Grow Beds with potatoes

Sweet potatoes in the Grow Beds. The third bed is a double-stack to see if there is any benefit to having more soil.

Growing potatoes seems to be all the rage right now. It’s easy to do, harvesting is fun, and potatoes are good keepers that can be enjoyed well into the winter months.

This summer we have a quite a few potato-growing trials under way in our Burlington, Vermont, test gardens. We’re experimenting with a couple different soil blends and fertilizers, several varieties of potatoes and some alternative growing systems to the extremely popular Potato Bag.

In the display gardens nearby, I am also trying my hand at growing sweet potatoes in containers. Unlike regular potatoes, which are grown from chunks of potato buried under the soil, a sweet potato starts as a rooted shoot from a sweet potato vine — called a “slip”. Once the plant begins growing, it sends its roots down into the soil. The sweet potato tubers form on those roots so there’s no need to hill up the plants.

Sweet potatoes in Grow Bed

July 13: Growing strong in the Grow Bed.

With this in mind, I assembled four Mini-Grow Beds; raised beds that measure 18″ wide x 3 ft. long x 10″ deep. I stacked two of the beds on top of each other so I would have one bed that’s 20″ high and two beds with 10″ high sides. Three plants went into each raised bed. I am curious to see if having extra soil depth will make any difference in the size or quantity of tubers produced. We also planted a few sweet potato slips into Potato Bags.

The varieties we’re growing are Georgia Jet and Beauregard, which both mature in about 100 days and are reputed to be good producers in northern climates.

Are you growing sweet potatoes in your garden this year? If so, leave a comment and let us know how you do it.