How to grow sweet potatoes in your vegetable garden?

Sweet potatoes are a nutritious and delicious addition to any vegetable garden. Known for their sweet flavor and versatility in the kitchen, these root vegetables can also enhance your garden’s beauty with their lush, vine-like leaves. Growing sweet potatoes is simpler than you might think, and with the right care and conditions, they can thrive in a variety of climates. This guide will walk you through the steps to cultivate sweet potatoes in your own backyard, ensuring a bountiful harvest.

Choosing the Right Variety:

Before planting, decide on the variety of sweet potato that best suits your taste and growing conditions. There are many varieties to choose from, ranging in color from the classic orange to purple, white, and even red. Some popular varieties include ‘Beauregard,’ ‘Covington,’ and ‘Purple Majesty.’

Preparing Your Garden:

Sweet potatoes prefer warm conditions and well-drained, fertile soil. They are best planted in a sunny spot that receives at least six hours of direct sunlight daily. To prepare your garden, work in plenty of compost or aged manure to enrich the soil. Sweet potatoes also thrive in slightly acidic to neutral soil (pH 5.5-6.5).

Starting with Slips:

Sweet potatoes are typically grown from slips, which are sprouts that develop from a mature sweet potato. You can purchase slips from a garden center or start your own by placing a sweet potato in a glass of water with half of it submerged. Place the glass in a sunny spot, and within a few weeks, slips will sprout from the top of the potato. Once the slips are about 4-6 inches tall, gently twist them off the sweet potato and place them in water to root.


Once the danger of frost has passed and the soil has warmed, it’s time to plant your sweet potato slips. Plant them in raised beds or ridged rows, about 12-18 inches apart, in rows spaced 3-4 feet apart. This spacing allows the vines room to spread and grow. Bury the slips up to the top leaves and water them in well.

Care and Maintenance:

Sweet potatoes are relatively low-maintenance once established. Keep the soil consistently moist, especially during the first few weeks after planting and during dry spells. However, be careful not to overwater, as sweet potatoes do not like soggy conditions. A layer of mulch can help retain soil moisture and suppress weeds.


Sweet potatoes are ready to harvest when the leaves and ends of the vines start turning yellow, usually about 3-4 months after planting. To harvest, gently dig around the plants with a spade or garden fork, being careful not to damage the tubers. Pull the tubers out of the ground, brush off any excess soil, and let them dry in the sun for a few hours.

Curing and Storage:

Curing sweet potatoes is an essential step that enhances their sweetness and extends their storage life. To cure, keep the harvested sweet potatoes in a warm (about 85°F), humid (about 85% humidity) environment for 10-14 days. After curing, store them in a cool, dark place where they can last for several months.


Growing sweet potatoes in your vegetable garden is a rewarding endeavor that yields delicious results. With their minimal care requirements and high nutritional value, sweet potatoes are an excellent choice for gardeners looking to expand their homegrown produce. By following these steps and providing your sweet potatoes with the right conditions and care, you can enjoy a successful harvest and the many culinary delights that these versatile vegetables offer.

Leave a Comment