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Sweet Potatoes or Yams?

 
Posts: 21
Location: Willamette Valley, Oregon
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I am interested in growing sweet potatoes or yams. Which do you prefer? How much room does it take to get a decent harvest? How fussy are they about soil? When should I start? I am in western Oregon, zone 8. I have a greenhouse to start things in.
 
pollinator
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Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even Soil:SandyLoam pH6 Flat
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I don't know the difference.
If they are sweet to me they are both sweet potatoes.

Then there is yam, which weights about 8lbs
 
pollinator
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Why choose?  grow both.  

I grow about 3 varieties of sweet potatoes and two varieties of white yams.       I think they are the most productive plants I have.
 
master pollinator
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Sweet Potatoes are Ipomoea batatas (related to Morning Glory), Yams are Dioscorea species.  So far I've had more success with Sweet Potatoes, but I'm trying again with Chinese Yams, a cold-hardy variety.  Both probably prefer lighter soils and plenty of water.

More about Yams:  
 
S Bengi
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If we are talking about yams vs american yam (sweet potatoe with white flesh or something). Then I say sweet potatoes.

If we are talking about sweet potato and american yam ( just another sweet potatoe cultivar) then I say go for the ones that people in New England and Seattle area is growing aka Georgia Jet sweet potatoes cultivar. They did well for me.
 
Jon Sousa
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So, When should I start making slips out of tubers? How long a growing season? Do they grow better with a lot of straw or wood chips, etc.? I want to put something on my table. My son in law eats sweet potatoes 5-7 days a week. He would love it if I learned to grow them and taught him. ;)
 
S Bengi
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Think just 1 season long.
It only takes 90 days for the Georgia Jet cultivar. other
https://www.vermontbean.com/P/04720/Georgia+Jet+Sweet+Potato

Regular ones from Caribbean/South America takes alot longer but they are perennial and never die, and just root so it doesn't matter like it does for us here with winter.


My recommendation would be to buy slips the 1st season and then grow sweet potatoes tubers
And then use those tubers start slips for the next season.
They are also tropical and love the sun. So plant them in for the hottest 90days.
Other than georgia jet other American cultivars take up to 120days.
While I have zero faith in you getting a tuber harvest from important non american cultivars for sweet potatoes slips that you start yourself. There might be a harvest if you can 100% guarantee that the starting tubers are American cultivars.
 
master steward
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Do yams need to be cured like sweet potatoes?

https://www.motherearthnews.com/homesteading-and-livestock/cure-sweet-potatoes-zbcz1310
 
Tyler Ludens
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I've been able to get Sweet Potatoes to winter over here, so I think with a little care they could become perennial in this warmish climate.  Just need to make sure they don't get too wet and cold during the winter.

 
pollinator
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Sweet potatoes for sure.  They have more nutritional value too.  My sister grew them with little effort in the Midwest.  I plan to try some this year but haven't grown them myself and have no tips.  Just good luck!
 
gardener
Posts: 1870
Location: Just northwest of Austin, TX
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I planted some dark purple sweet potatoes in the from yard three years ago.  I dig them up occasionally for curiosity's sake, so know they produce large roots every year.  The orange sweet potatoes planted at the same time never came back.  Even when I tried to harvest them all that first year there was still enough to reproduce the next spring. I am zone 8b in central Texas. I do suspect that part of their success is being planted on a slope so they don't sit in moisture and rot over winter.

Don't forget to try eating some of the leaves.  The flavor is very mild and they are rather high in protein. My only complain is the texture being a little softer than I prefer..
 
Mart Hale
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https://i.pinimg.com/originals/49/21/50/4921508713996821ff818ee849542529.jpg


My 23.6 lb white yam.  :-)
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gardener
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Location: mountains of Tennessee
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Never had much luck with any type of potato in central TX. Never tried much either. They do great in TN though. These are Beauregard sweet potatoes from that first harvest. They need decent quality soil for a high yield crop. It needs to be loose soil too or some will deform as shown in pic. If the soil is too compacted they don't get very large. A small amount of space can produce a lot of potato. I have only tried store bought slips so far. (accidentally destroyed my first attempt at making slips) Planted in spring & harvested in fall. They make a nice looking ground cover too.

Aiming for 100+ pounds next year. Several varieties. Some true yams would be an awesome addition.
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