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Sweet potatoes

Has anyone had much success with sweet potatoes? I've tried growing them two years on the trot, in a relatively warm part of the country, and have followed all the information I could find about the conditions that they like. However, despite this, the tubers that I get are rarely much bigger than my thumb. They still taste lovely, but it would be nice to get something approaching a bit more of a standard sweet potato size, as otherwise it's a lot of time for not much return. I am debating just growing something else next year and sticking to getting my sweet potatoes from the greengrocer. What are people's experiences? And have people found any tricks or tips that have reversed experiences like mine? Thanks.
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  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 29,639
    I planted 3 a few years ago in a well prepared vegetable bed and with an obelisk to support the foliage - member of the bindweed family so lots of twining.

    They were fed and watered and we had a good, hot summer.  Come harvest time, one plant produced a couple of good sized tubers.  One plant ditto but all rotted inside.  The third plant made smaller tubers that were all riddled by tunnelling from wriggly critters.

    I haven't bothered since as there are things that grow here better with less fuss and, in season, French grown sweet potatoes are very good and also a good price.

    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • tui34tui34 Posts: 3,206
    Hi.  I grew them 2 years ago but I live in the South of France - not that makes much difference as I also grew them in New Zealand which has a temperate climate/warm humid summers.  

    The soil I have here (in France) is not that good.  It's lovely when worked but can get hard as nails in the dry weather, so needs constant hoeing.  I put horse manure on the veggie plot every winter.  Apart from that, I planted my sweet potato plants and kept them well watered.  I got a good crop.  Surprised myself.  I didn't do sweet potato or potatoes this (summer) year.

    I know some people on this site have grown them in poly tunnels.  They are rampant thirsty plants.  Maybe third time lucky!?
    A good hoeing is worth two waterings.

  • chickychicky Posts: 10,394
    We had a good crop in the garden where I work this year - but they were grown in a glasshouse 😀
  • @Obelixx @tui34 @chicky Thank you all for your comments and thoughts, they made for interesting and informative reading. I will mull them over and see if I want to give it one last shot. Thanks for your help x
  • how hot was it there?
    sweet potatoes like temps between 25c-30 c
    also sweet potato like highly fertile soil.
    one year i grew mine 1/2 compost 1/4 rotted manure
    1/4 coffee grounds from local coffee place. I got
    coffee ground for free so it was simple.
    they also need lots of water. 
  • Don't waste your time or money. I twice bought some slipps from a well known company and got a pathetic crop both times. I tried making my own slipps following Youtube advice even worse crop. They need high temperatures and a lot of space and the price they are at the shops is not worth the effort. I NEVER give this advice re shops v own grown but this is the case re sweet potatoes. Monty does not recommend growing sweet potatoes because of the temperature requirement. If I livid in Cyprus or the far east it would be a different recommendation
  • WillowBarkWillowBark Posts: 236
    @war garden 572 and @stewart.paulajones, it definitely sounds like I didn't have them consistently warm enough, or for long enough, even given the hot summers we had. I might stubbornly give them one last go under glass, if I can find a way to arrange that in my tiny garden, and if that doesn't work then I will call it a day and move on to other, more reliable crops! Thank you for the advice and for the information about your experiences, I appreciate it.
  • Plenty of potassium is needed to form large and tasty tubers. Apply it when the tubers begin to form - usually in mid-August. Any potash fertiliser will do (according to the instructions for potatoes), but an ash infusion will do: dilute 1-2 cups in 10 litres of water and infuse for a week, stirring from time to time, then place a litre jar of infusion under each bush.

    What could be more beautiful than flowers?

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 53,942
    They won't readily grow here in the UK @hannamoor1696. If you read the previous posts, you'd see the reasons for that   :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....



    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Posts: 11,391
    @war garden 572 and @stewart.paulajones, it definitely sounds like I didn't have them consistently warm enough, or for long enough, even given the hot summers we had. I might stubbornly give them one last go under glass, if I can find a way to arrange that in my tiny garden, and if that doesn't work then I will call it a day and move on to other, more reliable crops! Thank you for the advice and for the information about your experiences, I appreciate it.
    Everyone is right, I wouldn't bother with them again.  I grew them here in a small (3x2m) polytunnel, and although they did produce masses of foliage (and even flowered), the crop was rather pathetic!  There were 2 different types, both supposedly good for growing in the UK.
    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
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