Growing sweet potatoes in straw bales next year

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Growing sweet potatoes in straw bales next year
« on: June 13, 2014, 12:53 »
Looking ahead, I am thinking of growing some sweet potatoes in four straw bales instead of my maincrop potatoes next year. I plan to grow 1st earlies and 2nd early Kestrels, but giving up on maincrop. They store well enough, but start to go soft and sprout about this time of year and are cheap enough to buy anyway.

Some plotholders are notorious for leaving blighted tomato plants in their greenhouse over winter because the growing season has ended and they can't be bothered to clean up after and then open the greenhouse doors in spring, have a clean out and leave the rotting mess in a heap on their plot for a week before burning. I'm pretty sure that's where our early blight attacks are coming form. So, I've had enough of trying to get maincrops to grow. I just about get away with 1st and 2nds.

I'm in Cornwall and hopeful to get enough of a harvest to at least break even.

I plan to cover the bales in black plastic in about April/May to retain heat as they start to compost, start the slips off indoors potting on as required and plant out hardened plants around this time of year (mid-June), through the black plastic.

Sound like a plan? I'm not too worried about storing for too long as I don't expect the harvest to be too abundant, but worth a go I feel.



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Re: Growing sweet potatoes in straw bales next year
« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2014, 16:38 »
Actually - having done a bit of research and thought it through, it would currently cost me about 18.00 (inc. p+p) from most suppliers and would possibly come up with between 8 and 12 sweet potatoes if I'm lucky with a long summer and loads of plot space taken up with the vines. That's between 2.00 - 1.50 per sweet potato so it would never be cost effective because you can buy them in the supermarket way cheaper than that with no storage or spoilage to worry about.

I knew there was a reason I hadn't thought of it before - I probably had but had forgotten!

Back to the drawing board ...



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Re: Growing sweet potatoes in straw bales next year
« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2014, 17:55 »
Some members have had success growing slips from an organic sweet potato from the supermarket.

See the Forum's info topic here

Although, tbh, I don't recall any reports of great success come harvest time  :dry:
Lesley x
I'm not good, I'm not bad - I'm just me, and sometimes I have to apologise for that ;)



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Re: Growing sweet potatoes in straw bales next year
« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2014, 19:10 »
I'll say it once, I'll say it again :) Sweet Potatoes are a largely pointless experiment in this country, it is just too damn cold! They fundamentally require consistently hot day time temperatures, ideally 25-35 degrees. You are going to get less off sweet potato vines here than you are a blighted potato plant.

My footnote, the same in the various threads on this forum, I have grown SP's semi commercially in Kenya.



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Re: Growing sweet potatoes in straw bales next year
« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2014, 19:53 »
- shame cos I really like them.

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