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Growing Sweet Potato, also Kumara

Jan F M A M J J A S O N Dec
                       

Not recommended for growing in New Zealand - cool/mountain regions

  • Plant shoots or cuttings (Slips). Best planted at soil temperatures between 17°C and 35°C. (Show °F/in)
  • Space plants: 40 - 60 cm apart
  • Harvest in 15-17 weeks.
  • Compatible with (can grow beside): Best in Separate bed
  • New shoots on Kumara
  • Well grown Kumara

Sweet Potatoes require a long warm growing season. Plant in free draining loose soil . Fertilise before planting but no more when the plants are growing as it will encourage vine growth. They will go for miles and you will get no tubers. If they do start spreading, lift the vines off the ground to prevent them rooting.

Mound up the soil about 20cm (8 in) before planting Let the plants die down, (leaves die or turn yellow) before harvesting the tubers. Dry them in the sun for a few days . then store in a cool dry place for up to five months.

Culinary hints - cooking and eating Sweet Potato

Use mashed, boiled, roasted, baked or fried. Or use in soups, pies, casseroles, curries and salads.

Your comments and tips

13 Jan 20, Paul (South Africa - Dry summer sub-tropical climate)
I m interested in Sweet potato farming where can i get the seedlings or cuttings in the Western cape or eastern cape (NOTE - Gardenate is not intended for farmers )
15 Jan 20, Another gardener (South Africa - Summer rainfall climate)
You would have to look around your local area and find some sweet potato growers. I assume you are just wanting to plant a few. If a lot then ring your agricultural department. You need the new fresh part of the vines, about 1/2 m long, take all the leaves off except the last 3-4 where the tip is growing. Make a furrow in the soil and place the slip along it and cover the vine but leave the last few leaves out of the ground. Lots of water for the first 10 days.
05 Jan 20, MICHAEL PETERSON (Australia - tropical climate)
I planted sweet potato a couple of months ago and vines have started growing and no tubes, should I pull them all out and start again or is there something I can do to save them .
06 Jan 20, anon (Australia - tropical climate)
They say about 15-17 weeks to grow. You should have some tubers developing after about 10-12 weeks. Mine are about 10 weeks old and I dug out one about 5 (?)
24 Oct 19, anon (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
I talked to a commercial grower yesterday. Fertilise the ground before you plant. What fertiliser you use depends on how fertile your soil is. You would need a soil test to really find that out. But fertiliser with a reasonable amount of N, good P and high K. Mix this through the soil profile. If you cut off slips, make them about .4m long, strip off most of the leaves but leave the growing head part. Dig a furrow 50-75mm deep and place the slip in the furrow (place the slip level in the soil). Cover the slip over with soil but leave the growing bit sticking out of the soil. You could put the slips in a jar of water for a week or so to start the roots growing. Once you have planted the slip make sure it is watered for the next week, lIke each day. The soil around the slip has to be wet for the roots to shoot and grow. After a week or so you should notice the plant growing. The slip will produce sweet potatoes from where you stripped the leaves off giving a higher yield of crop. If the vines grow really long then I believe too high N, but I was told they need plenty of N. I was mainly asking about the placement of the slip but will ask more about the fertiliser next time.
26 Jul 19, Laurie Whelan (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
What fertilizer should you use prior to planting?
29 Jul 19, (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Go on the internet and find out what N P and K do for plants. Then think about what you are growing with sweet potatoes.
04 Oct 19, Rachel Barley (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
They're ON the internet, anonymous.
30 Jun 19, Ev (Australia - tropical climate)
I find that the purple ones grow the best in my garden. Problem is I have miles of plant and not so many tubers. Going to use some of the advice I have read on this page and feed with seaweed.
03 Jul 19, (Australia - arid climate)
Don't fertilise with nitrogen.
Showing 1 - 10 of 226 comments

I talked to a commercial grower yesterday. Fertilise the ground before you plant. What fertiliser you use depends on how fertile your soil is. You would need a soil test to really find that out. But fertiliser with a reasonable amount of N, good P and high K. Mix this through the soil profile. If you cut off slips, make them about .4m long, strip off most of the leaves but leave the growing head part. Dig a furrow 50-75mm deep and place the slip in the furrow (place the slip level in the soil). Cover the slip over with soil but leave the growing bit sticking out of the soil. You could put the slips in a jar of water for a week or so to start the roots growing. Once you have planted the slip make sure it is watered for the next week, lIke each day. The soil around the slip has to be wet for the roots to shoot and grow. After a week or so you should notice the plant growing. The slip will produce sweet potatoes from where you stripped the leaves off giving a higher yield of crop. If the vines grow really long then I believe too high N, but I was told they need plenty of N. I was mainly asking about the placement of the slip but will ask more about the fertiliser next time.

- anon

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This planting guide is a general reference intended for home gardeners. We recommend that you take into account your local conditions in making planting decisions. GardenGrow is not a farming or commercial advisory service. For specific advice, please contact your local plant suppliers, gardening groups, or agricultural department. The information on this site is presented in good faith, but we take no responsibility as to the accuracy of the information provided.
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