How to grow sweet potatoes in containers is a skill that can be easily learned. Plus, there’s nothing better than harvesting sweet potatoes. While sweet potatoes grow best in the ground, they can be easily grown in containers, too.
Here’s how you can grow this tasty and nutritious root vegetable, even if you don’t have a lot of space, so continue reading.
How To Grow Sweet Potatoes in Containers Easily?
To grow your own sweet potatoes easily in containers, you should first choose the right container, and make sure that you are using the correct soil. Then, plant the slips of the crops, and make sure to provide proper sunlight, and fertilizer the plant right, then you can harvest them.
– Choose the Right Container
It’s important to pick up a container that is at least 12 inches deep. Sweet potatoes need enough space for their roots to grow. The container should be wide enough to accommodate sweet potato vines.
When picking the container where the plant will be harvested, it’s best to use a pot or a container with drainage holes at the bottom. This matters because it is the place that allows excess water to drain out. Having a container with adequate drainage holes helps prevent the roots from becoming waterlogged, which can lead to root rot.
You can choose any kind of container that meets these requirements to plant sweet potatoes. These can be a plastic or clay pot, a wooden barrel, or a recycled container like an old bucket or tub. Just be sure to clean the container thoroughly before planting to avoid any potential pests or diseases.
– Use the Correct Soil
Choosing the right soil is very important for growing sweet potatoes in containers. Sweet potatoes need the soil to be loose in texture, and well-draining soil to grow properly. Having soil with this consistency allows water to pass through easily and not get stuck in one place.
To make the right potting soil for sweet potatoes, you can use three different ingredients of potting soil: peat moss, perlite, and lastly, some compost. You can mix equal parts of peat moss, perlite, and compost to create a soil mix that is well-draining and nutrient-rich. As you do this, it allows your sweet potato plant to grow strong roots and produce healthy, delicious sweet potatoes.
It’s significant to note that using regular garden soil or too heavy or dense soil can become compacted and prevent water from draining properly. However, the matter may lead to root rot and will damage your sweet potato plant, so be very detailed about it.
– Plant the Slips
Sweet potato slips are basically small plantings that have been started from a mature sweet potato. Select the sweet potato varieties of your choice from a garden center. This is why, to start your own slips, cut a sweet potato in half lengthwise, and submerge the cut end in a container of water, and this will work so well.
Wait for the slips from your newly placed plants to grow and reach about four to six inches long. Once they reach this height, you can gently twist them off the potato and plant them in the container, but be sure to handle the slips carefully, as they can break easily.
When planting the sweet potato slips, make a small hole in the soil mix and gently insert the bottom of the slip into the hole. Be careful that the leaves are above the soil surface, so at this point, lightly pack the soil around the base of the slip to hold it in place.
It’s important to space the slips out evenly in the container to give them room to grow, which is why you must aim for about 12 inches of space between each slip. Once all the slips are planted, water the container thoroughly and keep the soil evenly moist but not waterlogged.
– Water Regularly
Sweet potato plants need water to stay healthy and grow well, which is why it is significant that you try to keep the soil around your sweet potato plant moist, but not too wet. If the soil becomes too wet, then the roots of your sweet potato plant can start to rot, and your plant may not survive.
To water your sweet potato plant, you should wait until the top inch of the soil feels dry to the touch. Then, you can gently pour water into the container until you see water coming out of the drainage holes at the bottom. This means that the soil has absorbed enough water, and now, you can stop irrigating them.
Be sure not to water too much or too little; overwatering can lead to root rot; on the contrary, under-watering can cause your sweet potato plant to dry out and die. It’s very keen that you find the right balance and water your sweet potato plant regularly, but not excessively.
If you’re not sure how often to water your sweet potato plant, you can check the soil moisture level. You can do this by simply placing your finger about an inch into the soil, and this way, if it feels dry, it’s time to water, but if it feels moist, wait a day or two and check again.
– Provide Adequate Sunlight
Sunlight is important for growing sweet potatoes because it helps them to photosynthesize. Photosynthesis is the means plants use to convert energy from the sun into food they can use to grow. There are some factors to keep in mind when it comes to providing your sweet potato plant with enough sunlight. These are location, orientation, and shade.
Now, you will see how you must be detailed because first, you’ll need to find a good location for your sweet potato plant. Look for a spot that receives at least six hours of direct sunlight per day. This could be a sunny windowsill, a balcony, or a sunny area in your yard.
Once you’ve found a good spot, make sure to orient your container so that it gets as much direct sunlight as possible. You may need to move the container around throughout the day to make sure that it is getting enough light.
While sweet potatoes need plenty of sunlight, they also need protection from the hottest part of the day. If your container is in a location that gets really hot, so you should provide some light shade to come during the hottest part of the day to protect your plant from sunburn.
– Fertilize the Plant
Fertilizing your sweet potato plant is important because it provides the nutrients that the plant needs to grow and produce a good crop. What you need is the right fertilizer, the right timing, and the right amount.
You must try to look for a balanced fertilizer that contains equal amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. To have a healthy harvest, ensure that you follow the instructions given on the fertilizer that you have to determine how much to use. Typically, you’ll sprinkle the fertilizer on the soil around the base of the plant and then water it in.
Timing is equally significant; as a result, it is best to fertilize your sweet potatoes every two weeks during the warmer seasons, which usually last from spring to fall. Don’t fertilize during the winter months when the plant is dormant.
Be careful not to over-fertilize, so while fertilizer is important, too much of it can actually harm your plant. Over-fertilization can lead to weak growth, disease, and even death. In short, follow the instructions on the fertilizer package carefully, and don’t use more than recommended.
– Harvest Your Cultivation
Harvesting means picking each sweet potato when it is fully grown and ready to eat, so you should first look for signs of readiness. You should harvest your sweet potatoes when the leaves start to yellow and die back. This is a sign that the plant is reaching the end of its growing season, and the sweet potatoes are ready to be picked.
You will need a garden fork or a trowel to harvest your sweet potatoes. These tools will help you dig up the potatoes without damaging them. Use your garden fork or trowel to gently dig around the base of the plant, loosening the soil as you go. You should be able to gently lift the plant out of the soil with the sweet potatoes still attached, and this way you can pick the ones you want.
Once you have lifted the plant out of the soil, gently shake off any excess soil. You can then carefully remove the sweet potatoes from the roots of the plant. Be sure to handle them gently to avoid damaging them.
After harvesting your sweet potatoes, you can store them in a cool, dry place for several months. This will allow them to cure, developing a sweeter flavor and a firmer texture. The ideal storage temperature should range from 55 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
Now that you know how to grow sweet potatoes yourself, you can enjoy them even with limited space. Let’s do a quick recap of what we’ve learned so far:
- It’s very keen to choose the right container and fill it with loose, well-draining soil.
- Plant the slips in the soil, water them regularly, and provide the right amount of sunlight.
- Fertilize the plants, harvest them when they die, and properly store your sweet potatoes.
In short, when you grow your own sweet potatoes, it will give you such a positive sense of achievement, because the process was a journey that you took on and cultivated with success.
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