Sweet potatoes are becoming more and more popular every year thanks to their rich nutritional profile and the benefits they offer. Although they are available in any market, you need organic sweet potatoes in order to benefit from them. Today we’re going to show you how to grow your own sweet potatoes in a bucket so you can always have them at hand.
Many experts claim that sweet potatoes are better than regular potatoes. The paleo diet recommends them thanks to their nutritional profile. According to some nutritionists, regular potatoes are nothing more than starchy carbs, which is why it’s better to switch to sweet potatoes.
This variety of potatoes is rich in fiber and has a similar carb content like regular potatoes, but they have fewer calories and are more nutritionally rich. They contain vitamins A and C, as well as saponins and antioxidants. Sweet potatoes taste better when eaten on their own instead of being mixed with gravy, ketchup or cheese.
Sweet potatoes are pretty big, and you’ll get a nicer yield than regular potatoes if you grow them at home. They are pretty easy to grow too – just stick the bottom inch of the root in some water or soil and they’ll be ready in a few weeks.
Choosing the right sweet potato
To multiply the vegetable, the tubers need to be able to produce shoots – if your sweet potato doesn’t have them, it’s been treated with pesticides and chemicals which have destroyed its ability to reproduce. The most common pesticide used for this purpose is BudNip – you can eat the potatoes, but you can’t multiply them. This is why it’s best to pick an organic sweet potato which has been grown under ideal conditions. Look at the sweet potato in the picture below – it has produced sprouts (also known as slips) which we can use to grow more sweet potatoes.To multiply the vegetable, the tubers need to be able to produce shoots – if your sweet potato doesn’t have them, it’s been treated with pesticides and chemicals which have destroyed its ability to reproduce. The most common pesticide used for this purpose is BudNip – you can eat the potatoes, but you can’t multiply them. This is why it’s best to pick an organic sweet potato which has been grown under ideal conditions. Look at the sweet potato in the picture below – it has produced sprouts (also known as slips) which we can use to grow more sweet potatoes.
Unlike regular potatoes, carrots or other vegetables, sweet potato tubers love heat. Store them at temperatures below 10C, and they will quickly rot. Keep your sweet potatoes at room temperature, and they will produce shoots. Keeping the vegetable in plastic bags will make the sweet potatoes rot, so let them breathe and make sure they’re not stored on cold.
Re-growing from slips
The first bit of growing sweet potatoes is getting a good crop of slips. Put your potato in a bigger bucket and moisten the soil, keeping the top exposed. This is the first step which will allow you to get fresh sweet potatoes in a while. The bucket needs to have holes at the bottom, so make sure to drill some if it’s closed. Water your plant regularly, and it will produce shoots pretty soon!
Afterwards, you’ll need to pull them out and transplant them into bigger containers (we recommend 20-gallon buckets per 6 sweet potato slips). Here’s a nice video which shows the process in details:
When to plant
Sweet potatoes need about 100-day growing season if grown outside. If you decide to grow them in buckets, you can extend the growing season. The soil should never fall below 50F, or the sweet potatoes will rot. For best results, plant them in the winter after the last frost and keep the soil warm. Don’t be scared if they’re developing slowly – once the process starts, they will grow quicker than you imagine.
Water your sweet potatoes regularly, and they should be ready for harvest in about 4 months. If the vines turn black after the first frost, you need to harvest them immediately. Here’s another video that details the process:
The vegetable should be kept in a humid and warm area (27C) for 2 weeks after getting them out of the ground. This will allow them to create suberin, a thin protective layer that helps sweet potatoes stay alive on room temperature for up to a year.
Bucket-grown sweet potatoes
If you follow instructions, you can get 25 pounds of sweet potatoes per a 20-gallon bucket. Of course, this is only an estimate and depends on the conditions you grow them in.