Sweet potatoes are a favorite amongst gardeners for their delicious taste, high nutritional content, and versatility in the kitchen. But who wouldn’t want to harvest sweet potatoes that are not only tasty but also gigantic in size? If you dream of pulling out impressively large sweet potatoes from your garden, here are seven secrets to help you achieve just that:

  • Choose the Right Variety:
  • Not all sweet potatoes are created equal. Some varieties naturally produce larger tubers than others. When buying slips or seeds, look for types that are known for their large size such as the ‘Beauregard’ or ‘Centennial’.
  • Prepare Deep, Loose Soil:
  • Sweet potatoes love well-draining soil that’s loose and deep. Before planting, make sure to till the ground to a depth of at least 10-12 inches. This allows the roots to expand easily and promotes the development of large tubers.
  • Amend with Compost:
  • Adding well-decomposed compost to the soil not only boosts its fertility but also improves its texture. A rich, organic soil feeds the growing plants and ensures they have all the nutrients they need to produce big tubers.
  • Provide Adequate Spacing:
  • Overcrowding can hinder the growth of sweet potatoes. Plant slips about 12-18 inches apart in rows that are 3-4 feet apart. This gives each plant ample space to spread its vines and grow without competing for nutrients.
  • Watering and Mulching:
  • Sweet potatoes need a consistent supply of water, especially during the early stages of growth. However, avoid overwatering as this can lead to rot. A layer of straw or leaf mulch around the plants can help retain soil moisture and prevent weeds, which compete for nutrients.
  • Limit Nitrogen, Boost Potassium and Phosphorus:
  • While nitrogen is essential for leafy growth, excessive amounts can lead to lush vines and small tubers. Instead, focus on providing your sweet potatoes with ample potassium and phosphorus. These two nutrients promote root development and will help your potatoes grow larger.
  • Harvest at the Right Time:
  • Patience is key. While it’s tempting to dig up and check on your sweet potatoes, it’s best to wait. Most varieties need about 90-120 days to mature fully. If you harvest too early, the potatoes will be smaller. However, waiting too long can cause them to become too fibrous and less tasty. The vines starting to yellow is often a good sign that it’s time to harvest.

Growing huge sweet potatoes can be incredibly rewarding. By following these secrets, not only will you have a bountiful harvest, but you’ll also have the joy of unearthing giant tubers that are sure to impress your friends and family. Happy gardening!