I’ve read that rotation is necessary. Later this summer I’m going to grow some potatoes in five-gallon pots just to re-experience it. Many meals almost everything on the plate is from the garden, and that is an incredible good feeling. This week will be full of virtual activities, at-home projects, and LIVE talks. Sweet potatoes are an easy and productive crop for Alabama Gardens. I’ve made that mistake in the past and rotted the seed potatoes. Ideally sweet potatoes should be harvested while the soil and weather are still warm, even if the vines have not begun to turn yellow. Each root can produce several slips. Potato plants about two months after planting. Leave the furrow this way for 4 to 6 weeks, ... may taste sweet and fry dark. Curing and storing freshly harvested sweet potatoes for 1-2 months will let some starch in the roots turn into sugar and improve their flavor. (The California Department of Food and Agriculture annually publishes a list of certified seed ... depending on the size of the potatoes you want to harvest. Slips can usually be planted from April to June in coastal areas of San Diego County and from May to June in inland areas. Traditional ones are: bush beans and corn (3 potato pls to 1 corn/bean combo) with Mentha, or potatoes mixed with cabbage interspersed with Salvia. Thanks for the really informative article. That in itself has made a huge improvement. The closer you come to providing these ideal conditions, the less time it will take for the roots to cure. Beware of rootstock suckers on citrus trees. I am ordering plant bags. The extra work in digging low and deep to harvest and 2. Sweet potato shoots should be started inside now, for planting when the soil warms to about 60 degrees. And its not a bad looking plant in the process. (The photo above shows Yukon Gold potatoes that I planted in February 2015 and harvested in late May.). This year ive been moving some things onto drip lines and have been using an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of the watering of all the different plants. Visit www.sandhillpreservation.com to read their variety catalog and growing tips. One question – have you have better results here in zones 9/10 with a specific variety? I am a very inconsistent gardener and have very little space. This may be a big surprise. Or you can buy a potato at the grocery store, go home and stick it in the ground and thereby have turned it into a seed potato.). Many times, I’ve had good results planting potatoes in August right at the base of recently harvested corn. I plant each seed potato one foot apart so there’s one emitter per plant. To obtain current information on varieties available and the cost of slips, call Jim Alvernaz (209-756-6970) in early May. Sweet potatoes are easy to grow but they do need a few things to grow really well. As always, you provide great information. The vines do not tolerate frost and the roots sustain chilling injury at temperatures below 50°F. If you live in San Diego and only need a few slips you may be able to buy at City Farmer’s Nursery, 3110 Euclid Ave., San Diego CA 92105; phone 619-284-6358. Raised beds are ideal for growing sweet potatoes because the soil drains better and warms faster in spring. Over the course of the plants’ three to four months of life, it’s usually necessary to hill up a little dirt or mulch around the base because the potatoes develop there and you don’t want them to be exposed to the sun. But I have lots of mulch and it’s early September and I just finished up some corn – everything is aligning! These are the plants that grew from the red seed potatoes above. In 2017, the farm grew 4 varieties: Murasaki, Bonita, Covington and Diane. It is important to distinguish between edible sweet potatoes (Ipomoea batatas) or ornamental sweet potatoes, which go by the same Latin name.Typically, flowering for both types will only occur in southern gardens with hot daytime and night time temperatures as well as long day length. Growing from February takes advantage of the rainy season, so less watering is necessary. This may also occur if rootless slips are temporarily planted and later transplanted into a bed. Learn more: www.cdfa.ca.gov/healthysoilsweek #HealthySoilsWeek2020 #HSW2020 ... See MoreSee Less, Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on Linked InShare by Email, Copyright - Master Gardener Association of San Diego County. The tubers were all perfect, as if they were just being stored in the soil. “Seed” potato originally from the grocery store. You can buy potatoes that were grown specifically to be used as seed. Growing Potatoes in Zone 9 Typically you’ll want to harvest sweet potatoes once the roots are about 1 1/2 to 2 inches across. Anyhow its been a very gratifying garden year with pounds of good food every day. Compared to potatoes, most other staples can be laborious to get from the ground to your dinner plate. Easily grow Sweet Potatoes in your home garden in Containers. That’s my sense, anyway. But once the plants are about a foot tall, I give them approximately as much as my local evapotranspiration rate; in other words, about as much as most other vegetable plants. It always amazes me how well they can perform in the worst part of the garden, with little or no attention. As always, thanks in advance for your advice. Some suggestions on how to cure a small quantity of roots at home can be found online. But someday I hope to have a bounty out there!) bag of organic potatoes and simply plant them provided that they have some semblance of an eye? Who knew – I will look for yellow leaves in the fall. If you want to find out when your favorite fruit (strawberries, apples, blueberries, peaches, etc. Wish I had sandy loan soil – and NO GOPHERS! If you grew sweet potatoes the previous year, you can use your own saved roots to grow new slips. I just added a few photos from this year (2017) that will hopefully make things even clearer. When to harvest sweet potatoes depends largely on the seasonal growing. Avocado trees get sunburned — what to do? I’ve always had good results from those. These days I use in-line drip emitter tubing where the emitters put out 0.5 gallons per hour and are spaced one foot apart. I particularly appreciate your pragmatic approach and willingness to shrug off the accepted wisdom when it doesnt work or apply or be necessary. If the potatoes are exposed to the sun, they turn green and toxic. No need to a huge eye? I have been growing potatoes in southern California for a couple of years. Fall Harvest. They contain nutrients that are immediately available for roots to absorb. Slips planted in warm moist soil begin to form new roots at each node in about 2 days. The sweet potato or sweetpotato (Ipomoea batatas) is a dicotyledonous plant that belongs to the bindweed or morning glory family, Convolvulaceae.Its large, starchy, sweet-tasting, tuberous roots are a root vegetable. At first, I wasn’t sure this would saturate a big enough area in my sandy loam soil, but it works just fine. You can stick them in the dirt straight away. Use a thermometer to check soil temperature and plant slips when it is above 65°F at a depth of 8 inches. Slips that have some roots when planted will produce fewer new roots which will result in a smaller number of large sweet potatoes. Slips may rot if they are enclosed in a sealed plastic bag or stored in a jar containing water. Hope you harvest some nice potatoes this season! Regarding the potato selection. That’s so fun. More links. In 6-8 weeks, some slips should be 8-12” tall. Did you have any success growing your potatoes? I’ve also always been told to rotate, but I stopped deliberately rotating (potatoes and every other crop) a handful of years ago and I haven’t seen any difference. I want to grow potatoes. In other words, don’t keep it saturated. Wetting roots can promote decay; don’t wash them until you are ready to use the roots. February planting also requires less attention to the plants generally. The sweet potato slips (rooted cuttings) were planted in a 3-by-8-foot raised bed on May 15, 2013. But I know people who have, and they say that they get best results by planting on mounds (to increase drainage) and/or NOT planting the seed potatoes deeply. I’m trying to think of any varieties that I haven’t had decent results from, but I can’t. This has become a regular rotation in my garden. (I often plant my potatoes under fruit trees rather than in a garden bed because it saves space. What follows are my personal notes on what I’ve learned about when and how to grow potatoes in Southern California, after having grown them for many years in different yards in the region. Great. Irrigate as needed to keep the soil evenly moist and not soggy. If I see a tuber showing at the base of a plant at any time, I’ll cover it immediately. Potatoes, on the other hand, can nearly grow without you paying attention, and harvesting them is fun like digging for treasure. For sure! But in a container it won’t really be hilling, it will be just adding some more soil around the plant in the container. Depending on the variety grown, sweet potatoes are ready to harvest 90-140 days after slips are planted. Until plants emerge, the soil around the seed potatoes only needs to be slightly moist. Water the bed before planting to moisten and settle the soil. If night temperatures are likely to fall below 50°F or frost is expected, dig up all the roots and move them to a warm place. But yields don’t seem to suffer since the plants are big enough by then to cope with it. It didn’t work but up popped a little potato plant. This crop may not be successful in the coolest microclimates in Sonoma County. Gently lift each clump of roots from the soil and lay them on the surface in the sun for 2-3 hours until the skin is thoroughly dry. Most nurseries in other states cannot ship slips to California because of pest quarantine regulations. The entire crop can be harvested at one time or only a few plants can be harvested as roots are needed. Even if you grow in a container, you’ll want to do a little hilling because the developing tubers will show above the soil and go green from the sunlight exposure. I tried rooting a rose stem in a potato in soil in a cup (something I read somewhere and my son had given me a old rose that had scent). Instead of soil, you can always add compost or mulch too. Do you recommend starting potatoes in SOCAL between May and June? The only disadvantage in my yard of growing potatoes in February is that the earwig population tends to explode around April, and they munch the potato plant leaves. You can leave them till a light frost, but harvest before a hard frost. In mid-December, 2015, the foliage of my potato plants were damaged by frost, but I waited to harvest until December 29. My favorite seed potatoes to buy from the grocery store are bags of small red potatoes that are labelled organic. When you are ready to harvest, cut the stems near the base of each plant and remove the vines from the bed. Growing good quality slips is a challenge some gardeners may want to try. Call in April to find out when slips will arrive, what varieties will be available and the price. If you can, place the container on an electric propagation (heat) mat to keep the planting media 70-75°F. It’s about 3ft deep with soil, and the box is 4’x4’ (it has greenhouse attachments too) . I’m partial to Yukon Golds, so (as you said with the red potatoes) all I need to is get a 5-lb. While small, potato plants don’t need much water. Many sources claim it’s vital to use seed potatoes that are certified disease-free, but for so long I’ve grown some of those alongside seed potatoes that I bought from the grocery store that were intended to be eaten, as well as seed potatoes taken from a previous harvest of my own. If you do, be aware that sweet potatoes can acquire insect transmitted viruses during the growing season, and this may reduce the productivity of the next season’s crop. The lesson is that for fall potatoes you need to get the plants going in August or early September so they have enough time to grow and mature tubers before a cold December night. You should cure your sweet potatoes before storage. When you first harvest them sweet potatoes are not really sweet and the texture is not ideal. Harvest slips by gently pulling them from the sweet potato or cut slips just above the soil. The best way to cure roots requires keeping them for 1-2 weeks in a well-ventilated, warm and very humid environment at a temperature of 80-85°F with relative humidity of 80-90%. Hi Greg, first off thanks for your excellent sharing of your observations, experience and experiments. The vines will grow over the top of the bed and may extend into the aisles. Potatoes are always surprising me too. Plus, using less machinery minimizes scarring and scratching—so our sweetpotatoes are not only prettier, they’re fresher longer. No need to cut it up into smaller pieces and wait til it scabs over? On the other hand, the clay soil is a condition in which I’ve never grown potatoes. The skin on freshly dug sweet potatoes is very thin and easily bruised. If growing in a container, I would choose a light soil mix because a heavy soil seems like it might be harder to water appropriately. Sweet potatoes can develop sunscald if left in the sun for several hours. About golf ball size is the smallest seed potatoes that I usually use. It’s just a potato, really, except that it is intended to be used for planting instead of eating. I hope this helps. I can relate to the gopher struggle. To produce a larger number of medium-sized roots, use slips that do not have roots and transplant them directly into a permanent bed as soon as you receive them. Cured sweet potatoes can be carefully wrapped in newspaper and laid in shallow containers, then stored indoors under a bed, in a closet or in a slightly cool room at a temperature of 60-65°F. I started in small containers with sandy loamy soil then moved to a large on the ground planter with thick wire on the bottom. The Cinch Trap is my favorite weapon, as I detailed here: http://gregalder.com/yardposts/the-best-gopher-trap-its-a-cinch/. I have 2 questions: 1- How often do you water them? Slowly-yellowing leaves on your sweet potato plants indicate that your potatoes are ready for harvest. Three months after planting check the roots at the base of the plant with your hand (being careful not to nick or bruise any) to determine their size, then check them weekly. It would be easy to add soil or compost or mulch as the plants get taller. In temperate regions sweet potatoes can be grown in summer if there is about 4 months of consistent warm weather. If the soil stays too wet the roots may rot and if it gets too dry they may become rough or crack. Also, some sweet potatoes are treated to inhibit sprouting. In California, The Alvernaz Farm in Merced County has been a source of slips for many years. Also check out ... UC websites for the Vegetable Research and Information Center (http://vric.ucdavis.edu) and Integrated Pest Management (www.IPM.ucdavis.edu). The best planting time is February. Chemical fertilizers can also be used. Do not wash potatoes to be cured and stored. Learn more: www.cdfa.ca.gov/healthysoilsweek #healthysoilsweek2020 #hsw2020Learn with us during Healthy Soils Week, Nov. 30 – Dec. 4! When to plant Properly harvest sweet potatoes, followed by sound curing and storage methods, to ensure you can enjoy your crop through the winter months. I will let you know if it harvests. If the stems form roots they will produce mini sweet potatoes and the roots that form at the main plant will be smaller and yields may decrease. I want to try my hand at potatoes so will plant them in some type of container. Interesting that you plant directly after harvest.
2020 when to harvest sweet potatoes in southern california