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 the potatoes) because the squirrels dig them up and eat them. You can keep the slips for a couple of weeks until 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; it will cover a bed protecting the soil through the summer. I usually do one weeding once the vines are established and covering like half the soil. Then just let them run. You can trim the vines, so they stay out of the aisles in the garden or just 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 and makes it more durable and less prone to rot. They recommend cutting the leaves and vines two days before for the same purpose, but it 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 star breaking 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.
Storage the sweet potatoes in a dark, dry place for at least one week before eating.
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