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Old June 9, 2013   #1
Rugerfan777
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Default Hilling sweet potatoes with straw?

I am new to this forum. I was wondering if anyone has experience in growing sweet potatoes. Can you grow them in a straw bed and the hill them up like reg potatoes? I know some people grow them in straw bales but I wanted to try another approach for possibly better results. I was thinking of trying this.

6 inch straw matt with 3 to 4 inch soil on top w some manure. Then hill them up as the grow with more straw. I figure the straw will be easier to grow in than dirt.
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Old June 10, 2013   #2
Redbaron
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I am no expert on sweet potatoes, but I have grown them in the past. Seems to me that sweet potatoes grow entirely differently. They vine on top of the ground and the vines root themselves as they grow. Where the vines root themselves is where you'll find the sweet potatoes.

As for your idea? Try it. It might work. I never tried it myself, but would be interested in your results. Manure and straw in the soil is almost never a bad thing. I don't think "hilling" is needed though.
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Old June 10, 2013   #3
shelleybean
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Sweet potatoes are entirely different from regular Irish potatoes. You don't hill them at all. Plant the slips just like you're planting any other vine and that's it. You can mulch them with straw if you want but they'll quickly fill in and cover the entire area with their own vines. The way they grow may remind you of ivy. I've grown both and sweet potatoes are much easier!
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Old June 10, 2013   #4
kath
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rugerfan777 View Post
I am new to this forum. I was wondering if anyone has experience in growing sweet potatoes. Can you grow them in a straw bed and the hill them up like reg potatoes? I know some people grow them in straw bales but I wanted to try another approach for possibly better results. I was thinking of trying this.

6 inch straw matt with 3 to 4 inch soil on top w some manure. Then hill them up as the grow with more straw. I figure the straw will be easier to grow in than dirt.
Welcome to Tomatoville!

We grow sweet potatoes every year as well as Irish potatoes. The sweet potatoes love the heat so it's recommended that when growing them in higher latitudes like ours that making a long hill or ridge about a foot high before planting and covering it with black plastic or woven landscape fabric will help to heat the soil more and also will give the potatoes loose soil to grow in. The vines or slips are planted along the top of the ridge from 9 to 14" apart and the tubers grow in the hilled up ridge. With Irish potatoes, usually pieces or whole potatoes are planted.

I've never heard of growing them in straw or like regular potatoes. My daughter lives south of you in Humboldt Co. and has trouble getting mid-late tomatoes to ripen so some sweet potato varieties might be a challenge in Crescent City.

kath

Last edited by kath; June 10, 2013 at 11:59 AM.
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Old June 10, 2013   #5
Rugerfan777
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I live 10 miles inland from the coast, hiouchi area. It was 84 here yesterday and 55 at night and the day before it was 92 and 65 at night. Generally it is 20 degree's warmer than eureka or crescent city area. We have 600 to 800ft hills blocking us from the coast air and fog. Namley Jedidiah Smith Redwood Forest.
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Old June 10, 2013   #6
Mark0820
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I would think your straw approach might work if you would dig a 6 - 8 inch deep hole in the soil and fill the hole with a mixture of straw and aged manure (and possibly a little soil mixed in). Then plant the sweet potato slip in the mixture and cover with 2 or 3 inches of soil. That would provide a "lighter mixture" for the potatoes to grow in.

I have never done this myself, but I can't think of any reason it shouldn't work. To be safe, you could just plant a couple of sweet potato slips this way and compare how they produce relative to the traditional planting method in soil.
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Old June 10, 2013   #7
kath
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rugerfan777 View Post
I live 10 miles inland from the coast, hiouchi area. It was 84 here yesterday and 55 at night and the day before it was 92 and 65 at night. Generally it is 20 degree's warmer than eureka or crescent city area. We have 600 to 800ft hills blocking us from the coast air and fog. Namley Jedidiah Smith Redwood Forest.
Great- that's a whole different ball game! Beautiful area- DH and I were there during our last trip visiting family. Daughter's in Blue Lake, only a few miles inland from Arcata but even that distance makes a difference in temp & amount of sunshine vs. fog.

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