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SWEET POTATO GROWING INFORMATION
© Frances and Jeff Michaels
BOTANICAL NAME: Ipomoea batatas
Central America or South America
This is a trailing vine, it is a vigorous grower with attractive lobed leaves and pink morning-glory type
flowers. Sweet potatoes do well in both sandy and loamy soils with a pH of 5.2-6.7. The area should be
frost-free for at least five months with warm days and nights. Planting sweet potatoes in a different area
of the garden each year will reduce disease. Harvest when the tops turn yellow or before the plants are
damaged by frost, as this can make them vulnerable to rot.
young leaves and tips can be steamed as a spinach substitute, the
tubers are delicious baked, made into soup, used as chips and added to curries.
sweet potatoes can be a useful groundcover in frost-free
permaculture orchards. However, if you live in an area with an abundance of wildlife this is unlikely to be
successful as bandicoots, brush turkeys and wallabies will all eat them.
Recommended planting time:
Wait for the beginning of the warm weather to plant.
Tubers should have begun to sprout before planting. Planting too early into a cold, wet soil will cause them to
Plant 7 cm deep.
Plant the tubers or slips 20 cm apart.
The tubers can be planted directly in the soil but it is
better to produce sprouts or 'slips' that are then planted. To start your own slips, place the tubers on a
raised bed or in a box in a warm, sheltered spot. Cover the tubers with 5 cm of damp sand and when the shoots
are 15 cm long, they are cut from the parent plant and planted out immediately. Plants raised from tip cuttings
generally store better and are relatively free of disease.
Tubers are ready to harvest when the vines die back in late autumn. Excavate carefully to avoid damaging the
skin, start a fair way back from the leaf stem. Tubers can be stored for many months in a cool, dry place.
Not to NORFOLK ISLAND, NT, SA, TAS or WA
SORRY but due to quarantine restrictions between Australian States no plants at all can be ordered
by residents of Norfolk Island
. These restrictions are very important as they prevent
the spread of plant pests and diseases. No potatoes, garlic, shallots, strawberries or tubestock
can be sent to South Australia
. No tubestock can be sent to
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