bunch of large, healthy sweet potatoes
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How To Protect Your Sweet Potatoes From Common Garden Problems
The sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas) is a high-yield, nutritious root crop that’s easy to grow and maintain, but they’re commonly susceptible to pests, diseases, and root problems.
To combat pests like weevils, aphids, whiteflies, root-knot nematodes, and white grubs, rotate your crops, implement garden hygiene, use row covers, and apply
organic insecticides.
Sweet potatoes are also affected by fungal diseases like Fusarium wilt and root rot, black scurf (aka soilstain), and internal cork (small brown to black corky spots in the roots).
To prevent these diseases, sow certified disease-resistant sweet potato varieties; use clean, sanitized tools; rotate crops; test and amend soil as needed; and avoid overwatering.
Start potato slips indoors up to six weeks before the last frost, then plant them in full sun to partial shade, in slightly acidic, well-drained, loamy soil after the last frost.
Water consistently to ensure their soil remains moist but not waterlogged. Water once or twice a week during the growing season, reducing the frequency as your plants mature.
Don’t over-fertilize, as too much nitrogen promotes leaf growth but retards root development. Use a balanced fertilizer or compost before planting and during the growing season.
Harvest your crop when the leaves start yellowing and die back four to five months after planting. Dig up and cure the tubers in a warm, humid place for 10-14 days before storage.