Sweet potatoes are definitely worth considering as part of your diet. They are packed with minerals, fibre, vitamins and phytonutrients which can improve your body and mind.You can use sweet potatoes boiled, baked or raw. They also can be used in desserts, breads, stir-fries and casseroles. Do you know how many sweet potato plants grow from one plant?
How should I plant sweet potatoes?
Sweet potatoes are grown from slips, which are simple sprouts that are grown from store sweet potatoes.
If you’re looking for the perfect environment to plant your sweet potato seeds, then create long and wide, 10-inch-high ridges that are spaced 3 ½ feet apart. Creating a 10 foot row will produce between 8 and 10 pounds of potatoes.
Avoid nitrogen-rich fertilisers and work in plenty of compost.
Four to Six weeks before you plant the sweet potatoes in your chosen outdoor space, place the roots in a box of sawdust (or chopped leaves) and moist sand in a warm spot.
When your shoots sprout to 6-9 inches long, cut them off at the root. Dispose of the bottom inch from each slip. This is due to the fact that that portion can potentially harbor disease organisms.
You should plant in full sun three to four weeks after the last frost, as they’re extremely frost sensitive.
Sweet potatoes mature in 90 to 170 days. Create holes that are 6 inches deep and 12 inches apart to bury the slips up to the top leaves. Gently but firmly press the soil down and water well.
How many sweet potatoes grow from one plant?
Of course, as you’re growing your sweet potatoes, you’ll want to know how many slips you can grow from a single tuber. If you’re growing your tuber in water, it will continue to produce slips until its tuber’s reserves are exhausted.
It shouldn’t be surprising and definitely isn’t uncommon to expect at least 10 and you can expect as many as 30 slips from a single tuber, although, one sweet potato will produce between three and five slips.
Does the seed spacing affect the number of the potatoes?
Wider spacing does produce larger potatoes, so you need to have in mind how many you’d like, or how big you’d want them. Plant slips are preferably planted 10-18 inches apart in rows spaced 36-42 inches apart is the most common way of planting sweet potatoes.
If you plant your seeds too close together, this will inhibit others as they can’t grow too close together. You’ll have one average sized potato, while the other one will suffer and partially grow.
Does the seed spacing affect the size of the potatoes?
In easy words, yes! If they’re planted too close together, as mentioned above, this will decrease the size of the potatoes on a whole. Whereas, if the seeds are proportionately placed, this will give more room for your potatoes to grow at a good size.
Growing your own Sweet Potatoes
The soil you’re planting your seeds into needs to be warm and airy, and also, well-drained. Remember, sweet potatoes don’t like cold weather, so ensure you live in a warm climate.
Plant your potatoes approximately a foot to 18 inches apart, and leave plenty of room. You should ensure there is around 3 feet between each row that you plant, this keeps the vines nice and makes sure they don’t run.
Weed the area every day to prevent vines running – it doesn’t take long for this to happen!
Once you’ve got your plants in the ground, you should fertilize and mulch your soil. This will keep the ground healthy and warm, while the roots are still establishing themselves.
If it’s dry weather, you need to give the area a deep watering at least once a month.
It’s time to harvest when the vines begin to turn yellow at the end. Find the end of the root and dig around to loosen the soil, then simply use your hands to gather the sweet potatoes out of the ground.
You should ensure that you allow your sweet potatoes to sit and “cure” so they’re able to establish their rich and sweet flavour. Keep them unwashed, and place them in a warm, dry and shaded place for 10-12 days.
Health benefits of Sweet Potatoes
- Prevention in vitamin A deficiency
Sweet potatoes help prevent vision loss and improve eye health due to its vitamin A properties.
- Supports your immune system
They are an excellent source of beta-carotene, which can be converted to vitamin A and help to support your immune system.
- Reduced oxidative damage and cancer risk
The anthocyanins and other antioxidants in sweet potatoes may protect against certain cancers.
- Highly nutritious
They’re high in antioxidants that protect your body from free radical damage and chronic disease, as well as being rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals.
- Promote gut health
Sweet potatoes contain fiber and antioxidants that promote the growth of good gut bacteria and contribute to a healthy gut.
- Enhances brain function
This is done by reducing inflammation and preventing mental decline.
Adding sweet potatoes to your diet
You have a choice of different ways to add sweet potatoes to your diet. Whether you choose to peel them, thinly slice and bake or fry them for crisps, or as fries.
You could even cut them into thin slices and toast them to add ingredients on top like nut butter or avocado.
It’s no surprise that this versatile, brightly coloured carbohydrate is one of the most popular crops that is enjoyed worldwide!
Once you’ve cured your sweet potato, you should store it around 55 degrees, with a humidity of 75 – 80%. These will then keep for several months, if they’ve been cured and stored properly.