Important! Upon Arrival:
You will receive unrooted vines. These vines should be placed in water to root for 4 to 5 days or be rooted in a soiless mix for a week to 10 days. They will often look wilted when you receive them but should quickly revive once in water or potting mix. Once the plants have begun to root and all risk of frost has passed, they can be planted outside.
Once the plants have started to produce roots they can be planted in 3-4” pots until the soil warms, however they should be planted outdoors as soon as possible. Do not allow them to become root bound or misshapen potatoes will form. As the soil has warmed and the risk of frost has passed, you can transplant outdoors, set the plants 12-18” apart and allow 3-4’ between rows. Plant on a wide, raised ridge approx. 6-10” high. Sweet potatoes form trailing vines that quickly cover the soil, rooting at the nodes along the way. Black plastic mulch is recommended for short season areas to retain heat in the soil and speed early growth.
Sweet potatoes prefer a hot, dry location and require a long frost-free season for optimum growth. Plant in a sheltered location that gets full sun. Once established minimal care is needed. Water if there is a prolonged drought, however stop watering 3-4 weeks before harvest to protect the developing roots from malformation and splitting.
Dig the main crop of sweet potatoes around the time of the first frost in the fall. Using a stout shovel or spading fork carefully dig around and below the roots. Be careful not to bruise, spear or otherwise damage the roots. Allow the roots to dry for 2-3 hours and then cure in a warm room (20°C-29°C) for 8-12 days. Store in a cool (13°C), dark location. In case of frost cut at soil line and harvest as soon as possible as frost damage will travel from the plants down the roots and affect storage quality.
Pests & Disease:
Sweet potatoes have very few pests but may have some minor problems caused by Japanese beetles, sweet potato white flies, cutworm, or striped blister beetles. Mice may also be a problem.