If you’re looking for a fun and easy way to get into gardening, why not try square-foot gardening?
You can grow varieties of vegetables in your square-foot garden, including sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes are nutrient-rich vegetables that are easy to grow.
Also read: Square Foot Gardening Peas [Techniques to Grow]
What Is Square Foot Gardening?
Square foot gardening (SFG) is a great way to make the most of your gardening space. It is a method of intensive gardening that allows you to grow more in less space.
Square foot gardening is a great way to grow vegetables, herbs, and flowers. It is also great to teach children about gardening and how food grows.
It involves dividing your garden into square sections and planting different crops in each square foot section.
For example, if you have a 4×4 area, you would have 16 square feet. You can then decide how many of each type of plant you want to grow in that space.
This can be a great way to maximize yield, as you can choose crops that will do well in the space available.
It also helps to make the most of your soil, as you can add amendments to each section as needed.
SFG is an excellent way to get the most out of your gardening space and can also help save money on planting and watering costs.
In addition, this gardening method applies to any gardening foundation, including raised beds, containers, and traditional in-ground gardens.
Square foot gardening is a great way to start gardening, and it can be easily scaled up or down to suit your needs.
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Square Foot Gardening With Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are a popular and versatile vegetable used in several dishes, from savory to sweet.
This starchy vegetable will need full sunlight and well-drained soil to thrive. Be sure to water regularly, especially during the hot summer months.
Harvesting generally takes place in the fall, after the leaves have begun to turn brown.
To harvest, dig up the tubers and brush off any excess dirt.
Sweet potatoes can then be stored in a cool, dark place and enjoyed throughout the winter months.
Setting Up Your Square Foot Garden
One of the great things about gardening is that you can tailor it to your own space and needs. If you have a small yard, or even just a patio or balcony, square-foot gardening is a great option.
Here’s how to set up your square-foot garden for sweet potatoes.
Pick Your Spot
You’ll need to choose a spot that gets full sun for most of the day. Sweet potatoes need at least six hours of sunlight each day to thrive.
Prepare Your Foundation
If you’re using raised beds, ensure they’re at least eight inches deep. If you’re growing sweet potatoes in containers, choose pots at least 12 inches wide and 18 inches deep.
Fill your beds with a high-quality potting mix. Be sure to mix in some compost or aged manure to help provide nutrients for your plants.
Plant Your Sweet Potatoes
Once your foundation is ready, it’s time to plant your sweet potato slips. Plant them 12 inches apart, and bury them so that only the top leaves are poking above the soil surface.
Water well and keep the soil moist throughout the growing season.
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Caring for Your Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are a delicious and nutritious addition to any meal. But before you can enjoy them, you need to put in some work to get them growing.
Soil and Fertilization
Sweet potatoes are a popular and versatile vegetable that can be used in a wide variety of dishes.
They are relatively easy to grow, but they do require some special care when it comes to soil and fertilization.
Sweet potatoes need loose, well-drained soil with a high organic matter content.
The best way to achieve this is to mix in plenty of compost or aged manure before planting. This will help the sweet potatoes grow big and strong.
Once the plants are in the ground, they should be fertilized every few weeks with a balanced fertilizer such as 10-10-10.
In addition, sweet potatoes benefit from being mulched with straw or hay to help keep the roots moist and cool.
With proper care, sweet potato plants will produce an abundance of delicious tubers that can be enjoyed all season long.
Read: Square Foot Gardening Eggplant [How to Care]
One of the most important things to remember when watering sweet potato plants is not to overdo it.
This can become a bit finicky as sweet potatoes grow best in zones 10 – 12 which can get quite hot – making watering a very important step. These zones include states such as North Carolina, Louisiana, California, and Texas.
Sweet potatoes need moist soil, but they don’t like having wet feet. This means that you should water the plants deeply and then allow the soil to dry out somewhat before watering again.
It’s also important to ensure that the plants get enough water during the flowering and fruiting stages, as this is when the potatoes are formed.
If you’re unsure whether or not your plants are getting enough water, take a look at the leaves. If they’re drooping or wilting, that’s a sign they need a drink.
As a general rule sweet potatoes require 1-2 inches of water per week, so make sure to keep the soil evenly moistened throughout the growing season.
Especially during hot summer days, you may need to adjust your watering frequency. Keep the soil moist but not soggy, and be sure to let it dry out somewhat between watering.
Sunlight and Spacing
While sweet potatoes are often associated with warm, tropical regions, sweet potatoes can be quite tolerant of cooler temperatures. However, they do require a fair amount of sunlight to produce a good crop.
In general, sweet potatoes need at least six hours of direct sunlight per day to thrive. If you live in an area with shorter days or cooler weather, you may need to supplement your sweet potato diet with artificial light.
You’ll also want to plant the sweet potato slips about 12 inches apart in rows about 3 feet apart. You will be able to plant up to 16 slips in one square foot of space.
This is perfect for your square-foot garden and will give them enough room to grow without crowding each other out.
Also, check: Square Foot Gardening Raspberries [All About To Know]
Preventing Pests and Diseases
Sweet potato plants are susceptible to several pests and diseases, which can quickly ruin a bountiful harvest.
One of the most common problems is blight, which causes the leaves to turn yellow and the stems to rot.
This disease is often spread by insects, such as aphids, and can be difficult to control once it takes hold.
Another common issue is root-knot nematodes, which are tiny parasitic worms that damage the roots of sweet potatoes, causing them to yield fewer tubers.
It’s key to start with healthy plants and carefully monitor your crop for signs of trouble.
Be sure to take the necessary preventative measures to save your crop at the first sight of pests or diseases.
The Best Sweet Potato Varieties for Square Foot Gardening
One of the great things about sweet potatoes is that they come in many shapes, sizes, and colors.
While all sweet potatoes are delicious, some varieties are better suited for square-foot gardening than others.
Beauregard Sweet Potatoes
The Beauregard sweet potato is a popular choice for gardeners because it has a high yield and is relatively disease-resistant.
This sweet potato is known for its bright red skin and sweet, moist flesh. This variety is relatively easy to grow, and it can be successfully grown in a wide range of climates.
Beauregard sweet potatoes can be planted in early spring and typically mature within 90 days.
The plants should be spaced about 12 inches apart and need full sun and well-drained soil to thrive.
Once the plants have flowered, you can harvest the tubers. They can be stored in a cool, dark place for up to six months.
When cooked, Beauregard sweet potatoes have a delicate flavor that makes them a favorite among both children and adults.
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Garnet Sweet Potatoes
The Garnet Sweet Potato is a variety of sweet potato prized for its bright orange flesh and sweet flavor.
While it is typically grown in tropical and subtropical areas, it can also be grown in cooler environments if given the right conditions.
The Garnet Sweet Potato prefers full sun and well-draining soil. It should be regularly watered, but you may dry it out between watering.
The tuber can be harvested after around four months.
When selecting a Garnet Sweet Potato for planting, look for a firm one free of blemishes. With proper care, the Garnet Sweet Potato will provide a bountiful harvest enjoyed fresh, baked, or mashed.
Vardaman Sweet Potatoes
The Vardaman Sweet Potato is best suited for growing in states like Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana.
It’s a white sweet potato with orange flesh. It has a high sugar content and is very moist when cooked. This variety of sweet potatoes is also resistant to disease and pests.
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- Square Foot Gardening Onions [Best Tips & Tricks]
- Square Foot Gardening Parsley [How & Where to Grow]
- Square Foot Gardening Cucumbers [Helpful Tips]
- Square Foot Gardening Bush Beans [Best Methods to Grow]
- Square Foot Gardening Kale
- What You Need To Know About Square Foot Gardening Spacing
- Square Foot Gardening Garlic [Methods To Grow]
If you’re interested in trying your hand at growing sweet potatoes, square-foot gardening is a great option.
This type of gardening involves dividing your growing area into small cells, each of which is used to grow a specific type of plant.
With a little care, you can enjoy a bountiful harvest of sweet potatoes from your square-foot garden this year!
Frequently Asked Questions
Gardening can sometimes be tricky, but we are here to help. Here are some of the most asked questions to start your planting journey.
How many sweet potato plants should you grow to feed a family?
The amount you grow depends on a few factors, such as family size and eating frequency.
A general rule is that one plant will yield about two pounds of sweet potatoes. Eight plants should be sufficient to feed a family of four if you’re looking for a starting point.
What are the different ways to eat sweet potatoes?
Sweet potatoes are a versatile food that can be prepared in many ways. Here are some of the most popular eating methods:
1. On a sandwich
2. Sweet potato fries
5. In a soup
Do sweet potatoes grow better in containers or on the ground?
Both methods will work, although sweet potatoes in the ground are typically more successful. This is because sweet potatoes need a lot of space to grow and spread their roots.
You can try growing sweet potatoes in a large container if you have limited space. Just make sure that the container is deep enough and has drainage holes.
What’s the best way to store sweet potatoes?
Store your sweet potatoes in a cool, dark place. An ideal storage spot would be a pantry or cupboard away from heat sources.
You can also use plastic bags, baskets, or even boxes. Just make sure that there is good ventilation to prevent the potatoes from rotting.
How long will sweet potatoes last?
Properly stored, sweet potatoes can last for several months. However, they will start to sprout after a certain amount of time.
If you notice that your sweet potatoes are starting to sprout, you can still eat them. Just cut off the sprouts before cooking.
Do sweet potatoes need to be peeled before cooking?
No, many of the nutrients come from the skin.
If you decide to peel your sweet potatoes, use a sharp knife or vegetable peeler. Be careful not to remove too much of the flesh because this will make them more challenging to cook.
Can sweet potatoes be frozen?
Yes, this is a great way to preserve them for later use.
To freeze sweet potatoes, wash and peel them. Cut the potatoes into even-sized pieces and blanch them in boiling water for three minutes.
After blanching, place the sweet potatoes in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze them until solid.
I’m Elsa, and I love gardening. I started GardeningElsa.com as a resource for other gardeners, and I offer expert advice on gardening topics such as plants, flowers, herbs, and vegetable gardening. On my website, I share my latest tips and tricks for creating beautiful gardens. When I’m not working on my website, you can find me in my own garden, tending to my plants and flowers. Read more about me.