How to clear a sweet potato patch

How wild can a sweet potato patch grow? Very! That's almost knee-deep in the current patch. I only walk through with garden boots on 'cos you don't know what's hiding under there!

Sweet potato plants take up a ridiculous amount of space. I indulged my curiosity about growing them and concluded that I wasn’t willing to spare the real estate for them. So, in February, I started removing one of the two patches growing in our garden to make way for other more productive edible plants.

I remembered reading somewhere how it’s good to leave parts of the root system to decompose underground, to add organic matter back to the soil. By right, it should decompose and be reabsorbed into the soil, right? So I wasn’t particular about removing all the roots, once I’d checked for sweet potatoes.

The developing sweet potato that I uprooted. Looks like a carrot.

I sure didn’t count on what happened…

Those bits and pieces of root that I left behind started sprouting, and new sweet potato plants have been popping up all over the place!

The funny thing is, when I uprooted one of the new sprouts, guess what I found? A forming sweet potato! Is this following the same principle as my mango tree, as in when the plant is threatened, it starts bearing fruit? Huh…

The moral of this post: When clearing a sweet potato patch, dig up everything! If you’re not committed to giving it space and time, don’t start growing them at all.

And if you’re getting rid of them, strip the leaves off the vines and use them as mulch/compost. There’s no point in wasting that good, organic material. Remember, though, that the vines are resistant to being composted – they’ll simply start growing new roots and leaves. Just throw them away after stripping them, or pass them to someone else who wants to try growing sweet potatoes.

The little sweet potato rootlet has been transplanted to the side where I’m trying to ensure it doesn’t take root anywhere else so that all its focus goes into developing that slowly swelling root into a potato. By hook or by crook, I’m going to tell you one day that I’ve eaten at least one sweet potato that I grew in our garden! It’s just taking longer than I thought it would. :|

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