The sweet potato plant is easy to grow and can be a great addition to any home garden. But just like any other plant, it needs supportive companion plants to help it thrive. That’s why it’s important to select the right companions for your sweet potato patch.
Today, we’ll share some tips for selecting the best companions for your sweet potatoes so you can get the most out of your harvest.
Good Companion Plants for Sweet Potatoes
Growing this crop is a great way to get a steady supply of delicious, nutritious treats. But selecting plants that are good neighbors for your sweet potatoes can help increase yields and possibly spare them from attacks from pests and diseases.
So what should you plant alongside your sweet potatoes? Here’s a list of vegetables, flowers, and herbs that will help sweet potatoes to thrive:
- Summer Savory
- Sweet Alyssum
What Not to Plant Next to Sweet Potatoes
There are some plants that you definitely don’t want to plant with your sweet potato plants.
Here’s a list of bad companions for them:
How to Grow Sweet Potatoes
When planting sweet potatoes, choose a sunny area with soil that drains well.
The plants grow from slips, not seeds. So in essence, you are cultivating sweet potatoes from existing sweet potato plants.
Also, make sure you give them enough room to spread out. The plants also require soil with a pH of 5.8 to 6.0 .
Sweet potatoes need a consistent water supply – about one inch of water per week – during their growing season. Also, keep the soil moist — never allow it to dry out completely.
Mulching with organic material like straw can also help conserve moisture in the soil.
You also need to make sure that the soil has enough fertilizers for crop growth. Sweet potatoes require adequate nutrients for healthy growth.
They also need a fertilizer that has nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus. Nitrogen is needed for good crop quality and for them to produce high yields. If the nitrogen levels are too low, older leaves will start to yellow.
Potassium is also important for sweet potato growth. Potassium helps ensure that the plants take up water and nutrients, so make sure your fertilizer has enough potassium in it as well.
On a whole, root and tuber crops need phosphorus to survive. It is essential for producing healthy tubers.
As a result, a balanced 10-10-10 fertilizer will ensure that your plants get the right amount of nutrients for optimal growth and health.
A few common garden pests that will go after sweet potatoes include root maggots, wireworms, leafhoppers, Colorado potato beetles, and flea beetles.
Each pest feeds differently, so it’s important to understand their behavior in order to protect your crops.
Take steps now to prevent these pests from damaging your crops. Try removing weeds near your potatoes or using companion planting techniques to reduce their overall populations.
Some of the common plant diseases that can affect sweet potatoes include root-knot nematodes, fusarium wilt, black rot, bacterial soft rot, early blight, and late blight .
In order to avoid these issues, it’s important to practice good crop management techniques such as crop rotation and using organic fungicides when needed.
Sweet potatoes will usually be ready for harvest three to four months after planting.
To tell if they’re ready, look at the vines and leaves. When they start to turn yellow, the sweet potatoes are ready for harvest.
Use a garden fork or spade to loosen up the soil around the roots and carefully lift out the tubers – careful not to bruise them.
Next, brush off any dirt that’s clinging to them. They’re now ready to eat or store.
How to Store
When you’re ready to harvest your sweet potatoes, you’ll want to take care when storing them.
Put them in a cool, dark place but never in the refrigerator. A root cellar or basement is best.
Also, if you’re not ready to use the potatoes right away, there are a few things you can do to ensure that they last as long as possible.
- Don’t wash them until you’re ready to use them. Wet sweet potatoes don’t store well as the extra moisture could cause rotting.
- Store unwashed sweet potatoes in a cool, dark place in well-ventilated open containers. Paper bags work great!
- Check on them regularly and remove any soft or rotting ones.
- Depending on the temperature and humidity of the location where your sweet potatoes are stored, they can usually stay good for up to three months if stored properly!
Where to Buy Seeds
This section is for your potato plant neighbors. You may want to find high-quality seeds; however, remember that sweet potatoes do not grow from seeds.
For other plants, reputable online stores like SeedsNow sell organic vegetables and herb seeds. But be sure to read the labels for the estimated time for germination and any other specific planting instructions.
When it comes to companion planting, sweet potatoes are not a one-size-fits-all crop. While different companions can help boost yields, others can actually be bad for your potato crop.
Therefore, when choosing a sweet potato neighbor, consider its purpose, the size of the plant, its effect on soil quality, and pest control.
Finally, remember to rotate your crop companion plants, as the same combinations of plants can have different effects over time.