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sweet potatoes in a pile of leaves

 
pollinator
Posts: 793
Location: North Carolina zone 7
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Howdy folks. Just wanted to pass along that it is possible to grow sweet potatoes in a big pile of oak leaves. The pile is about one quarter dirt. As they grow I'll continue to add more matter around the plants.
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pollinator
Posts: 4154
Location: Northern New York Zone4-5 the OUTER 'RONDACs percip 36''
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And i've seen reports of sweet potatoes growing in a mound of charcoal ! Big Al
 
Posts: 8
Location: Kentucky- Zone 7(a)
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Charcoal seems like it would be a great medium, never thought of it! it holds lots of water and filter all sorts of stuff out of water. does it release its nutrients or are they locked inside the carbon? i guess it depends on ionization?
 
pollinator
Posts: 1602
Location: northern California
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Sweet potatoes actually don't need very rich soil (or other media), especially not in nitrogen. I would see moisture, and perhaps burrowers, as the only constraints on a method like this. Similar ideas, with more enriched media, have been used with success with white potatoes for years.....
 
David Reason
Posts: 8
Location: Kentucky- Zone 7(a)
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Definitely. We're doing yukon gold and red pontiac in straw layers on top of compost. they seem to be doing great!~
 
Scott Stiller
pollinator
Posts: 793
Location: North Carolina zone 7
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Hello all, Just wanted to pass along that I dug these beautiful sweet potatoes out of that pile of leaves today.
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It worked!!!
 
Posts: 488
Location: Foothills north of L.A., zone 9ish mediterranean
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I've seen sweet potatoes grow tubers in the space between containers and concrete patio... very little soil, soil wasn't half as thick as the tubers. The space was wet and dark and the vines had sunlight, that's it. I am wondering if SP needs water & light and a dark place to put tubers more than anything else. Sure doesn't seem to need much fertility.

I have a big trash bag full of oak leaves I picked up off the curb. Maybe I'll water it and stick SP slips in it like a pin-cusion and grow a bag of SP's. ?

Yesterday I took some plastic milk crates, lined them with cardboard, filled them with soil and partly composted woodchips, poked holes in the cardboard sides and stuck SP slips in. Soaked the whole thing. A variation on the potato tower idea. We'll see if I get any yield.



 
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I have heard of folks growing sweet potatoes "potato box style" using only straw (or leaves) piled into stacked tires.
 
Posts: 226
Location: South central Illinois, USA
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We like SP's a lot, grow them every year. I think they'd take over the whole garden if you let them. Summer temperatures here get the best of the rhubarb. I have built lath covers, about 2' X 2', and fastened them over the rhubarb on 2 X 2's driven into the ground as stakes. This year I trained the nearby SP vines to grow up and over the lath. The result is, IMHO, a beautiful and kinda natural shade system, that with the irrigation, really seems the benefit the rhubarb.

I think next year I'll repeat this idea, and go even further by trying to shade the tomatoes later in the season. For the last month the afternoon sun has been fairly intense! I think the 'maters AND the rhubarb could use some shading at this time of year...
 
Posts: 20
Location: Eastern Shore of Virginia, United States, zone 7b
3
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I piled-up 2 feet of several year old wood chips into an area approx. 10' X 20' and planted slips I had started in late July 2019. Mainly just as an experiment, didn't really expect much of a harvest. In late November after our first hard frost had bit the vines back, I decided to see how the sweet potato patch had done. I can only say that it was a great pleasure digging up the sweet potato tubers with nothing but my gloved hands. Total harvest was just a bit shy of 1 1/2 five gal. buckets. I also harvested half of a 5 gal. bucket of small, skinny tubers to plant for 2020. On a final note - we had such a mild winter, that I did a little snooping in last years patch, and I found quite a few viable tubers that made it thru the winter. I believe the patch has gone perennial, at least for this season. Excited beyond belief!
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sweet potato blossoms
sweet potato blossoms
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sweet potato patch fully green
sweet potato patch fully green
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sweet potato patch 1 month in
sweet potato patch 1 month in
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stray watermelon hiding in the patch
stray watermelon hiding in the patch
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Chris Floyd
Posts: 20
Location: Eastern Shore of Virginia, United States, zone 7b
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I need to apologize for failing to mention that they were two different varieties from the grocery store, one local orange-fleshed variety and a really sweet white-fleshed red skinned variety called Batata (last picture).
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