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Info needed on planting sweet potatoes

Sun Feb 03, 2013 5:32 pm

To start with a little back ground. My neighbors back yard was completely over grown with weeds that were on their way to becoming saplings. He had the yard and I had the cub. I convinced him to let me take down part of the fence between the yards and allow me to reclaim his bak yard. That was the beginning of a great friend ship. That happened about five or six years ago. He passed away from pnumonia last feburary just after his 70th birthday. He always wanted to plant sweet potatoes but the soil just was never up to par. I have trucked in a couple loads of compost every year and I think this year will be the year to try planting them. His wife has talked to me and wants me to plant the garden this year.

So I need to know the best planting time for My area of Va? Or is it determined by the soil temp? How deep do they go when planted how many or how far apart in the row? Whats the best row spaceing. Garden will be 40 feet by 60 feet. Half of the garden gets shade in the after noon. I have about a foot of good rich soil and plan on building up the rows a little.

Re: Info needed on planting sweet potatoes

Sun Feb 03, 2013 5:39 pm

Can't answer for Virginia, but down where I grew up, Valentines Day was the time to plant potatoes.

We would put 4 toothpicks in the sweet potatoes so that they would sit in a plastic cup, then pour in water about half way. Then it will sprout and send out runners. It's the runners we would plant. Cut them in six inch sections and let them sit out a few hours or until wilt sets in. Then we would lay the runners out along the row and push them in the center into the ground about an inch and water well.

Re: Info needed on planting sweet potatoes

Sun Feb 03, 2013 6:14 pm

We only plant 12 to 15 thousand hills of sweet taters every year, so I guess I can help you out on this :D
We plamt the middle of May, some wait until the first of June so they want get too big, we plant the slips 12 inches a part. They are very easy to manage and are fool proof. Beauregard is the type we grow for the most part, they are less stringy and bigger than the maple leafs. We do plant some of the maple leaf as that is what granddaddy grew. I will be glad to help any way I can. I expect we can save you some slips if you like as we have a few hot houses
Boss

Re: Info needed on planting sweet potatoes

Wed Feb 06, 2013 3:55 am

Here in Central IL., the ground is too cold until May so thats when we try to get starts going and transplanted. As Boss says, plant about a foot apart in the row,---row width we use is 5 or 6 feet so we have room to get a tractor and digger down the rows without running over any of the rows!--- you have to handle them with care so as to not bruise them if you plan on storing them for long periods of time.
I probably overdo the planting depth, but usually go 4 or 5 inches---then put lots of water in the hole followed by the plant,---cover, press soil down around plants to expel air and get good soil to plant contact and then start batteling weeds!!
we usually plant Beauregard for the orange type and O'Henry for the white type plus a smaller white kind with no name that is a smaller shorter vine type with taters in a tight group around the main plant making them easy to find without digging up the whole field hunting for them!---Georgia Jets grow here, BUT split so bad that we dont plant them anymore.---they were good kind as far as flavor.--used to plant Centennials but cant get a start of them again.

BOSS!!!--- How many acres of sweets do you plant?---Thats a lot-O-plants! LOL!!! thanks;sonny

Re: Info needed on planting sweet potatoes

Wed Feb 06, 2013 5:58 am

we plant closer rows than you do Sonny
Image

We get up every other row and come back and get the ones we skipped. Works well and makes irrigation much easier. We use a new Holland transplanter. Puts the water down as we plant. You are planting a root, fool proof as I said before. You cant mess it up.

Boss

Re: Info needed on planting sweet potatoes

Wed Feb 06, 2013 6:00 am

Oh that is 8,000 in that field
Boss

Re: Info needed on planting sweet potatoes

Wed Feb 06, 2013 1:47 pm

Dang, I think I need me a transplanter. Be nice fer taters and sweet taters. :idea: I like you field David, the terminology is different but the result is the same.

So, with sweet taters you only plant the root runners and not the tater itself? When we plant taters we usually quarter up the spud and with one or two eyes per quarter. Going to try sweet taters again this year maybe. Em loves them baked and as sweet tater fries. :D

Re: Info needed on planting sweet potatoes

Wed Feb 06, 2013 2:02 pm

You bed down the sweet taters Rudi, Then they have slips as we call em, you pull the slips and plant them[ roots]
By bedding down, I mean a hot bed, the whole taters are placed in the bottom close to each other and covered with a special blend of dirt and other things :D They are then covered with glass windows. After it warms up we remove the windows and use remake covers , they have to be watered regularly. You really have to be on your ps and qs when the weather warms up or you will fry em. We have ours on wheeled trailers and move them from sun to shade as needed
Oh it takes about 2 hours to plant an acre of taters with the New Holland
Boss

Re: Info needed on planting sweet potatoes

Wed Feb 06, 2013 3:12 pm

Boy boss thats sure is a nice looking field of potatoes.

Re: Info needed on planting sweet potatoes

Thu Feb 07, 2013 12:01 am

David:

For us that would be cold framing I would think. Not sure what you mean by remake covers. Pics would be nice :idea: We do it in a portable hot house or in a greenhouse. As the temps warm up we raise the cold frame during the day and close em again at night so they don't get chilled/frosted. I am hoping in the next year or two that we will have the greenhouse for hot bedding/cold framing the veggies. Yup different terms but same idea. What is the mix you use for sprouting?

Re: Info needed on planting sweet potatoes

Thu Feb 07, 2013 10:50 am

Boss, do you use decomposing manure in your bed for the heat? Also down here I have seen people that plant a lot of sweet potatos dip the slips in a tub of mud before setting out. This wad of mud kept the root wet and you didn't have to water them.
Roy

Re: Info needed on planting sweet potatoes

Thu Feb 07, 2013 12:57 pm

Roy when planting as many as we do it would take for ever to dip them in mud. We do add some things to the water when we plant them. We use bought top soil and peat to make the bed.

Re: Info needed on planting sweet potatoes

Thu Feb 07, 2013 2:41 pm

Rudi, I think that David was talking about Remay http://www.highmowingseeds.com/The-Joys-of-Remay.html a fabric developed by a division of Dupont Fibers in Old Hickory TN, near Nashville.
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