam dawling
 
Season extension at Kilpatrick Family Farm
Season extension at Kilpatrick Family FarmSeason extension at Kilpatrick Family Farm
Season extension at Kilpatrick Family Farm
 
High Altitude Food Gardening - Evergreen Library 2/13/16
High Altitude Food Gardening - Evergreen Library 2/13/16High Altitude Food Gardening - Evergreen Library 2/13/16
High Altitude Food Gardening - Evergreen Library 2/13/16
 
Presentation library-053015
Presentation library-053015Presentation library-053015
Presentation library-053015
 
Organic Strawberries with Paul & Sandy Arnold
Organic Strawberries with Paul & Sandy ArnoldOrganic Strawberries with Paul & Sandy Arnold
Organic Strawberries with Paul & Sandy Arnold
 
Creating a seed bank
Creating a seed bankCreating a seed bank
Creating a seed bank
 
Ssawg 2020 microgreens(1)
Ssawg 2020 microgreens(1)Ssawg 2020 microgreens(1)
Ssawg 2020 microgreens(1)
 
The seed garden 90 mins pam dawling 2020
The seed garden 90 mins pam dawling 2020The seed garden 90 mins pam dawling 2020
The seed garden 90 mins pam dawling 2020
 
How to Grow Green Dill - Homegrown Outlet
How to Grow Green Dill - Homegrown OutletHow to Grow Green Dill - Homegrown Outlet
How to Grow Green Dill - Homegrown Outlet
 
Growing organic sweet potatoes
Growing organic sweet potatoes Growing organic sweet potatoes
Growing organic sweet potatoes
 

More from Pam Dawling

More from Pam Dawling (16)

Year-Round Hoophouse Vegetables 240m.pdf
Year-Round Hoophouse Vegetables 240m.pdfYear-Round Hoophouse Vegetables 240m.pdf
Year-Round Hoophouse Vegetables 240m.pdf
 
Asian Greens in the Winter Hoophouse 75 min 2022.pdf
Asian Greens in the Winter Hoophouse 75 min 2022.pdfAsian Greens in the Winter Hoophouse 75 min 2022.pdf
Asian Greens in the Winter Hoophouse 75 min 2022.pdf
 
Alliums Year-Round.pdf
Alliums Year-Round.pdfAlliums Year-Round.pdf
Alliums Year-Round.pdf
 
Deciding which vegetable crops to grow, pam dawling
Deciding which vegetable crops to grow, pam dawlingDeciding which vegetable crops to grow, pam dawling
Deciding which vegetable crops to grow, pam dawling
 
Hoophouse cool season crops pam dawling
Hoophouse cool season crops pam dawlingHoophouse cool season crops pam dawling
Hoophouse cool season crops pam dawling
 
Year round hoophouse vegetables pam dawling
Year round hoophouse vegetables pam dawlingYear round hoophouse vegetables pam dawling
Year round hoophouse vegetables pam dawling
 
Winter vegetable production outdoors and in a hoophouse Pam Dawling
Winter vegetable production outdoors and in a hoophouse Pam DawlingWinter vegetable production outdoors and in a hoophouse Pam Dawling
Winter vegetable production outdoors and in a hoophouse Pam Dawling
 
Year round hoophouse vegetables handout 2020 pam dawling
Year round hoophouse vegetables handout 2020 pam dawlingYear round hoophouse vegetables handout 2020 pam dawling
Year round hoophouse vegetables handout 2020 pam dawling
 
Sustainable farming practices Pam Dawling 90 mins 2019
Sustainable farming practices Pam Dawling 90 mins 2019Sustainable farming practices Pam Dawling 90 mins 2019
Sustainable farming practices Pam Dawling 90 mins 2019
 
Year round hoophouse vegetables. Pam Dawling
Year round hoophouse vegetables. Pam DawlingYear round hoophouse vegetables. Pam Dawling
Year round hoophouse vegetables. Pam Dawling
 
Hoophouse cool season crops 240 mins Pam Dawling
Hoophouse cool season crops 240 mins Pam DawlingHoophouse cool season crops 240 mins Pam Dawling
Hoophouse cool season crops 240 mins Pam Dawling
 
Crop Planning for Sustainable Vegetable Production 2019 Pam Dawling
Crop Planning for Sustainable Vegetable Production 2019 Pam DawlingCrop Planning for Sustainable Vegetable Production 2019 Pam Dawling
Crop Planning for Sustainable Vegetable Production 2019 Pam Dawling
 
Many crops, many plantings to maximize high tunnel production efficiency Dawling
Many crops, many plantings to maximize high tunnel production efficiency DawlingMany crops, many plantings to maximize high tunnel production efficiency Dawling
Many crops, many plantings to maximize high tunnel production efficiency Dawling
 
Cold hardy winter vegetables 2017 dawling
Cold hardy winter vegetables 2017 dawlingCold hardy winter vegetables 2017 dawling
Cold hardy winter vegetables 2017 dawling
 
Year round vegetable production dawling 2017 90 mins
Year round vegetable production dawling 2017 90 minsYear round vegetable production dawling 2017 90 mins
Year round vegetable production dawling 2017 90 mins
 
Sequential planting of cool season crops in high tunnels Pam Dawling 2017
Sequential planting of cool season crops in high tunnels Pam Dawling 2017Sequential planting of cool season crops in high tunnels Pam Dawling 2017
Sequential planting of cool season crops in high tunnels Pam Dawling 2017
 

Recently uploaded

Functional properties of egg.123456789123456789123456789
Functional properties of egg.123456789123456789123456789Functional properties of egg.123456789123456789123456789
Functional properties of egg.123456789123456789123456789
eshakanwal932
 
一比一原版UC毕业证坎特伯雷大学毕业证成绩单如何办理
一比一原版UC毕业证坎特伯雷大学毕业证成绩单如何办理一比一原版UC毕业证坎特伯雷大学毕业证成绩单如何办理
一比一原版UC毕业证坎特伯雷大学毕业证成绩单如何办理
owvuwg
 
一比一原版(UCLA毕业证)加利福尼亚大学|洛杉矶分校毕业证成绩单
一比一原版(UCLA毕业证)加利福尼亚大学|洛杉矶分校毕业证成绩单一比一原版(UCLA毕业证)加利福尼亚大学|洛杉矶分校毕业证成绩单
一比一原版(UCLA毕业证)加利福尼亚大学|洛杉矶分校毕业证成绩单
ahgeo
 
一比一原版(GWU,GW毕业证)乔治·华盛顿大学毕业证成绩单
一比一原版(GWU,GW毕业证)乔治·华盛顿大学毕业证成绩单一比一原版(GWU,GW毕业证)乔治·华盛顿大学毕业证成绩单
一比一原版(GWU,GW毕业证)乔治·华盛顿大学毕业证成绩单
efbuqu
 
一比一原版(CSU毕业证)加利福尼亚州立大学毕业证成绩单
一比一原版(CSU毕业证)加利福尼亚州立大学毕业证成绩单一比一原版(CSU毕业证)加利福尼亚州立大学毕业证成绩单
一比一原版(CSU毕业证)加利福尼亚州立大学毕业证成绩单
efbuqu
 
一比一原版(UW毕业证)华盛顿大学毕业证成绩单
一比一原版(UW毕业证)华盛顿大学毕业证成绩单一比一原版(UW毕业证)华盛顿大学毕业证成绩单
一比一原版(UW毕业证)华盛顿大学毕业证成绩单
huskn
 
一比一原版(UC Davis毕业证)加州大学|戴维斯分校毕业证成绩单
一比一原版(UC Davis毕业证)加州大学|戴维斯分校毕业证成绩单一比一原版(UC Davis毕业证)加州大学|戴维斯分校毕业证成绩单
一比一原版(UC Davis毕业证)加州大学|戴维斯分校毕业证成绩单
efbuqu
 
一比一原版(UIUC毕业证)伊利诺伊大学|厄巴纳-香槟分校毕业证成绩单
一比一原版(UIUC毕业证)伊利诺伊大学|厄巴纳-香槟分校毕业证成绩单一比一原版(UIUC毕业证)伊利诺伊大学|厄巴纳-香槟分校毕业证成绩单
一比一原版(UIUC毕业证)伊利诺伊大学|厄巴纳-香槟分校毕业证成绩单
azfuce
 
一比一原版(IIT毕业证)伊利诺伊理工大学毕业证成绩单
一比一原版(IIT毕业证)伊利诺伊理工大学毕业证成绩单一比一原版(IIT毕业证)伊利诺伊理工大学毕业证成绩单
一比一原版(IIT毕业证)伊利诺伊理工大学毕业证成绩单
huskn
 
一比一原版(SFU毕业证)西蒙弗雷泽大学毕业证成绩单
一比一原版(SFU毕业证)西蒙弗雷泽大学毕业证成绩单一比一原版(SFU毕业证)西蒙弗雷泽大学毕业证成绩单
一比一原版(SFU毕业证)西蒙弗雷泽大学毕业证成绩单
azfuce
 

Recently uploaded (20)

Pepper Market Outlook: Global Trends and Forecast Analysis (2023-2032)
Pepper Market Outlook: Global Trends and Forecast Analysis (2023-2032)Pepper Market Outlook: Global Trends and Forecast Analysis (2023-2032)
Pepper Market Outlook: Global Trends and Forecast Analysis (2023-2032)
 
5 Ways Sea Moss Can Improve Thyroid Function
5 Ways Sea Moss Can Improve Thyroid Function5 Ways Sea Moss Can Improve Thyroid Function
5 Ways Sea Moss Can Improve Thyroid Function
 
Functional properties of egg.123456789123456789123456789
Functional properties of egg.123456789123456789123456789Functional properties of egg.123456789123456789123456789
Functional properties of egg.123456789123456789123456789
 
一比一原版UC毕业证坎特伯雷大学毕业证成绩单如何办理
一比一原版UC毕业证坎特伯雷大学毕业证成绩单如何办理一比一原版UC毕业证坎特伯雷大学毕业证成绩单如何办理
一比一原版UC毕业证坎特伯雷大学毕业证成绩单如何办理
 
Dehradun Girls 9719300533 Heat-convective-heat { Dehradun } Wise ℂall Serviℂ...
Dehradun Girls 9719300533 Heat-convective-heat { Dehradun  } Wise ℂall Serviℂ...Dehradun Girls 9719300533 Heat-convective-heat { Dehradun  } Wise ℂall Serviℂ...
Dehradun Girls 9719300533 Heat-convective-heat { Dehradun } Wise ℂall Serviℂ...
 
Steak Tenderizing Case Study by Adam Wojtow, Steak Revolution Founder
Steak Tenderizing Case Study by Adam Wojtow, Steak Revolution FounderSteak Tenderizing Case Study by Adam Wojtow, Steak Revolution Founder
Steak Tenderizing Case Study by Adam Wojtow, Steak Revolution Founder
 
Key Features of The Italian Restaurants.pdf
Key Features of The Italian Restaurants.pdfKey Features of The Italian Restaurants.pdf
Key Features of The Italian Restaurants.pdf
 
Caspian Sea Resataurnt Lunch Buffet Menu
Caspian Sea Resataurnt Lunch Buffet MenuCaspian Sea Resataurnt Lunch Buffet Menu
Caspian Sea Resataurnt Lunch Buffet Menu
 
一比一原版(UCLA毕业证)加利福尼亚大学|洛杉矶分校毕业证成绩单
一比一原版(UCLA毕业证)加利福尼亚大学|洛杉矶分校毕业证成绩单一比一原版(UCLA毕业证)加利福尼亚大学|洛杉矶分校毕业证成绩单
一比一原版(UCLA毕业证)加利福尼亚大学|洛杉矶分校毕业证成绩单
 
一比一原版(GWU,GW毕业证)乔治·华盛顿大学毕业证成绩单
一比一原版(GWU,GW毕业证)乔治·华盛顿大学毕业证成绩单一比一原版(GWU,GW毕业证)乔治·华盛顿大学毕业证成绩单
一比一原版(GWU,GW毕业证)乔治·华盛顿大学毕业证成绩单
 
一比一原版(CSU毕业证)加利福尼亚州立大学毕业证成绩单
一比一原版(CSU毕业证)加利福尼亚州立大学毕业证成绩单一比一原版(CSU毕业证)加利福尼亚州立大学毕业证成绩单
一比一原版(CSU毕业证)加利福尼亚州立大学毕业证成绩单
 
ABSORPTION OF ENERGY YIELDING NUTRIENTS OF FISH AND CRUSTACEANS.pptx
ABSORPTION OF ENERGY YIELDING NUTRIENTS OF FISH AND CRUSTACEANS.pptxABSORPTION OF ENERGY YIELDING NUTRIENTS OF FISH AND CRUSTACEANS.pptx
ABSORPTION OF ENERGY YIELDING NUTRIENTS OF FISH AND CRUSTACEANS.pptx
 
一比一原版(UW毕业证)华盛顿大学毕业证成绩单
一比一原版(UW毕业证)华盛顿大学毕业证成绩单一比一原版(UW毕业证)华盛顿大学毕业证成绩单
一比一原版(UW毕业证)华盛顿大学毕业证成绩单
 
一比一原版(UC Davis毕业证)加州大学|戴维斯分校毕业证成绩单
一比一原版(UC Davis毕业证)加州大学|戴维斯分校毕业证成绩单一比一原版(UC Davis毕业证)加州大学|戴维斯分校毕业证成绩单
一比一原版(UC Davis毕业证)加州大学|戴维斯分校毕业证成绩单
 
一比一原版(UIUC毕业证)伊利诺伊大学|厄巴纳-香槟分校毕业证成绩单
一比一原版(UIUC毕业证)伊利诺伊大学|厄巴纳-香槟分校毕业证成绩单一比一原版(UIUC毕业证)伊利诺伊大学|厄巴纳-香槟分校毕业证成绩单
一比一原版(UIUC毕业证)伊利诺伊大学|厄巴纳-香槟分校毕业证成绩单
 
一比一原版(IIT毕业证)伊利诺伊理工大学毕业证成绩单
一比一原版(IIT毕业证)伊利诺伊理工大学毕业证成绩单一比一原版(IIT毕业证)伊利诺伊理工大学毕业证成绩单
一比一原版(IIT毕业证)伊利诺伊理工大学毕业证成绩单
 
一比一原版(SFU毕业证)西蒙弗雷泽大学毕业证成绩单
一比一原版(SFU毕业证)西蒙弗雷泽大学毕业证成绩单一比一原版(SFU毕业证)西蒙弗雷泽大学毕业证成绩单
一比一原版(SFU毕业证)西蒙弗雷泽大学毕业证成绩单
 
Health Benefits of Turnips - Turning up the Nutritional Value.pdf
Health Benefits of Turnips - Turning up the Nutritional Value.pdfHealth Benefits of Turnips - Turning up the Nutritional Value.pdf
Health Benefits of Turnips - Turning up the Nutritional Value.pdf
 
Piccola cucina Best Restaurant in Brooklyn
Piccola cucina Best Restaurant in BrooklynPiccola cucina Best Restaurant in Brooklyn
Piccola cucina Best Restaurant in Brooklyn
 
NO1 Qari Amil Baba Bangali Baba | Aamil baba Taweez Online Kala Jadu kala jad...
NO1 Qari Amil Baba Bangali Baba | Aamil baba Taweez Online Kala Jadu kala jad...NO1 Qari Amil Baba Bangali Baba | Aamil baba Taweez Online Kala Jadu kala jad...
NO1 Qari Amil Baba Bangali Baba | Aamil baba Taweez Online Kala Jadu kala jad...
 

Growing sweet potatoes from start to finish Pam Dawling 2016

  • 1. Growing Sweet Potatoes from Start to Finish How to grow your own sweet potato slips, plant them, grow healthy crops and harvest good yields. How to select suitable roots for growing next year’s slips. How to cure and store roots for top quality and minimal losses. ©Pam Dawling 2016 Author of Sustainable Market Farming www.sustainablemarketfarming.com www.facebook.com/SustainableMarketFarming
  • 2. What’s in this presentation • Intro and encouragement • Grow your own sweet potato slips – Twin Oaks method – Slips-in-flats – The Boutard single node method – Traditional bedding technique (Sand Hill) • Crop requirements • Planting out • Sweet potato development • Pests, afflictions and diseases • Harvest • Selecting stock for next year’s slips • Plant a cover crop • Curing • Storing • Resources
  • 4. Well grown and cured, sweet potatoes store well and are a good market or CSA crop for late fall, winter, or the early spring “Hungry Gap”. They reach their peak in flavor during January and February. One baked sweet potato of 114gm (4 oz) has 185% the RDA of vitamin A, 28% the RDA of Vitamin C, 100% of vitamin E, lots of anti-oxidants, and 160 calories, none from fat. Photo Brittany Lewis
  • 5. Sweet potatoes are not yams! • Sweet potatoes are related to morning glory, in the genus Ipomoea. They are not yams, even though they are often called yams! True yams are a tropical species of tuber (genus Dioscorea). Sweet potatoes are tuberous roots, and will not even cross with yams. • Unlike white potatoes, which have the annual sequence of vegetative growth, flowering and dying back, sweet potato plants continue growing as long as the weather is warm enough. • Modern varieties grow to a good size in as little as 90 days, so they are not just for the South! The further north you are, the longer the daylight at midsummer and the more photosynthesizing the plants can do. • Fitting sweet potatoes into a rotation is easy because it is unlikely that you are growing anything else in that family. Sweet potato flower. Photo Wikimedia Commons
  • 6. Encouragement • You can provide a long-keeping crop of delicious roots for filling those CSA bags at the end of the year, or for sale in late fall and winter. At Twin Oaks we aim to grow enough to supply us from Nov to May. • They do not need lots of organic matter, or high fertility levels. • There is time the winter before planting them to grow a mature cover crop mix including legumes to the flowering stage. • Sweet potatoes fit easily into the crop schedule. Slips are started after the first flush of seed-starting, and grow with little attention. • Planting out comes later than most spring crops. • They thrive in hot weather and are fairly drought-tolerant . • After vining they need little care during the summer (apart from irrigation) until harvest. Photo Nina Gentle
  • 7. Understanding sweet potato growth • Regardless of how early in the season you plant out your sweet potatoes, they will not make flowers earlier, or start making tubers sooner. • Both flower and tuber initiation are triggered by day length. Each variety has its own internal clock. • Don’t plant them out until it is good and warm! It can only stunt their growth, never speed it up! Hoophouses can help provide warmer conditions in cooler climates. • I usually reckon on the first month after planting being focused on root growth, the next month on vines and the rest on roots. Sweet potato at the vining stage. Photo Nina Gentle
  • 8. Heat is important Photo Bridget Aleshire Forget about climate zones – they are about winter-hardiness of perennials. Sweet potato growing is all about warmth and light. • Growing Degree Days (heat units) determine success, not the number of days from planting. Early varieties take 1200 GDDs to grow a good crop. • To calculate GDDs, take the day's high temperature (max) and the day's low temperature (min) and add them together. Divide by 2 and subtract 55. • For a max of 90F, min of 70F, you get 25 GDDs - just about perfect. 90+70=160. 160/2=80. 80-55=25. At 25 GDDs a day, you theoretically only need about 48 days to get a crop. There are some other limits to daily plant growth – the likely minimum for a decent crop is about 76 days.
  • 9. The mystique of sweet potato slips Photo Southern Exposure Seed Exchange • Sweet potatoes are not grown from seed or from replanted roots, but from “slips,” which are pieces of stem with a few leaves, grown from a mother root. • We used to buy bare-root sweet potato slips for transplanting, believing growing our own would be very tricky. Our desire to have organic plants, plus a need to reduce our expenses one year, pushed us into growing our own. • We had some problems initially, so I can warn you about how not to do it. Now we have a system we really like, and we’ve found several advantages of home-grown slips over purchased ones. • Here I’ll cover 3 methods of growing slips.
  • 10. Grow your own Disadvantages of buying slips 1. Need to specify a shipping date months ahead, then hope the weather sprites are kind. 2. Jump-to when the plants arrive, and get them all in the ground pronto, and keep them alive as best you can. 3. A certain amount of drooping (transplant shock) is normal. 4. You might have late frosts, spring droughts, or El Nino wet springs, and climate change is only adding to the uncertainty. Advantages of home-grown slips  Delay planting if that seems wise;  Plant them in stages rather than all on one day.  The transplants don’t wilt.  Grow them big and plant them with 3-5 nodes underground, giving more chance of survival in heat or frost.  Keep some spares on hand to replace casualties.  The sturdy plants get off to a strong start – this could be an even bigger advantage further north where the season of warm-enough weather is on the short side for a 90-120 day plant.  Self-reliance.
  • 11. Three methods of slip production 1. Twin Oaks slips in flats method 2. Boutard single node cutting method 3. Traditional outdoor bedding method (Sand Hill)
  • 12. Planning ahead – how many to plant Photo Kathryn Simmons • Decide how much space you want to plant, or how many pounds (tons?) you want to grow. • One slip will produce a cluster of 4–10 roots, each weighing 3–17 oz (80–500 g). • Yield range is 2.5- 6.8 lbs (1-3kg) per plant, 276–805 lbs/1,000 ft² (14–40 kg/10 m²), or 6– 17.5 tons/ac (13.5–39 t/ha). • Climate, spacing, growing season affect yield. • Planting space is 6-18” in the row (wide spacing gives more jumbo roots). • We do 15" (38 cm) as we like to get some jumbos. If unsure, try 12” (30 cm). • Space between rows could be 32-48” (0.8- 1.2m). The vines become rampant. • Calculate how many slips you’ll need and add 5-10%. For an acre you’ll need 15,000.
  • 13. Selecting mother roots • If you didn’t save seed roots from high- yielding plants at harvest, choose small to medium-sized roots of typical appearance (no rat-tails!) from stored roots. • Each root will produce 10-30 slips, depending how much time you allow, but regardless of size - no advantage in selecting jumbos. • If you are buying sweet potatoes, choose a variety with a short number of days to maturity if you are in the north. Otherwise buy from a local grower. • Failing that, buy slips one year, and save your own roots for the next year’s slips. • We save 60 roots for 600 plants. • There are two tests we do before the initial 2 weeks conditioning, to choose good virus-free roots - allow an extra 10%. Seed stock saved at harvest time. Photo Nina Gentle
  • 14. How not to sprout sweet potatoes ‼ My first big mistake – following directions written for much further south, I tried to start growing slips in mid-January in central Virginia. Dismal fight against nature! ‼ Another path not to take: the first time I tried this, I was puzzled by talk of using cold frames. Ours were freezing cold at that time of year. Indoor spaces are much warmer than outdoors! ‼ Next, I set up a soil warming cable in a cinder-block-enclosed bed on the concrete floor of our greenhouse. This is how I discovered most soil warming cables have thermostats set to switch off the heat at 70F. I just couldn’t get the soil warm enough. ‼ No need to repeat these mistakes ‼ For small quantities of slips, it is possible to sprout the potatoes half-submerged in water, either in trays of water, or suspending a sweet potato impaled on toothpick s, resting on the top of a glass of water. For larger quantities I recommend our method, which I describe next.
  • 15. Timing • Figure out your ideal planting date and work back to find your starting date. • Planting is usually done about 2 weeks after the last frost. You need settled warm weather. The soil temperature should reach at least 65F at 4” deep on 4 consecutive days – don’t rush into planting too early. • Plants set out too early will struggle with skin fungi, and give uneven yields. • We plant May 10, between pepper and okra & watermelon transplanting. • It takes 7-8 weeks to grow the slips using our method, and the roots produce more slips if conditioned for 2 weeks (or even 4), before you start to grow slips. So start 10-12 weeks before your planting date. We start 3/4.
  • 16. Testing 1. Test the roots in a bucket of water – the ones that float are said to yield more and produce better flavored roots. 2. Test for viral streaking, (color breaks or chimeras) where paler spots or radial streaks appear in the flesh. Discard roots with pale spots or streaks wider than a pencil lead. 3. Cut a thin slice from the distal end of each root – that’s the stringy root end, opposite the end that was attached to the plant stem. All the sprouts will grow from the stem end, so don’t cut there! Photo Southern Exposure Seed Exchange  If you can’t tell the difference between the ends, ignore this step. Plan to propagate your own slips for just 2 or 3 years (to keep the virus load low).  If you grow a small crop, you could keep the slips from each root separate. Before planting, cut up the mother roots, discard slips from streaked roots.  An option for commercial growers is to check some, which become your seed stock, and are planted in a different plot from the untested market stock.
  • 17. Conditioning • Put the chosen roots in flats, boxes or trays, without soil, in a warm, moist, light place for 2-4 weeks. • Ideal conditions are 75-85F, 95% humidity. • This can double or triple the number of sprouts the root will produce in a timely manner. • We use our germinating chamber, which is an old glass door refrigerator heated by an incandescent light bulb. • Conditioning after testing allows the cut surfaces to heal before they are covered by compost. • The environment for sprouting the roots is similar, so you can probably use the same location. Photo Small Farm Central
  • 18. Sweet Potato Plan 2016 Here’s the first part of our slip-growing worksheet
  • 19. Sprouting Our germination chamber. Photo Kathryn Simmons • • Set up a place with light, humidity and ventilation at 75°F–85°F (24°C—29°C) and 12" (30 cm) of headroom. • Plant the selected roots flat, almost touching, in free-draining potting compost in boxes or crates. The tubers do not need to be fully covered with soil. Water the boxes and put them to sprout. • We use our ex-fridge germinator. Using boxes is much more manageable than having the roots loose in a big cold frame. Insulated boxes could set on a bench at a decent working height, with lights or heat lamps over them. • Keep the compost damp. If your planting medium is without nutrients, feed occasionally with some kind of liquid feed.
  • 20. Cutting slips Cut slips Photo Kathryn Simmons • After 5-7 days, the roots begin to produce slips. • When the slips are 6-12” tall with 4-6 leaves, cut daily from the tuber. • I tie them in rubber bands and set them in water. • Some people twist the slips from the roots, but this can transfer diseases by including a piece of the root • The slips grow more roots while they are in water for several days, which seems to be an advantage. • Once a week I spot (plant) the oldest, most vigorous slips (with good roots) into 4" (10-cm) deep wood flats filled with compost. • The spotted flats need good light in a frost-free greenhouse and sufficient water. • If you are 2 weeks shy of your planting date and short of slips, you can take cuttings from the first flats of slips. • The slips planted in flats become very sturdy, • This system allows for flexibility about planting dates, and a longer slip-cutting season. • 10 days before planting, start to harden off the flats. I learned the slips-in-flats method from Hiu Newcomb of Potomac Vegetable Farms, in the Experienced Organic Farmers’ Network run by SSAWG some years back.
  • 22. Newly spotted out slips Photo Kathryn Simmons • K
  • 23. Sweet potato slips ready to plant out Photo Kathryn Simmons Many growers have success with slips with few or no roots, but we like a good root system. More important than root size is keeping newly transplanted slips well watered.
  • 24. Second method of slip production Both methods start at the same time, planting roots in damp compost in a warm greenhouse Advantages of the Boutard single node cutting method, learned from John Hart of Cornell • Fewer “mother roots” are needed. 10-20% compared to my method. • Smaller plants save on greenhouse space • Only 18 days between cutting nodes and planting in the field. • Smaller plants as plugs experience less transplanting shock. • Root production is concentrated – from a single node rather than several. Drawbacks with my version of the traditional method • The number of slips from one tuber is limited • Some varieties are meager in providing slips • A lot of warm space is needed to grow the slips, at a time when warm space is at a premium. • The process takes from early March to mid-May
  • 25. The Boutard single node cutting method • Anthony Boutard and Caroline Boutard Hunt wrote an article about single node sweet potato propagation in Growing for Market in March 2015. They farm in Oregon and New York respectively. • Anthony is the author of Beautiful Corn: America’s Original Grain from Seed to Plate, New Society Publishers. • As well as articles for Growing for Market, he has also written for Art of Eating. Single node cutting growing roots at 3 days. Photo Anthony Boutard
  • 26. To prepare single node cuttings 1. Take a shoot from the mother tuber and cut off about ¼”(6mm) above a leaf node (swollen point where the leaf emerges). 2. In the leaf axil is a bud which will grow a shoot. 3. Just below the bud is a ring of cells that can grow roots. 4. Trim back the leaf stem, or leave the leaf on – your choice. 5. Make the second, lower, cut just above the next node down. Make several cuttings from one slip. 6. If the cutting is too tall to fit your cell plugs, cut more off the lower end. 7. Push the lower end of the shoot cutting at an angle into the soil, creating an even V with the leaf stem. The new shoot will then grow upwards easily. 8. Keep the trays warm and moist 50-cell plug flats work well. 3 day old single node cuttings Photo Anthony Boutard
  • 27. Some benefits of single node cuttings  This method can also be used to get more plants from purchased cut slips.  Plant the purchased slips in the greenhouse and grow them on until you can make cuttings.  Very helpful if you are growing a rare heirloom with limited propagation material available.  This method buys time if the weather turns bad and you need to back pedal on your planting out date. Just 16 days after striking the cuttings, the plants in this photo have made impressive root growth. Photo Anthony Boutard
  • 28. Plant out after 18 days • These plants, 18 days after starting the cuttings, are ready to plant in the field. Photo Anthony Boutard • Delaying planting for 10 days or so should not be a problem. • Plant out into well- prepared damp soil, with drip tape in place. • Plugs are very quick and easy to plant.
  • 29. Third method of slip production Sand Hill Preservation Center field bedding method • They start field beds in late April or early May, their usual last frost date. • The soil is still too cold for tender sweet potato slips, but they prepare beds by digging a wide trench several inches deep. • They set the mother roots in it, cover with peat moss and wet it down. • They cover the beds with clear plastic and wait several weeks. • If they have warm weather the roots start sending up slips in about 20 days. • Cool, cloudy weather means added time, fewer slips - parent roots can rot. • Glenn says: “Slips set out when the weather is very warm will outgrow and out-produce ones set out even as much as a month earlier. A slip set out in cold soil will many times become stunted and not produce as large a yield. I typically do not get my slips planted until June 20 to June 25.” • The sweet potatoes are almost all ready to harvest by mid- to late September. Glenn and Linda Drowns at the Sand Hill Preservation Center are genetic preservationists in Iowa. They sell small quantities of 225 varieties of sweet potatoes, and have developed a version of field bedding of slips that works well for them.
  • 30. Crop requirements • Heat is vital. • Sweet potatoes prefer loose, well-drained soil with pH of 5.8-6.2. They will tolerate pH from 4.5-7.5. • Enough potassium (K) is important for drought-resistance, but too much K makes them taste bitter. • Sweet potatoes do not benefit from high nitrogen (N). They can get plenty from high-biomass cover crops, organic mulch, and soil life. • As with other crops, a 3 or more year rotation helps control disease. • Once they are established, sweet potatoes are fairly drought- tolerant. • Critical times to maintain sufficient moisture are after transplanting and for at least the first 20-40 days while roots are developing. Photo Nina Gentle
  • 31. Tips to increase yields Photo Bridget Aleshire • Compacted, heavy, lumpy soils can result in misshapen, undersized tubers. • If you have clay soil or drainage problems, work in lots of compost and make raised beds or ridges 8 to 12 inches high. Ridges help heat up the soil and reduce flood damage • Black plastic warms the soil and increases growth. Plastic set out 3 weeks before planting warms the soil considerably. • You can gain GDDs (heat units) in a cold climate, by planting inside a hoophouse or low tunnel covered in clear plastic. Ventilate in hot weather. Get 20 GDDs a day, not 5.
  • 32. Planting out • We like to do 2 plantings a week apart, using the older slips first, and then make a 3rd visit after another week to fill any gaps. • It’s better to wait for the slips to grow 4 leaves or more before planting, rather than rush them outside. • For big potatoes, plant the slip vertically. For average size roots but larger crops, plant horizontally 2-3” deep. • Have 3-5 leaf nodes underground and only the tips above the ground – this gives the plants a 2nd chance if frost strikes. • If you are planting in hot dry weather, water the soil first, and keep the roots enclosed in damp or wet compost as you plant. Photo Bridget Aleshire
  • 33. Development • The first month or so after transplanting is the root development stage. Roots can go 8’ deep in 40 days. Don’t be alarmed at the lack of above-ground action. Give 1” water/week, and cultivate to remove weeds. • The second month or so is the vine growth stage. The roots begin to store starch and sugar close to the stem base. Cultivate until vines cover the ground, after which very little weeding will be needed. • During the last month of growth for that variety (3rd or 4th month), the potatoes develop. • Make sure you dig them up before the soil temperature gets down to 55F –the week of the average first fall frost is about right. • Most varieties take 90–110 days from planting out to reach a good size, provided the weather is warm enough. Photo by Bridget Aleshire
  • 34. Pest mammals • Deer eat the plants at all stages, including digging out the roots in the fall. Dogs, fences and guns are the 3 most effective methods of deer control. The plants can be covered with row cover or plastic net for the growing season. Motion- sensor sprayers work well if maintained. • Rabbits eat the foliage. Plant the slips on black plastic to hold back weeds, then put wire hoops over the rows and cover with row cover for 3-4 weeks while the plants are young. Even after the plants are large rabbits can cause substantial losses. • Groundhogs dig and eat the roots. They can be trapped with baits of fruit. Sweet potatoes grazed by deer. Photo Nina Gentle
  • 35. More pest mammals • Pocket Gophers search out sweet potatoes to eat. Their mounds may be hidden under the foliage and the plants may survive as they only eat the larger roots, leaving no crop. • Voles move in from grassy areas to live under the mulch and feed as fast as the roots form. They eat the roots from the top down leaving the outer shell in the soil where they have feasted. Cats are the best control. • Rats love the roots. Cats or dogs are the best method to remove them from the area. • Field Mice build nests under black plastic and eat the roots emerging from the ground.
  • 36. Afflictions Sweet potatoes are often relatively problem-free, but here are a few afflictions, and the reasons they happen, so you know what to do differently next year: • Round chunky roots, low yield, purple color: Planted too early, too cold. • Low yield: Flooded or crusted soil 6-7 weeks after planting? Planted too early? • Rough irregular shaped roots: Heavy clay soils or OM above 2%. • Rattails: thin, tough, tubers caused by hot dry weather, insufficient water. • Souring: tissue breakdown caused by poor soil aeration; for instance, flooding. • Water blisters: Small whitish bumps around the lenticels/breathing holes - wet soil. • Cracking: Uneven water supply or too much late-season water. • Blister: small raised bumps appearing several months into storage – boron deficiency. • Fine hairline cracks: also boron deficiency. • Long, slender malformed roots, reduced yield: Potassium deficiency.  North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission commercial growing page Souring Photo NC Sweet Potato Comm.
  • 37. Diseases • Brownish skin patches, worse in wet years. Stored roots shrivel. Scurf fungus, Monilochaetes infuscans, more likely if too much compost was used. • Metallic black surface lesions, maybe covering most of the root: black rot fungus, Certocystis fimbriata. Internal decay is not deep, but the fungus may impart a bitter flavor; • Sunken brown lesions that may encircle the root: ring rot, Pythium fungus; • Sunken lesions that dry and may fall out: Circular Spot, Sclerotium rolfsii. The underlying tissue may taste bitter; Ring Rot. Photo North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission
  • 38. More diseases • Hard, dry, black, sunken spots developing in harvest wounds: Fusarium. Spots may become larger than 2” (5 cm) diameter, but damage is not deep. • Pitting: Soil rot or soil pox fungus in the presence of water stress. Roots will be small and malformed. • Streptomyces root rot bacterium causes a similar rot; • Fine or coarse irregular cracks, browning of the surface; dry, corky, dark-colored clumps of tissue scattered throughout the flesh, becoming worse if roots are stored warmer than 60°F (16°C): russet- crack/internal cork, feathery mottle virus (yellow feathery patterns of leaves). Do not use as seed stock. Feathery Mottle/internal cork. Photo North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission
  • 39. When to harvest • Usually sweet potatoes are harvested in the week that the first frost typically occurs in your region. • Aim to harvest on a mild day, above 50°F (10°C), to avoid chilling injury • Don’t wait till soil temperatures get below 55°F. • If frost strikes, waste no time – get them harvested within a few days. • If the days are warm, a couple of light frosts will not harm your crop. Despite myths, there is no toxin in frozen leaves going down into the roots. • Cold wet soil can quickly rot sweet potatoes. Cold injury can ruin the crop - roots without leaf cover are exposed to cold air temperatures, and have lost their method of pulling water up out of the soil. • In drought, irrigate the field before harvest, to avoid scratching the skin with chunks of dry soil. Photo Kathryn Simmons
  • 40. How to harvest Photo Kathryn Simmons • Remove the vines from the plants to be harvested that day. If there is more than one day’s digging, leave intact vines to protect the rest of the crop. Clip the vines, leaving stumps to show where to dig. • Roll the vines into the gaps between the rows –if you have close rows you may need to roll the vines further away. Digging forks can be useful tools for this job. • Mowing isn’t recommended, as the roots sometimes stick up out of the ground. • Mechanical harvesting is done with a modified disk or moldboard plow with a spiral attachment. Potato diggers usually do too much damage on sweet potatoes. • We dig ours by hand
  • 41. Dig the potatoes • Using digging forks, carefully dig up the roots, which grow in the ground in a bunch-of-bananas shape. Begin digging 12-18” from the center of the plant to avoid damaging them. Go straight down about 6”, then angle toward the center and gently lift the potatoes out of the ground. • It’s important not to drop, throw or in any other way bruise the roots. • Avoid any abrasion of the skin, which is very fragile at this stage. This is the reason for the recommendation to irrigate before harvest if the soil is very dry. • Set the potatoes out beside the spot they’ve grown, one clump per plant, so it’s easy to identify the most productive plants, for seed stock. Photo Nina Gentle
  • 42. Let damp tubers dry Let the tubers dry in the sun for up to an hour, unless the weather is unsuitable. Don’t leave roots exposed to temperatures higher than 90°F for more than ½ hour, or they get sun-scald. And below 55°F, they’ll get chilling injury. Photo Nina Gentle Max 90F Min 55F
  • 43. Sorting and crating Photo Nina Gentle 1. If you want to grow your own slips next year, first select seed potatoes. We grow several different kinds, and make sure not to mix roots from different rows. See next slide. 2. Sort storable from damaged roots. Large open broken surfaces will cure and can be stored, but any roots with soft wet damaged areas or deep holes (whether from bugs or fork tines) will not store and should be graded out, for composting or immediate use at home. We sort into wood flats or plastic crates for curing and buckets for the “Use First” or cull category.
  • 44. Selecting seed potatoes • Select the best: choose plants with a high yield and no string (rat-tail) roots. • From these plants, choose medium sized (1½” diameter) potatoes with good shape and color. • Don’t save jumbo potatoes for seed, they’re harder to deal with, and will not produce more or better crops. Each potato produces about the same number of slips (shoots) regardless of size. • Do not save for seed any roots with disease symptoms. Damage due to poor growing conditions can look like a disease, but as it isn’t, it will not carry over to the next crop. • Save about one tuber per 10 slips wanted. Photo Nina Gentle
  • 45. Plant a cover crop • After harvest is complete, we disk the area and sow winter wheat as a cover crop around Oct 25. • It’s usually too late in the year to sow most leguminous cover crops, or for oats. • Here in zone 7, with an average first frost date of October 14, we could sow wheat, winter rye and Austrian winter peas up till Nov 7; crimson clover or hairy vetch till Oct 14. • Because sweet potatoes inhibit the formation of nitrogen nodules, following with a legume may not be very successful. • We choose winter wheat after the sweet potatoes, because in our rotation, we will use that area the next year for spring white potatoes in mid-March, and there is no time in spring for legumes to grow to flowering or produce much nitrogen. • Rye takes too long to break down early in the spring.
  • 46. To wash or not to wash? • We do not wash our potatoes. I expect the need depends on soil type. We find most of the soil drops off during curing and storage. • Anthony Boutard says: “we always wash the roots well before curing. I hate handling and washing dirty roots in the winter. I have never had significant shrinkage. Even broken roots skin up nicely during the curing process. . . . So much easier to wash them on a sunny September day . . . Washing is such an easy step when they are freshly dug.” • He adds “Appearance is not my prime concern. . . Listeria is a soil borne bacterium. With the recent outbreaks I am making sure staff and I are careful when handling food and soil together. ” Washed white sweet potatoes. Photo Anthony Boutard
  • 47. Cure immediately • Immediately after harvest, field drying, sorting and crating, take the boxes of sweet potatoes into a warm, damp basement or other indoor space to cure. Photo Nina Gentle
  • 48. Curing Boxes of sweet potatoes curing with battens between the layers of boxes. Photo Nina Gentle • Curing allows the skin to thicken, cuts to heal, and some of the starches to convert to sugars. Uncured “green” sweet potatoes are not very sweet, and are best used in dishes with other foods. • Ideal conditions are 85-90°F, and 80-95% humidity for 4-7 days. There also needs to be some air flow and ventilation. • Curing takes longer if conditions are less than perfect. The length of the curing period also varies with the dryness of the soil just prior to harvest. We reckon on 10-14 days. • To test if curing is complete, rub two sweet potatoes together. If the skins scratch, they need to cure longer.
  • 49. Tips for good curing Temperature  In the past we used our greenhouse to cure sweet potatoes, but it really is too hot and sunny, and dry.  Nowadays we use a basement with the door to the adjoining furnace room open.  We stack our 4” deep flats of roots on pallets, with wood spacer bars between boxes in each stack, to ensure air flow.  We use box fans to improve the airflow, and the basement already has some natural ventilation. Humidity  We get quite good temperatures, but keeping humidity up is difficult for us.  We cover the flats with newspaper to hold in some moisture. Some people use perforated plastic. Perhaps white rowcover would work?  We have also used domestic humidifiers and we’ve tried hanging strips of wet cloth from the ceiling.  The best result seems to come from splashing water on the concrete floor several times each day.
  • 50. Storage • Ideal storage conditions for sweet potatoes are 55-60°F, 85-90% humidity, with one air change each day. Above 60°F, shrinking and sprouting may occur, and below 55°F, a permanent chilling injury (Hard Core) can happen. The potatoes remain hard no matter how long you cook them, and are useless. Do not ever let the temperature drop below 50°F. • Sweet potatoes do not need to be in the dark. Dormancy is generally broken by moisture and warmth, not daylight. Green sprouts are not toxic, as are those of white potatoes. • We use a rodent-proof “cage” in our basement. We stack the boxes directly on top of each other and this seems to keep enough moisture in. This way, assuming we had a good enough harvest, we can still have sweet potatoes into May and early June. Photo Nina Gentle
  • 51. Resources  ATTRA Sweet Potato: Organic production www.attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/summaries/summary.php?pub=32  North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission. The commercial growing page has lots of information, including photos of problems: http://www.ncsweetpotatoes.com/sweet- potato-industry/growing-sweet-potatoes-in-north-carolina/  North Carolina State University, http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/hil/pdf/hil-23-c.pdf Guidelines for Sweetpotato Seed Stock and Transplant Production  Mississippi State University Commercial Sweet Potato Production in Mississippi http://ageconsearch.umn.edu/bitstream/15785/1/rr99-005.pdf  Clemson University Estimated costs and Returns for Sweet Potatoes https://www.clemson.edu/extension/aes/budgets/melons_vegetables/swtpot6.pdf  Islam, A. F. M. Saiful, C. Kubota, M. Takagaki, and T. Kozai. 2002. Sweetpotato growth and yield from plug transplants of different volumes, planted intact or without roots. Crop Sci. 42:822-826. https://dl.sciencesocieties.org/publications/cs/abstracts/42/3/822?access=0&view=pdf  Somasundarum, K. and V. S. Santhosh Mithra. 2008. Madhuram: A simulation model for sweet potato growth. World Jour. Agr. Sci. 4: 241-254. for more understanding of sweet potato growth. http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.415.4824&rep=rep1&type=pdf  Sustainable Practices for Vegetable Production in the South, Dr Mary Peet: https://www.amazon.com/Sustainable-Practices-Vegetable-Production- South/dp/0941051552
  • 52. More Resources  Sweet Potato IPM (not organic, but includes good info on insect pests) http://www.ipmcenters.org/pmsp/pdf/sesweetpotato.pdf  Alabama Co-operative Extension Guide to Sweetpotato Production in Alabama http://aces.edu/pubs/docs/A/ANR-0982/ANR-0982.pdf  Alabama Co-operative Extension Harvesting and Curing Sweetpotatoes http://www.aces.edu/pubs/docs/A/ANR-1111/ANR-1111.pdf  University of Georgia Extension Commercial Sweet Potato Production http://extension.uga.edu/publications/detail.cfm?number=B677  Sweetpotato production in California http://anrcatalog.ucanr.edu/pdf/7237.pdf  Anthony Boutard and Caroline Boutard Hunt wrote about single node sweet potato propagation in Growing for Market in March 2015.  Anthony Boutard is the author of Beautiful Corn: America’s Original Grain from Seed to Plate. New Society Publishers Suppliers of slips  Sand Hill Preservation Center, Iowa. Heirlooms, 225 Varieties. Some limits on how many you can buy. www.sandhillpreservation.com/pages/sweetpotato_catalog.html  Steele Plant Co, Slips in small and large quantities, good prices, great service. 10 varieties http://www.sweetpotatoplant.com/  Southern Exposure Seed Exchange 14 varieties, all organic. http://www.southernexposure.com  This slideshow and many other of my presentations, is available on www.slideshare.net
  • 53. Growing Sweet Potatoes from Start to Finish How to grow your own sweet potato slips, plant them, grow healthy crops and harvest good yields. How to select suitable roots for growing next year’s slips. How to cure and store roots for top quality and minimal losses. ©Pam Dawling 2016 Author of Sustainable Market Farming www.sustainablemarketfarming.com www.facebook.com/SustainableMarketFarming