Skip to main content. Sweet potatoes are surprisingly easy to grow in different regions of North America and, if properly cured, they have quite a memorable flavor. American Journal of Botany 28:271-273. Generally, sweet potatoes need a long and hot growing season, at least four months. The potatoes require a growing season of 90 to 112 days. Dig. To give them a head start, sweet potatoes are often planted in raised rows, about 8 inches high. Roasted, boiled, mashed or in a salad – no matter how you serve yours, they will always taste better dug out of your own garden. Grade. Here in the South (zone 7b) I plant them in the middle of May and harvest sweet potatoes in the middle of October. Examples of Sweet Potato Varieties Photo: North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission . If your summer is short, pick an early variety like Beauregard or Georgia Jet to ensure you’ll have enough time to harvest and cure your potatoes before frost arrives. Mulch the area around the plants and water them thoroughly, but gradually decrease how much water they get. This can be a good strategy in areas with the potato beetle, as the insects will go into hibernation before the potatoes sprout. We are a grower, packer, and shipper of North Carolina sweet potatoes. PHOTO: FOTOLIA. Weed … The climate is perfect for producing the highest quality sweet potatoes available. Here are resources specific to the sweet potato industry, which includes a crisis communication workbook. I start them indoors with potatoes grown the year before in our garden. It only takes 1.5 to 2 hours to completely change over and adjust the transplanter from planting tobacco to planting sweet potatoes… Some Zone 7 gardeners plant their potatoes in late fall. Tall morningglory, Ipomoea purpurea (L.) Roth—flower or foe? Sweet potatoes will grow from May through late October. When to Harvest Sweet Potatoes. The climate, the season, and potential pests all affect the selection of what and when to plant. Darlington, H.T. If your soil is too dense or rocky, consider planting sweet potatoes in raised beds filled with a sandy but rich potting soil. This is typically how sweet potatoes are grown! NC is the #1 producer of sweet potatoes in the us. This gives them time to harvest before the first frost, so the potatoes are in storage as the weather turns cool. Johnston County leads all others in producing sweet potatoes. These beds are planted in late March, nurtured, and cared for until the sprouts can be clipped for planting in mid to late May. This is not a "plant and forget" crop, but one that requires expertise. Slips are sprouts that develop their own roots. Planting Sweet Potatoes. To keep the temperature regular, you may need to place the jar in a sunny window and replace cooler water with warm water 2 times every day. The sixty-year period for Dr. Beal’s seed viability experiment. This helps the soil warm faster and keeps them well-drained. More than 40 percent of the national supply of sweet potatoes comes from North Carolina. Sweet potato is a hot weather plant, but to be able to plant them when the ground is warm the slips need to be growing now. Zones 2a through 6b – Plant your potatoes in April and May. DeFelice, M.S. If no one … It is particular about its planting media and prefers soil while others can tolerate poor soil. Learning how to grow sweet potatoes is surprisingly easy – just a few plants provide a plentiful harvest. About 90% of North Carolina's sweet … The North Carolina sweet potato is the envy of all other potatoes worldwide. The tubers are short and chunky compared to other varieties, but it is plentiful in yield having 6 sweets resulting from one plant. Zone 7a – Plant from January through March and again in August for a fall crop. Almost any type of vegetable or fruit can be grown successfully provided you choose appropriate varieties and plant at the right time of year. Western North Carolina is a wonderful place to garden. For more information on sweetpotato storage, see Postharvest Handling of Sweet Potatoes, (NC State Extension publication AG-413-10). North Carolina: Vegetable Planting Calendar Planting vegetable seeds or transplants at the correct time is important to getting the most out of your garden. Buy or obtain the roots of sweet potatoes (Ipomoea batatas) in early fall in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 9 through 11. Sweet potatoes will grow in poor soil, but deformed roots may develop in heavy clay or long and stringy in sandy dirt. Sweet potatoes (Ipomoea batatas) are in the morningglory family. Today we'll show you how to grow sweet potatoes from slips. Continue the same way until all of your slips are planted. Before planting, improve your native soil by mixing in several inches of aged compost or other rich organic matter. To grow your own plants, place several sweet potato roots about one inch apart in a hotbed and cover with two inches of sand or light soil. Planting Dates For Potatoes By Zone. According to the Virginia Cooperative Extension Publication No. 2 Place sweet potato roots in a hotbed. Sweet potatoes are grown mostly in the Coastal Plain region, where well-drained, sandy soil benefits this root vegetable. Covington sweet potatoes account for 90 percent of the sweet potatoes planted in North Carolina and 20 percent grown nationwide. But the reason for planting potatoes in autumn will differ greatly depending on where you live. Check that the slips are leafy and over 3 inches (7.6 cm) tall. The slips take about eight weeks to mature, so you should be starting sweet potato slips about six weeks before your last frost date in the spring. Gardeners in North Carolina, the biggest sweet potato-producing state, time their plantings so the roots will mature by late September and early October. Do not chit the seed potatoes. Western North Carolina Planting Calendar for Annual Vegetables, Fruits, and Herbs . Sweet potatoes can’t handle a hard frost but they might benefit from a light frost. Knowing your first and last frost dates will help you start your vegetable seeds at the right time. ... Sweet potatoes grow under the ground and are the root of the plant. All of this makes them perfect for growing in the low desert of Arizona (yay!) Carefully fill the hole with dirt so that you don't bruise the new plant. References Skip to References. The first thing you should know about growing sweet potatoes is that they love hot weather! At Millstream Farms, sweet potatoes are our way of life. If your area gets hotter than 95, plant your potatoes so they have long enough to mature before the heat hits. However, many people prefer to keep the large and medium-sized potatoes for eating instead of planting. Space sweet potato plants 12 to 18 inches apart in damp, loamy soil with a pH of 5.8 to 6.2. NC State researchers have determined a post-harvest treatment that significantly reduces crop loss due to internal necrosis in Covington sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes are started from plants called "slips." Being the top sweet potato producing state in the country, we rarely face a shortage of NC-grown sweet potatoes. Zone 7b – Plant from January through March. There are hundreds of varieties of sweet potatoes, in colors ranging from white, orange, and red to purple. Transplant the slips as soon as the soil warms up after the last frost to allow the maximal warm-weather growing period. When you have completely covered it with soil, gently press the plant and surrounding dirt to set the plant and to remove any remaining air pockets. Today more than 40% of the national supply of sweet potatoes comes from NC. Here in the South (again, I am in central NC, zone 7b), I plant my sweet potatoes in the middle of May and harvest in the middle of October or towards the end of October. 4. This plant loves warm weather and should be planted when the soil reaches 65 F. (18 C.). He plants 400 acres tobacco and 500 acres sweet potatoes. Starting in August rows are plowed and sweet potatoes are flipped on top of the ground. If you live where winters are mild, you probably want to plant potatoes in fall so that you can take advantage of the cooler season and harvest in winter. The humble potato is a staple on many dinner tables around New Zealand. Some say that it improves their sweetness. If you live in cooler climates you might still be able to grow sweet potatoes with a … When planting potatoes the larger the seed tuber is the more energy the plant will have to start growing with. 2001. Follow our potato growing guide to plant Tui Certified Seed Potatoes in garden beds or containers, and you'll be harvesting a bumper crop of homegrown potatoes this season. 426-331 we can plant sweet potatoes in our area up to the last week in June. A long hot growing season is ideal for growing these tuber-like roots. Sweet potatoes begin as sprouts from selected potatoes arranged in growing beds. ‘Jewel’ is considered the “Queen of Sweet Potatoes” as it is the leading spud planted in North Carolina for commercial growers. They are rewarding and relatively easy to grow. Sun and Temperature Requirements. Planting Potatoes in Fall. When to harvest sweet potatoes depends largely on the seasonal growing. North Carolina is one of the top producers of sweet potatoes. Till the soil about 12 inches deep, then plant your sweet potato slips 12-24 inches apart and just deep enough to cover the root ball. Sweet potatoes need a long warm growing season, are heat tolerant and drought resistant, and have very few pests or diseases. It’s perfectly fine to save the small egg-sized potatoes to plant your next crop with. Plant in a 12-inch trench half-filled with rotten leaves. According to the USDA, North Carolina harvested nearly 95,000 acres of sweet potatoes in 2016, nearly 30,000 more acres than California, Louisiana and Mississippi combined. Frost and cold weather can hurt sweet potatoes at harvest time even though you might think they're insulated underground. Sweet Potatoes are ready to dig 3-4 months after sprouts are transplanted. The best time to plant sweet potatoes is about a month after the last frost of the season. Topics discussed in the brochures are field practices, packing facility sanitation, human health and hygiene, animals, animal byproducts, biosolids, site selection, and water quality. County Centers; View All Topics; Contact Us; Give Now; Menu. One plant can produce 2.5 lb of sweet potatoes, and 20 feet of row can produce 100 lb or more. NC State’s Mike Boyette has spent decades improving the value of the North Carolina sweet potato industry including work on controlled storage facilities, value-add products, and measuring the shape and size of sweet potatoes. It’s the sweet potato. Pender County Center place 801 S Walker St, Burgaw, NC 28425 HOURS: MON-FRI Closed Today (910) 259-1235 phone (910) 259-1235 Closed Today. The Extension office is open 8 AM to 5 PM with limited staff. Plant sweet potatoes in warm soil about a month after the last spring frost. Sweet potatoes need heat to grow, so if it's too cold outside, keep the potato indoors. 1941. Varieties. How to Start a Sweet Potato Slip . Each brochure looks at food safety practices in sweet potato production. Sweet potatoes are THE best potatoes to grow because they're delicious, packed with vitamins and minerals, and are really a step up from the regular, old potatoes. 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