• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education skip experiences global resources the cider press projects digital market permies.com private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • Anne Miller
  • Pearl Sutton
  • r ranson
  • Mike Haasl
  • James Freyr
stewards:
  • paul wheaton
  • Joylynn Hardesty
  • Burra Maluca
garden masters:
  • Steve Thorn
  • Greg Martin
gardeners:
  • Kate Downham
  • Jay Angler
  • thomas rubino

Sweet potatoes as a soil amendment :>)

 
pollinator
Posts: 350
Location: Utah
103
cat forest garden fungi foraging food preservation bee medical herbs writing greening the desert
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Ha!

I had two (unknown commercial variety) sweet potatoes in pots that are about 18 inches deep. I found nothing in the top foot of the soil when I dug them up. The sweet potatoes were on the bottom of the pots. I think in lower water areas the roots reach for the water, so they'll penetrate much deeper. Yay! I can use them to fix my soil at the 12-18 inch level!

The seedlings as well; I think I left much of the usable roots in the ground unintentionally, because I wasn't looking for roots that deep.
 
pollinator
Posts: 1539
Location: northern California
158
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Ordinarily when I grow sweet potatoes in the ground, under reliable rain or regular irrigation, most of the roots form right around the base of the plant.  Most varieties are bred thus for ease of harvest.  There are always a few outliers, and some varieties do this more than others.  But yeah, I'd say if the majority of the roots were at the bottom they were after moisture.  
 
gardener
Posts: 6581
Location: Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
1218
hugelkultur dog forest garden duck fish fungi hunting books chicken writing homestead
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Sweet potatoes are a root veg that tends to stop depth wise at the first horizon differentiation it encounters.
That, and moisture following gravity, is why the tubers are at the bottom of container grown plants. (if you replant the tops after harvest you have the possibility of them re-rooting and producing more crop)
Sweets are fairly cold die back prone but the tuber can over winter in the soil, sort of a store it where you grow it vegetable.

This horizon differentiation issue is why Sweet potatoes are not usually used for getting organic matter deeper into soils.
The daikon radish does a far better job at going deep, these roots will go into a layer of heavy clay where the sweet potato would stop above that clay layer and form tubers there, in your already top soil instead of deepening that top soil layer.
Another really good tuber for extending the top soil layer and thus increasing the microbiome depth is Rape, rape is more like a carrot or daikon and like both of those it cycles on a two year seeding schedule, and it makes a good animal feed.

Redhawk
 
This will take every ounce of my mental strength! All for a tiny ad:
Permie Paradise for Rent in Mo. - 10 Acres w/ food forest & more!
https://permies.com/t/135489/Permie-Paradise-Rent-Mo-Acres
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!