Growing Sweet Potatoes in Containers

I don’t know about you, but I am so excited to get this growing season underway! The best part about gardening is that there is usually more than one way to grow something. Not only do sweet potatoes grow well directly in the ground, but they also can grow in large containers or bags. This is great for those who don’t have a large space to grow,  but still want to join the Dane County Sweet Potato Project in growing sweet potatoes for the community. Below, I will explain different ways to grow sweet potatoes besides in the ground:

  1. Bags.  From large burlap coffee sacks to reusable grocery bags, there are many inexpensive bags to grow sweet potatoes in. These types of bags have little holes in them to keep roots aerated. One thing to keep in mind when using this method is to water your plant more often and keep the soil moist because the water runs through the holes and can become dry quickly if left for a few days. Mulching the top of the soil is also helpful to retain soil moisture.
  2. Large Pots or Earthboxes. Large pots or a store-bought or homemade Earthbox could be a great addition to a patio for easy planting of sweet potatoes. When growing in hard sided containers make sure there is holes for proper drainage. Check out University of Maryland-Extension for more information: Here

     

Pros of Container Gardening:

  • Great for small spaces
  • Good to use when soil in ground is not good quality
  • Can be inexpensive
  • Easy

Cons of Container Gardening:

  • Soil can dry out faster (may need to water everyday)
  • Can have a smaller harvest or smaller potatoes
  • Plant can become root-bound

I hope this information opens your eyes to new and different ways of gardening. Happy Gardening!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Curing and Donating Your Sweet Potatoes

Harvesting

The sweet potatoes will grow right up until the first frost.  At that point, you’ll need to dig them up. The latest 10 day forecast can help you keep track.

Donating

If you won’t be curing your sweet potatoes (read below), the best place to bring your donation is the Community Action Coalition, 1717 N Stoughton Rd, Madison. (map)

If you choose to drop them off at any other food pantries (map here) , please cure them first.

Also, once you donate, make sure to update us on how many pounds you donated.

Curing

The curing process heals any small wounds and enhances sweetness by converting the root’s starches to sugars. Ideally, the sweet potatoes should be kept in a space (greenhouse or 4-season porch) for about 10 days at 80-85°F at high humidity (85-90%). If that is not available, they can be cured next to a furnace for 2-3 weeks at 65-75°F. An option to achieve the required high humidity (85-90%) is to stack storage crates or boxes and cover them with paper or heavy cloth. Also, packing in perforated plastic bags will allow excess moisture to escape.

Storing

Once the sweet potatoes are cured, move them to a dark location where a temperature of about 55-60°F can be maintained during storage. Keep the sweet potatoes out of the refrigerator as they can be damaged by cold. Wrapping cured sweet potatoes in newspaper and storing them in a cool closet or basement is a great option. Stored properly in ideal conditions, sweet potatoes will last between 6-10 months!

Thank you and good luck!

The Slips Are In

The slips have arrived!!

The slips will be distributed from Community Action Coalition (CAC) office at the following times:

Saturday, June 15  9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Monday, June 17 8:00 am – 6:00 pm
Tuesday, June 18 – Thursday, June 20 8:00 am – 4:30 pm

Map to the CAC offices.

And we’ve uploaded a new presentation and video on how to best plant and grow your sweet potatoes.

We’re excited!  Are you?

Here’s the video on planting those slips.

Getting Started

Welcome to the Madison Sweet Potato Project!  We are just getting started with this project here in Madison and are basing this off a successful sweet potato project in Kansas CIty – details here.

You can follow all the happenings as we move forward on this project by liking us on Facebook SweetPotatoProjectMadison and following us on Twitter @SPPMadison

Over the next few months, we will be working with several organizations to setup sweet potato growing classes, figure out all the ordering and distribution details, and working to make this all happen. Thanks for checking us out!