How Many Sweet Potatoes Does One Plant Produce? Sweet potatoes are one of the most popular vegetables in the world they are used in a wide range of dishes that include stews, casseroles, and pies. But have you ever considered growing them at home? If so one of the first things you need to know is how much sweet potato each plant will produce. This blog will provide you with all the answers.
Sweet potato plants on average produce between 5 and 10 tubers per plant according to a study by Tokat Gaziosmanpaşa University. This study found that tubers is weighed approximately 10.5 oz (300g) each and the total average yield per plant is approximately 4.6 to 5.5 lbs (2.1 to 2.5 kg) per season.
The yield was achieved over a period of 6 months with the plants beginning started April and harvested in October at two different sites in Turkey. A summary of the results from one of the years is provided in the table below.
|Variety||Number of Tubers Per Plant||Total Weight Per Plant (Kg)||Total Weight Per Plant (lb)|
The results from the trials indicate that the yield achieved in each year did not vary significantly. Additionally, the results from two different Geographic locations did not change substantially. This indicates that provided that adequate water and nutrition are given to the plants a reasonable yield can be expected irrespective of the soil type.
When you compare the yield of these sweet potato varieties with normal potatoes they are quite similar which indicates that a similar quantity of food could be produced from the same area. To read more about the yield of different varieties of potatoes click here.
How To Grow Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes like normal potatoes are relatively easy to grow provided that they are planted at the right time of year and given the right level of nutrition. To optimize the yield that you get from each sweet potato it is generally recommended that the plants be planted in spring after the last frost.
To ensure that you are in a position to plant them at that time it is advisable to start to prepare the tubers 4 to 6 weeks prior to that date. To start the plants off you can use tubers purchased from your local grocery store.
To start the tubers growing the first step is to cut the tubers into sections that are approximately two inches wide. The segments of tuber should then be placed into containers and filled with water to ensure that the bottom half of the tuber remains submerged.
At this point, the containers should be placed in a sunny spot such as a window sill. The containers need to be checked weekly to ensure that the water level is adequate to allow the plant to grow and the bottom third of the tuber remains submerged.
If these conditions are fulfilled you can expect to see the formation of both roots and stems that will progressively develop over several weeks. At the end of this period, it is common to see that the plant has produced a number of different stems and a mass of white roots at the base of the tuber. The production of stems is an indication that the plant is approaching the point at which it can be planted out into the garden.
How To Plant Sweet Potato Into The Garden
Once your tuber segments have developed stems and roots they are ready to be planted out into the garden. When doing this the first consideration is the sunlight. The location should ideally receive 6 to 8 hours of sunlight per day.
In terms of soil conditions sweet potatoes generally prefer rich, moist, and free-draining soil that is slightly acidic. However, sweet potatoes are tolerant of a wide range of soils and will generally grow well in most conditions but like most plants, they will benefit from the addition of compost.
The sweet potato should be planted at a depth of approximately 2 to 3 inches with a spacing of 1.5 to 2 ft (45 to 60cm). When placing the plants into the ground ensure that at least some portion of the stems remain above ground.
Once the planting holes have been backfilled a thick layer of mulch should be applied to the area that is 2 to 4 inches thick as this will help to retain moisture. The plants should then be watered in thoroughly.
In terms of on-going maintenance sweet potatoes require very little apart from regular watering approximately once a week and possibly more frequently in hot dry conditions. It is also advisable to keep the planting area free of weeds to minimize the level of competition.
Harvesting And Storing Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes will produce a vigorous vine that is a deep green color while it is growing. However when the vine begins the yellow that is an indication that the tuber is under the ground is approaching the point at which they can be harvested.
The other factor that may affect the timing of the harvest is the weather conditions in your particular region. As sweet potatoes are frost-sensitive, they need to be harvested before the arrival of the first frost of the season. So if you’re in a situation where the vines remain green but the weather is starting to turn it is better to harvest before the first frost hits.
When harvesting sweet potatoes the safest way to reduce damage is to use a fork rather than a spade. Start the harvest by carefully loosening the soil ensuring that you don’t unintentionally spear the tubers.
When the soil is loose and friable you can remove the tubers by hand which will minimize any chance of damage. As the stems of the sweet potato can be quite vigorous it may be necessary to cut them away before the harvest.
Once the sweet potatoes have been removed from the ground they should be stored in a warm location for a period of approximately 10 days. The reason for this is that the tubers need to be cured for a short period of time to ensure that they develop their sweet taste.
Once this period is complete the potatoes can then the placed in longer-term storage if you do not need them straight away. To maximize their shelf life they should be stored in a cool dark location that is dry.
In these conditions, sweet potatoes can last up to 6 months in storage. However, it is advisable to regularly check the tubers is to ensure that they do not begin to rot or develop mold. To ensure that one bad tuber does not spoil your entire harvest it is advisable to separate them as this will reduce the chance of disease spreading.
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