Learn how to grow and harvest Sweet Potatoes in Houston.
Sweet Potato season in Houston star in April/May. My favorite variety by far is Beauregard. Very productive and easy to grow. I usually order from Steele, you can put your order earlier in the year, and they will send the plants at the appropriate time. I like to plant sweet potato slips instead of cuts (like you do with potatoes) because squirrels dig them up and eat them. You can keep the slips for a couple of weeks until they are ready to plant.
After preparing the soil with Microlife fertilizer, make small hills 1 foot apart and plant one slip on each hill. Water every day until you see new growth, the water every other day for a week, and then just 2-3 times a week.
Sweet potatoes are an excellent cover crop; they will cover a bed protecting the soil through the summer. I usually do one weeding once the vines are established and cover half the soil. Then just let them run. You can trim the vines so they stay out of the aisles in the garden or pull them back to the beds.
We harvest 100 days after planting; the recommended is between 90-120 days.
Two weeks before harvesting, stop all additional watering. The idea is that this allows the sweet potato skin to harden, making it more durable and less prone to rot. They recommended cutting the leaves and vines two days before for the same purpose, but they did not have time to do it.
To harvest, cut and throw away all the leaves and vines. Soil should be exposed with a shovel from the farthest edge break the soil. Or, just with a small hand shovel, go slowly and carefully digging where the slips were planted before. It is important not to pierce the potatoes with the tools. You can even do it with your hands digging and moving the soil around the sweet potatoes until they are released completely.
Store the sweet potatoes in a dark, dry place for at least one week before eating.
Visit our collection of articles on how to grow vegetables in Houston or How to grow tomatoes in Houston.