SWEET POTATO TOWERS

Brisbane Qld

Back in 2013 a gardening friend posted a pic in our online group of a Sweet Potato Tower she was growing in a pot. I found it an intriguing idea as many of us were getting frustrated trying to grow SP in regular beds – they take up a lot of growing space and finding the tubers is always hit and miss.

I did a small experiment by growing one crop of SP in one of my raised beds full of rich soil – 4m x80cmx1.5m wide. Quite a lot of area to produce tubers. This is the end result – not bad, not good either for so much space used:

10.08.2013 crop from an entire bed 4m x 80cm x
Entire SP crop from an 8mx1.5mx80cm bed. Not bad, but I found I could do just as well in a grow bag with a tower without taking up so much bed space and providing a good supply of edible leaves.

Then I tried the tower idea:

21.01.2013
21.01.2013 I planted up some purple/white cuttings and added a tower. Pretty sure I just used a bag of Searles potting mix. I try slightly different growing mediums each time – mushroom compost didn’t work so well. Current crops are planted into well composted horse poo.
a month later in Feb
18.02.18 About a month later. Lots of good leaves to use in cooking.
again in May 2013
05.04.2013 really good growth.
and in July 2013
28.07.2013 Turn around for a crop can be as little as 4mths. I usually wait until the plant has flowered. Time to crop this lot.
238.07.15 Lissa cutting back the plant material
Me cutting back the plant material from the top of the pot, helped by Hugo my Schipperke.
28.07.2013 vegetation removed
28.07.2013 What’s left doesn’t look to have much potential.
28.07.2013 Andrew emptying the bag
28.07.2013 Pretty darn heavy, so I enlisted my big strong son Andrew to tip it out.
28.07.2013 crop from one bag
28.07.2013 The end result. Not bad at all for a bag that size and certainly better value than the crop from an entire 4m bed.
28.07.2013 crop washed
28.07.2013 All washed, so pretty. I always leave the dirt on the tubers for storage these days. Scrubbing the tubers creates an environment for bacteria to get if they aren’t used straight after cleaning.
28.07.2013 propagating material
28.07.2013 I like to use the fresh plant material immediately as new growing material. You can keep it in a bucket of water/weed tea for up to a week if you don’t have time to replant immediately. The fresher the better in my book.
28.07.2013 cutting into planting material
28.07.2013 Trimmed into individual cuttings. Each piece a potential new plant.
28.07.2013 soaking new cuttings in weed tea
28.07.2013 Cuttings soaked in weed tea. Plain water would do fine.
28.07.2013 new cuttings
28.07.2013 Some of the cuttings planted up. I tend to replant directly into the bag these days.
03.05.2014 purple.white replanted
03.05.2014 I grow three varieties of SP these days and each has very individual leaves – this is the white/purple.
03.05.2014 one of the bags replanted
03.05.2014 And the purple/white. I also grow purple/purple.
26.04.2014 white.purple crop not so prolific but good eating
26.04.2014 A crop of white/purple from one of the bags. Not as prolific as some of the other varieties but definitely my favourite – firm, sweet and delicious.

4 thoughts on “SWEET POTATO TOWERS”

  1. Every SINGLE time I read one of your posts I get uber excited and want to race out to the garden and plant whatever it is that you have been posting about. Forget Don Burke (who has had FAR too much plastic surgery for a “bloke”), You, “YOU” Lissa, are my new gardening guru! I await with baited and held breath for your next post (I might have to take a few surreptitious breaths as sometimes it’s a while between posts and you wouldn’t want me to turn blue now would you? 😉 )

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  2. lmao
    You crazy girl. You’re very good for my self esteem! I met Don Burke once while in a gardening acquaintances garden. He was very galant – raced over and shook my hand (like a good politician would). I don’t remember saying anything intelligent lol.

    I’m not a guru. I’m just a bit anal about some things 😉

    Let me know how you go with your SP down there in Tassie. I’d be interested to know how well they grow. I would expect you grow regular spuds better but I could be quite wrong.

    Oh – don’t stop breathing just for me! Don’t want to hear on the news that this hippy broad died from asphyxiation after reading some silly blog on the net.

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  3. Excellent information on SP, thanks.
    I will definitely try the tower idea this year.
    Will also try to find some white/purple, your favourite.
    I have only grown the common orange variety.

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    1. Thanks Jeff 🙂
      Yeah, definitely worth a go. The purple/purple and the purple/white are good eating too – not so soft as the gold one.

      This method gives you lots of good looking leaves for cooking purposes also.

      Liked by 1 person

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