Gardens - Fruit & Vegetable Gardening

Learn to grow a sweet potato

Everything you need to know to grow your own tasty, nutritionally packed super tubers


Pests and diseases
Canadian gardeners are far away from the sweet potato pests and diseases that traditionally affect growers in the rest of the world. Any problems you're likely to experience will come from critters: mice may munch on the sweet tubers below ground; deer and rabbits on the leaves above ground. One way to deter rabbits is to spray the plants with a solution made from three or four chopped garlic cloves soaked in two tablespoons (30 mL) of mineral oil, then combined with a pint (570 mL) of water and one tablespoon (15 mL) of fish emulsion. Dilute one part mixture with 10 parts water; refrigerate any unused portion. If deer are an issue, try hanging bars of strongly scented soap around the perimeter of your garden.

Here are some troubleshooting tips:

Problem: Leaves fall off slips when planted
Cause: Sudden exposure to light after being housed in a dark shipping box
Cure: Gradually expose the slips to light as part of the hardening-off process

Problem: Sweet potatoes have cracks
Cause: Irregular watering, especially too much water during the final three to four weeks before harvest
Cure: Proper curing will heal cracks

Problem: Sweet potatoes are long and stringy
Cause: Too much water or poorly drained soil
Cure: Keep sweet potatoes warm and dry once vines cover the ground

Problem: Lush vines, puny sweet potatoes
Cause: Too much nitrogen
Cure: Fertilize with phosphorus and potassium instead


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