For gardeners who wish to develop their very own meals, candy potatoes generally is a satisfying crop. They appear fairly within the backyard mattress and, if saved accurately, can maintain for as much as a yr. As a result of there’s an abundance of scrumptious candy potato recipes, from conventional baked dishes to candy potato fries, having candy potatoes readily available can convey selection and shade to the dinner desk.
Rising them does take a measure of persistence, as most attain maturity solely after about 4 months. Nonetheless, they’re nicely definitely worth the wait. Discover out under the way to develop candy potatoes so you possibly can reap the rewards in your backyard.
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Rising Candy Potatoes at a Look
Frequent Identify: Candy potato
Scientific Identify: Ipomoea batatas
Hardiness Zone: Zones 8 to 11
Soil: Loamy, quick-draining with pH 5.8 to six.5
Mild: Full solar
Water: Common, no less than 1 inch per week
Meals: Low-nitrogen fertilizer
Security: Leaves might be poisonous
Candy Potato Traits
Wealthy in potassium, calcium, fiber, carotenoids, and nutritional vitamins A and C, candy potatoes are one of many many superfoods you possibly can develop your self. This wonderful vine has been cultivated in Peru since 750 B.C.—presumably earlier, with some archaeological data suggesting it was grown as a meals supply between 2500 and 1850 B.C. It’s a beautiful vining plant that, given sufficient area, appears to be like lovely within the backyard.
Opposite to widespread perception, the yam plant and the candy potato plant are two totally completely different crops, although each are harvested for his or her tubers, or roots. The tubers themselves are completely different. The yam (Dioscorea spp.) is the tuber of a tropical vine native to Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean. Considerably sweeter than a candy potato, it has tough brown or darkish pores and skin with purple, crimson, or white flesh.
The candy potato (Ipomoea batatas) is a distant relative of the morning glory and even produces fairly purple flowers not in contrast to a morning glory. Candy potato tubers usually have yellow, pale orange, deep orange, crimson, or purple pores and skin, with the flesh starting from pale yellow to deep purple—although essentially the most generally consumed varieties are orange.
As a result of the plant is so engaging, the candy potato vine can also be grown for decorative functions. It’s widespread in hanging baskets and window bins due to its trailing high quality and ornamental foliage that ranges from purple to brilliant chartreuse.
Beneficial Candy Potato Varieties
- Centennial: The most typical candy potato in the USA, this selection has coppery orange pores and skin and brilliant orange flesh. It matures in simply 90 days, so it’s nice for northern gardens.
- Jewel: Named for being the crown jewel of candy potatoes, this candy potato is a heavy producer and bred to be disease-resistant. They’ve fairly copper pores and skin and brilliant orange flesh, they usually mature in 115 to 130 days.
- Garnet: With crimson pores and skin and orange flesh that stays orange even after baking, this candy potato matures in 110 days.
- Georgia Jet: selection for gardens with a shorter rising season because it matures in 90 days. It has orange flesh and crimson pores and skin, and vines can develop greater than 3 toes lengthy.
- Beauregard: This can be a wealthy, yellow-orange candy potato widespread for its excessive yield and illness resistance. Its vines develop from 3 to six toes lengthy.
- Porto Rico: A bunching or bush candy potato, nice for containers or smaller backyard plots, it bears fruit that may mature inside 90 and 110 days. Its flesh is lighter in shade than Beauregard’s.
- Okinawan: An heirloom Japanese candy potato that’s pale on the skin, its mild purple flesh turns a deep purple when cooked. Excessive in antioxidants, these take 120 to 180 days to mature, in order that they develop greatest in temperate climates.
- Pumpkin Yam: An heirloom bushing candy potato (not a yam), this selection produces massive tubers with orange-red pores and skin and brilliant orange flesh. It matures in 90 to 120 days.
Planting Candy Potatoes
Having this lovely plant in a vegetable backyard is aesthetically pleasing, however they want loads of room to unfold. Bushing candy potato varieties are extra compact, however some vining candy potatoes can sprawl to six toes or extra.
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When is the very best time to plant candy potatoes?
Candy potato season takes place through the warmest months. Plant slips (that are sprouts grown from different candy potatoes) in late spring, 3 to 4 weeks after the final spring frost. Soil temperatures ought to constantly be above 65 levels Fahrenheit, and in a single day temperatures shouldn’t dip under 55 levels. This may be difficult for gardeners in northern or high-altitude climates with shorter rising seasons, so it could be greatest to decide on a spread with a shorter harvest interval, such because the 90- to 100-day varieties.
The place can candy potatoes develop?
Candy potatoes needs to be grown in a sunny backyard plot that will get 8 to 10 hours of daylight a day. They require well-draining, loamy soil. loamy soil is made up of a stability of sand, silt, and clay and has glorious drainage. That is excellent for candy potatoes, which choose soil moist however by no means soggy. If backyard soil is heavier, it could be higher to plant candy potato slips in a raised mattress or make raised rows for them in your candy potato backyard. It will assist maintain the soil temperatures hotter as nicely.
How do you plant candy potatoes?
As a result of candy potatoes are temperature-sensitive, they need to ideally be planted on an overcast day with temperatures between 60 and 75 levels Fahrenheit. If the soil isn’t enriched with a low-nitrogen, high-phosphorus fertilizer when planting, use an equal liquid fertilizer after following these candy potato planting steps.
- Enrich the loamy soil with a low-nitrogen fertilizer earlier than planting candy potato slips.
- Make raised rows or mounds to assist maintain the slips heat. Each needs to be about 8 inches deep and ideally 12 inches broad.
- Area mounds or rows 3 toes aside.
- Break off the decrease leaves on the slips, so solely the highest leaves stay.
- For optimum candy potato spacing, place slips 12 inches aside from each other.
- Cowl the roots and the stem as much as the leaves.
- Water liberally for per week to 10 days.
Are you able to develop candy potatoes in containers?
Rising candy potatoes in containers is totally doable. Begin with a spread that requires much less area, like Porto Rico, a bush candy potato selection that grows shorter, extra compact vines. The container ought to have loads of drainage. Some gardeners use cloth containers for rising potatoes, which supply plenty of aeration to the roots. Hold container-grown candy potatoes in a heat place with full solar. Ensure the soil stays evenly moist, however ensure crops don’t sit in water.
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Watering Candy Potatoes
Candy potatoes want common water, however they’ll deal with dry soil as soon as established. Common, thorough waterings are essential after planting slips till they turn out to be established. As soon as established, candy potatoes require about 1 inch of water per week, relying on the climate.
Water candy potato crops within the night or early morning to make certain the leaves dry off through the day. Cease watering within the final 3 to 4 weeks earlier than harvesting candy potatoes, as watering throughout that point may cause tubers to separate.
Fertilizing Candy Potatoes
One of the best fertilizer for potatoes can also be the very best fertilizer for candy potatoes. The only solution to fertilize candy potatoes is to work a low-nitrogen, high-phosphorus fertilizer (5-10-10) into the soil earlier than planting the slips. Nonetheless, some gardeners choose so as to add a liquid or water-soluble fertilizer at planting time after which each 4 to six weeks through the rising season. As with watering, cease fertilizing nearer to the time of harvest.
Pruning Candy Potatoes
Keep away from pruning candy potato vines in any respect, for the reason that leaves feed the tubers and can assist crops produce a strong harvest. If the vines turn out to be unruly, the very best factor to do is to attempt to prepare them onto a trellis or again into the backyard mattress.
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Propagating Candy Potatoes
Candy potatoes are propagated from sprouts grown from different candy potatoes generally known as slips. Most gardeners both purchase slips from a backyard middle when planting season comes round or get them organized on-line. As a result of candy potatoes tackle common 100 days or extra to mature and require soil temperatures above 65 levels Fahrenheit, patrons ought to maintain this in thoughts when timing on-line orders.
Slips may also be propagated from wholesome candy potatoes, which is a cost-effective method since a single candy potato can produce round 50 slip sprouts. The candy potato propagation course of is pretty easy and never in contrast to sprouting a potato, and even an avocado pit.
- Scrub the candy potatoes clear.
- Minimize them in half or if they’re massive, in quarters.
- Fill a jar with sufficient water that you could droop the candy potato part half in and half out of the water.
- Use toothpicks to maintain the part in place, just like suspending an avocado pit in a jar.
- Hold the jars in a heat, brilliant place.
- When the candy potatoes are coated in sprouts, take away them from the water to separate them.
- Rigorously twist every small sprout off the candy potato.
- Place the slips in a shallow pan of water with a part of the stem in water and the leaves unsubmerged. Roots ought to begin to emerge over time.
- Hold the water clear. Wait till the roots are no less than 1 inch lengthy earlier than planting.
Though candy potato tubers will not be poisonous to pets, the candy potato vine might be toxic, particularly to cats. Unripe candy potatoes are unsafe for canine to eat, although they’ll eat absolutely ripe, cooked candy potatoes sparsely.
Potential Pests and Ailments
Sadly, candy potatoes will not be resistant to a number of fungi and pests. One of the best preventive step is to rotate your crops. Keep away from planting candy potatoes in the identical place yr after yr, as fungi will move on within the soil. Search for disease-resistant varieties, and purchase your slips from a good grower.
Candy potatoes can fall prey to whiteflies, wireworms, grubs, root-knot nematodes, and flea beetles. Maybe a much bigger drawback than bugs are a number of widespread fungi, with fusarium wilt, white rust, candy potato scurf, stem rot, and black rot being the most typical candy potato fungal ailments. Sadly, the one viable possibility is to destroy contaminated crops.
Harvesting Candy Potatoes
Harvesting candy potato roots might be satisfying. As soon as the soil is unfastened sufficient, the candy potato vine pulls up simply, revealing a string of a number of lovely candy potatoes without delay. Don’t scrub potatoes after harvest; simply shake or brush off dry filth rigorously. Wait till you might be able to eat the tuber to scrub it, for the reason that moisture will shorten its shelf life.
When is the very best time to reap candy potatoes?
Ideally, harvest candy potatoes earlier than temperatures drop to 50 levels Fahrenheit or decrease. Candy potatoes are warm-season crops that may develop till frost kills the vines, so they need to be harvested as quickly as this occurs. If the roots keep within the floor too lengthy after chilly temperatures, they may rot.
How do you harvest candy potatoes?
Though candy potatoes might be harvested as quickly as they give the impression of being large enough to eat, you’ll know candy potatoes are prepared to reap when the vines and leaves start turning yellow. That is round 100 days after planting, however it will rely upon the range.
- Loosen the soil across the plant by digging no less than a foot round and no less than 6 inches deep.
- In the reduction of a number of the candy potato vine, however not the first crown.
- Rigorously pull up on the plant’s predominant crown to loosen the roots.
- A recent candy potato root bruises simply, so dig out soil as wanted to make it simpler to drag the roots out.
- Gently shake off extra filth.
How do you remedy candy potatoes?
Remedy candy potato tubers earlier than storing them to assist them harden off. They’ll kind a second pores and skin that may maintain them protected from nicks and bruises, they usually’ll develop a sweeter taste. The problem is discovering a spot to remedy them.
- Retailer the tubers in a heat place with excessive humidity for two weeks. Purpose for 80 levels Fahrenheit with 90 p.c humidity; a greenhouse or desk outdoors within the shade can work for storing candy potatoes—supplied hungry animal guests can’t get to them.
- Organize the candy potatoes in order that they don’t contact.
- Discard any bruised candy potatoes earlier than storing.
How do you retailer candy potatoes?
All the time retailer candy potatoes in a cool, dry, darkish space. Place them in a picket field or basket at the back of the pantry if it stays cool sufficient, or in a root cellar or basement. Don’t retailer them within the fridge, the place moisture and chilly air will trigger them to spoil quicker. Many gardeners wrap their candy potatoes in newspaper after which place them in a picket field.
Candy potatoes may also be frozen and saved for as much as a yr within the freezer. They have to be peeled, boiled, and cooked utterly first. Slice the candy potatoes and add just a little lemon juice to assist protect shade, then retailer them in freezer-safe baggage.
Searching for extra wholesome meals to develop? Take a look at our guides on rising potatoes, pumpkins, and carrots.