Growing Sweet Potatoes in Queensland
Introducing Sweet potatoes
Sweet potatoes are the tuberous roots of a beautiful perennial vine. A close relative of morning glory, these nutritious veggies originate in the tropics. They love the warm, humid weather in Queensland and produce an abundant harvest.
Don’t overfeed your plants with nitrogen. Just like with other root crops, too much nitrogen will result in beautiful vines and leaves, but under-developed tubers.
You’ll get a better harvest from the plants in full sun, but sweet potatoes can grow in more shaded areas too.
Dig plenty of compost into your soil. Don’t add manure. The compost will add nutrients and help with water retention during the summer months.
Sweet potatoes can be planted year-round, but will be easier to grow if they are started in the warm spring weather.
You can grow your own slips. Allow a sweet potato to sprout. Take cuttings of the shoots and place them into soil to root. Take care to keep the soil moist while they root. Alternatively, buy sweet potato slips and plant them into your garden.
Sweet potatoes handle hot dry weather well. Water them when the soil is dry but be careful of over-watering as this may cause the tubers to rot.
Don’t over-feed your sweet potatoes with nitrogen. Give them a balanced, organic feed every 8 weeks throughout the growing season. Compost tea or a balanced organic fertilizer are good options.
A good thick layer of organic mulch will help with water retention. Straw, shredded leaves, grass clippings or coconut husks are all good options.
Pull the vines out of the way so that you can see the soil and then dig your tubers up using a garden fork. Take care not to damage your tubers while harvesting.
Sweet Potato Weevils
Buy slips that are certified weevil-free and practice good crop rotation. Mulch also helps to keep the soil from cracking which makes it harder for adult weevils to access the roots.
Snails and slugs
Spray with soap spray weekly until the problem is under control. It may be necessary to reapply more often, particularly during wet weather.
What to do about Sweet Potato Weevils?
What to do about Snails and slugs?