Contrary to its name, the sweet potato (Ipomea batatas) is not closely related to the potato. It is a member of the wind family and is also called batata. In its use and taste, it is similar to our familiar potato.
Built on sand for a harvest like from tubs
Due to its Central American homeland, the sweet potato also needs a warm and protected location with us. For the tubers to develop well, the soil should be rather sandy, but rich in nutrients.
The sweet potato can also be grown very well in raised beds or on the sunny balcony in tubs of at least 30 liters in size. Even larger tubs are better suited, however.
Sweet potatoes preplanting
You can choose from two options
Sweet potatoes Pre-planting over water
- Cut off one end of the sweet potato
- Insert toothpicks all around the sweet potato (like you would do with an avocado pit)
- Hang the sweet potato in a glass so that the cut side hangs in the water
- In the water long shoots will form over time
- Are the shoots ca. 20cm long, you can plant your sweet potatoes in soil
- OR detach the sprouts from the potato, remove the lower leaves and place the sprout in soil at an angle
Put toothpicks into your sweet potato
Sprouts form very quickly
Sweet potatoes preplanting in soil
- Cut the tuber into 7 – 10 cm long pieces. To prevent them from rotting, allow the cut surface to dry for about a day. However, you can use whole tubers.
- Put them halay into a pot with soil and place it in a warm and bright place. Make sure the earth doesn’t dry up. You can also use a greenhouse that provides high humidity.
- Now patience is needed. After some time (it may well be a couple of weeks)!) the first shoots appear. When these have reached a length of 10 – 15 cm, break them out at the base at the tuber and place them again warm and bright in water until roots appear.
If you have a very long shoot, you can also cut several cuttings from it.
- Put your cuttings into pots, which can be a little bigger. Now keep those pots moist so the cuttings can root in safely.
- In the middle of May you will have good young plants, which you can plant outdoors after the ice saints. If the weather is still cool, wait another week or two, because sweet potatoes do not like the cold and will die in frost.
Set the plantlets a little deeper so that several roots are formed.
Sweet potatoes prepared for germination
the first young shoots
Look under the soil
Into the potatoes – Put a tuber into the soil.
Sweet potatoes are not usually sown, as they germinate poorly. Since the young plants from the trade are quite expensive, the own pre-breeding offers itself over cuttings.
Buy one or more organic sweet potatoes for your own growing. Conventional ones can be treated to inhibit germination, so they are unsuitable.
Unfortunately, it is difficult to predict when the tubers will sprout. You can start planting from the end of January until mid-February at the latest.
: late January to mid-February
- Planting out in the open: mid-May, after the Ice Saints
- Planting distance: 35 cm
- Row spacing: 70 cm
- Direct sowing: not recommended
- Germination period: a few days
- Cultivation period/harvest maturity: September
You should not plant your sweet potato directly next to beet or peppers. Chard and kohlrabi, on the other hand, have proven to be good neighbors.
Planting out the germinated tubers
Place the germinated tubers in grooves in the soil at a distance of 35 cm. Cover the root pieces with soil. If you plant the tubers a little deeper, several roots will form.
But let the green sprout peek out of the soil. The rows should have a distance of 70 cm. This is a relatively wide spacing, which is necessary so that the sweet potato tubers can develop generously underground.
Keep a row distance of about 70 cm and a planting distance of about 35 cm. To warm up the soil faster, you can also place the shoots in ridges of about 20 cm height.
Buy organic seeds in our store
With us you will find many special varieties of seeds in organic quality from the Andean berry to the sweet pea. Below u. a. Rarities and old varieties, a large selection of field-grown tomatoes, peppers and lettuces, and several bee-friendly flowers. Our five organic seed packets make your choice easier.
Sweet potatoes want to be well fed
The sweet potato is one of the heavy feeders. The soil should therefore be supplied with sufficient organic fertilizer.
After planting, care is uncomplicated. In order for good tubers to form, you should ensure regular soil moisture. Until the foliage has sufficiently covered the soil, some weeding may be necessary. Therefore, mulching the soil is particularly useful in cultivation. Alternatively, you can also use black mulch foil, which additionally warms the soil.
The shoots that grow during the season, you can still sink into the ground, so cover them at leaf bases with soil, so that in these places later in the summer can also form tubers.
Sweet potatoes are heavy feeders, so fertilize properly
. out of the potatoes – And lift twenty out again
The tubers are ready for harvesting towards the end of the season, from September, when the leaves turn yellow. You can then carefully dig them out of the ground on a dry day using a digging fork, just like potatoes. To do this, stab the digging fork deep into the soil and then push it up like a lever. The reddish tubers are now lying in the soil on the fork by the dozen. You can roughly remove the soil by hand and rinse with a gentle stream of water. Make sure that the tines do not injure too many tubers. You can prepare your first sweet potato meal from the pierced or injured roots, perhaps even directly in the garden on a potato fire! It is not possible to store the damaged tubers.
Choose a dry day for harvesting
Sweet potato season is delicious and short
Sweet potatoes can only be stored for a few weeks at about 15 degrees, after which the risk of rot increases. Be sure to store only unharmed specimens, all others should be consumed quickly.
However, they can be frozen cooked and cooled wrapped in aluminum foil in a freezer bag.
To resist slugs and voles
The leaves are popular with slugs, the tubers with voles. Especially the latter can become a problem. By growing in a container or secured raised bed you can avoid voles.
Otherwise, they grow reliably with adequate moisture and higher temperatures.
Nutrients, processing& Recipes
Sweet alternative to the traditional tuber and at least as healthy
The sweet potato reminds of potatoes in terms of consistency and taste, but is a little sweeter. It provides numerous nutrients and secondary ingredients with a low fat content, making it a very healthy side dish. The high potassium content regulates the fluid and electrolyte balance and has a stress-reducing and blood pressure-stabilizing effect. The secondary plant compounds are anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. By the way, there is a lot of carotene in the orange to red varieties of the sweet potato.
- Low fat
- High potassium content
- blood pressure stabilizing
Like the potato, the sweet potato can be processed in many ways and tastes good as soup, puree, chips, gratin. Americans like to use a mash of sweet potato to bake bread, cakes and pie.
The sweet potato is even edible raw and can be used, for example, finely grated in a salad. You do not have to peel the sweet potato before processing, it is enough if it is washed thoroughly.
Recipes with sweet potatoes
Stuffed baked sweet potatoes
Prick sweet potatoes several times with a fork and cook them in the oven until they are soft. Cut in half and scrape out two thirds of the flesh with a spoon at a time. Mix this with sauteed onions, peppers, garlic and cooked beans or chickpeas, season, stuff into sweet potatoes and top with (vegan) cheese.
Sweet potato curry
Saute onions, garlic and grated ginger, add curry paste and coconut milk. Cut peeled sweet potatoes into bite-sized pieces, steam in curry sauce until soft. Add bell pepper strips and peas just before the end. Rice goes well with this.
Sweet potato fries
Peel sweet potatoes and cut into french fries. Drizzle with a little oil and season with salt, paprika powder. Bake in the oven at 200°C until they are crispy, turning them in between. If you prefer chips, cut the sweet potatoes into thin slices.