One question – have you have better results here in zones 9/10 with a specific variety? That’s the indicator for harvest time: the potato plant foliage starts dying. If you can, place the container on an electric propagation (heat) mat to keep the planting media 70-75°F. A slightly acidic soil (pH 5.5-6.5) will help suppress pox, a bacterial root disease. The plant grows best when the soil is warm (about 70°F) and the maximum day temperature is 85-95°F. The seed potato with half-inch eyes just emerges faster, that’s all. Do you recommend starting potatoes in SOCAL between May and June? 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. This allows some of the starch in the roots to convert to sugar. Late maturing potatoes include a number of fingerling varieties that can also be grown in zone 9. Hope you harvest some nice potatoes this season! The sweet potato is a tropical vegetable which means it needs a long warm season of 110 days with temperatures of at least 30 degrees Celsius. This may also occur if rootless slips are temporarily planted and later transplanted into a bed. It’s about 3ft deep with soil, and the box is 4’x4’ (it has greenhouse attachments too) . I am ordering plant bags. Interesting that you plant directly after harvest. I’m in Vista, on about 1/3 acre with a yard full of decomposed granite. Required fields are marked *. 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. Plant new slips about 12 inches apart in a row in moist soil. You can leave them till a light frost, but harvest before a hard frost. I have been growing potatoes in southern California for a couple of years. Roots can be harvested when slightly immature if they are the desired size or you can wait until they are fully grown and the vines begin to turn yellow. And its not a bad looking plant in the process. Your email address will not be published. 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. And I’ve never noticed a significant difference in plant performance, disease, or tuber yield. This may be a big surprise. Water often enough to keep the soil around new slips moist, then gradually reduce irrigation frequency as the vines become established. Later this summer I’m going to grow some potatoes in five-gallon pots just to re-experience it. How to Know When It's Time to Harvest Sweet Potatoes. (Sometimes, potato plants flower before their foliage begins to yellow.) Vista sure is a nice place to garden. Potatoes, on the other hand, can nearly grow without you paying attention, and harvesting them is fun like digging for treasure. To side dress, scatter the fertilizer evenly along both sides of a row 6-8 inches from the plants (under a drip line or soaker hose if used for irrigation) then mix it into the surface soil and water well. Harvesting is easier when you can dry out the soil around the potatoes for at least a week or two prior. Did you have any success growing your potatoes? You’ll notice that I don’t cut up my seed potatoes either, as is often suggested. You can make a temporary raised bed by moving soil from aisles to form a long mound about 1 foot high and 3-4 feet wide. (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. Potatoes are a good source of vitamin C. Immediately transplant the slips into a prepared bed. 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. Potatoes sure grow well when the soil has lots of compost so I would choose that, or a fertilizer that includes a lot of compost, to add to the container soil. Two to four drip lines can be run down the length of a bed. Fill the container with a porous media that drains well and retains moisture such as a mixture of peat moss and perlite, potting soil, sawdust or sand. Call in April to find out when slips will arrive, what varieties will be available and the price. I’m going to follow some of the great suggestions stated in the article using Purple or “Blue” potatoes (type 2 diabetes thing). If you use an organic fertilizer, apply it at the rate recommended on the product label. I want to grow potatoes. 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). Irrigate as needed to keep the soil evenly moist and not soggy. These are the plants that grew from the red seed potatoes above. I live in Redlands CA, and they don’t call it RED lands for nothing… very high in clay. To help increase their sweetness, place harvested sweet potatoes in a dark, warm room for at least two weeks before eating. As always, thanks in advance for your advice. If a portable heater, incandescent light bulb or other electrical device is used to heat an enclosed space, check the temperature with a thermometer and take precautions to prevent any flammable material from overheating and catching fire. This is what I often do and it works great. In the past, I’ve used bigger. This crop may not be successful in the coolest microclimates in Sonoma County. in September? You can buy potatoes that were grown specifically to be used as seed. Had great enjoyment growing and eating my first potatoes. Anyhow its been a very gratifying garden year with pounds of good food every day. Sweet potato production in California; Recommended Varieties for Santa Clara County Do not water during the last 3 to 4 weeks before harvest to protect the developing roots. Also, I have a bed that’s been neglected for longer than I care to admit, but you may have given me the incentive to wake up the soil a bit given your suggestion that you don’t need to dig all that deep and can simply mound up instead; nice idea! by Greg Alder | Jun 1, 2015 | Vegetables | 33 comments. It plagues my yard too. The only risk is that a cold storm could come through in December and frost the foliage back, but by that time usually the plants are big enough that the tubers are big enough to harvest anyway. 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. Nice article! The sweet potato is a vining plant grown for its thick, starchy roots. Begin by digging about a foot from the main stem and work your way inward. “Seed” potato originally from the grocery store. Beware of rootstock suckers on citrus trees. (What a waste! At first, I wasn’t sure this would saturate a big enough area in my sandy loam soil, but it works just fine. what are your thoughts on using the bags vs ground? In California, The Alvernaz Farm in Merced County has been a source of slips for many years. Slips that have some roots when planted will produce fewer new roots which will result in a smaller number of large sweet potatoes. 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. Mix in well composted organic matter and a general-purpose fertilizer with a moderate amount of nitrogen and a relatively high level of phosphorous. Great. Let me know what you end up harvesting. Harvest sweet potatoes. Susie, we have clay soil also. Regarding the potato selection. The vines do not tolerate frost and the roots sustain chilling injury at temperatures below 50°F. SOUTHWEST Harvest sweet potatoes as early as June and July in some parts of the Southwest. The tubers then pop out of the dirt very cleanly — no cakey mud on them that needs to be scrubbed off. It got planted in our small yard and it is “growing like a weed”. I’ve never kept careful track of it. Thanks! And you can put fast draining soil in the bags, which might make growing potatoes easier if you have a heavy soil in your garden. Sweet potatoes are an easy and productive crop for Alabama Gardens. One exception is the Sand Hill Preservation Center (phone 563-246-2299) in Calamus, Iowa. I was planning to use 15 gallon containers, but you’re thinking 5 gallons might be adequate? They contain nutrients that are immediately available for roots to absorb. Sweet potatoes grow best in light, sandy soils. Hi Greg, first off thanks for your excellent sharing of your observations, experience and experiments. The entire crop can be harvested at one time or only a few plants can be harvested as roots are needed. The best planting time is February. I’m planning on trying potatoes this year. Here’s more of his potato growing advice: https://woodprairie.com/downloads/Growing_Guide_2020.pdf. Press damp soil against the stem and apply enough water to thoroughly wet the soil. Finding a good source of disease-free slips can be difficult. However, in our area, it is more likely that the weather will get cold. Chemical fertilizers can also be used. Also, some sweet potatoes are treated to inhibit sprouting. Typically, most varieties will take about three to four months to mature – about 90 to 120 days, but there are some newer varieties that take less time and bred specifically for northern climates (such as Georgia Jet, Vardaman, Centennial). Most retail nurseries do not sell slips. The plant’s foliage is also edible. So Jennifer, balance the above considerations to figure your best harvest window. Slowly-yellowing leaves on your sweet potato plants indicate that your potatoes are ready for harvest. Easily grow Sweet Potatoes in your home garden in Containers. 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. We live right on the coast – can’t get any closer – so we have sandy soil. That’s my sense, anyway. The center ships slips by ground delivery from late May to mid-July. Many meals almost everything on the plate is from the garden, and that is an incredible good feeling. Cured roots can be stored in a dry, dark, well-ventilated space at about 60°F for up to several months. When you are ready to harvest, cut the stems near the base of each plant and remove the vines from the bed. Growing from February takes advantage of the rainy season, so less watering is necessary. Slips can usually be planted from April to June in coastal areas of San Diego County and from May to June in inland areas. However, they are usually not labeled with the variety name, and if they are, it may not be correct. More links. As your plants grow, you can harvest and eat the tender sweet potato vine tips. You can grow 10 pounds of potatoes in a large growing bag or bucket. (I often plant my potatoes under fruit trees rather than in a garden bed because it saves space. Young tender leaves can be used as a substitute for spinach or chard, in soups and stews, or stir fried as a vegetable. This comes from Jim Gerritsen. 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%. Sweet potato shoots should be started inside now, for planting when the soil warms to about 60 degrees. I would think that you’d have to be extra careful not to overwater and rot the seed potatoes in clay soil also. Potatoes seem to like following corn. This is a good use for roots damaged during harvest. Notify me via e-mail if anyone answers my comment. I haven’t done so for many years. Wish it included some thought on the soil that is very clay I live in Southern California but close to the mountains in about 4,000 for elevation. The extra work in digging low and deep to harvest and 2. Gophers are notorious in southern California and they seem to be able to smell potatoes a mile away. Also check out ... UC websites for the Vegetable Research and Information Center (http://vric.ucdavis.edu) and Integrated Pest Management (www.IPM.ucdavis.edu). Got “organic seed” from Trader Joes. Avocado trees get sunburned — what to do? Be aware that a plastic bucket or towel that becomes dry may catch fire if it is near a source of heat. If you want to find out when your favorite fruit (strawberries, apples, blueberries, peaches, etc. As the vines spread, periodically lift them a little above the ground to keep the stems from rooting in the soil. 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. , Katahdin, and they seem to be scrubbed off even clearer when to harvest sweet potatoes in southern california window gallons per hour are. 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