Friday, May 15, 2015

How To Grow Sweet Potatoes In A Wheelbarrow

Growing sweet potatoes is so easy. Unlike regular potatoes no hilling is required. Sweet potatoes grow great in containers but an old wheelbarrow is perfect. Here is how I grow sweet potatoes in my backyard garden and organic ones too.

how to grow sweet potatoes in a wheelbarrow, growing sweet potatoes in containers

This old wheelbarrow was used by my father during his many years as a mason. We drilled a few holes for drainage and filled with potting soil with some sand mixed in. Sweet potatoes do not need  rich soil and it needs to drain well. They are a tropical plant so grow during summer. If some potatoes do peak through just mulch or hill over with soil.

You can plant a few organic sweet potatoes right in the soil or start slips from one like I did. Take a sweet potato and place in a jar with water, potato pointy side up. Shoots with leaves will start to grow and when they are a few inches pull them off and strip a few leaves off at the bottom and put the slips in a clear jar in water in a sunny window.

how to grow sweet potatoes in a wheelbarrow or container

After a couple of weeks, your sweet potato cuttings will have grown a little more and be full of roots. At this time seperate the sweet potato slips and plant them in your wheelbarrow or large container about 6-8 inches apart. Keep soil moist but not wet. The plants will fill in and make a nice attractive plant.

growing sweet potato slips, cuttings, how to grow sweet potatoes in a wheelbarrow or container

When to harvest your sweet potato plants:

Sweet potato plants will keep growing as long as the weather stays warm. This is the benefit of a wheelbarrow if you live in an area with early frosts. You can wheel the plant into your garage at night.
If you have a long growing season like me, you can just keep checking the plants and harvest when the potatoes are a good size for harvest, usually September to October.

Dig sweet potatoes on a dry day and let them sit outside for a few hours in the shade  to dry. They should cure in your garage or on your porch, ideally in 80-85 degrees for about two week. You want to keep them from getting damp but allowing any marks or wounds to heal up. Cook any damaged sweet potatoes right away. Time to try all those recipes you have saved for your organic homegrown crop of sweet potatoes.

Update 1/2016: I had so many sweet potato slips that I planted some in our planters out front. They made a nice ground cover all summer and I have harvested over 25 pounds so far and still have two plants to dig up. Be very careful when digging that you do not use a fork or shovel and puncture your sweet potatoes. I did that to one. Hand dig if you can.

Also, as for curing; dig and dry out on your lawn or in the sun. Don't rub wet dirt off cause it will scar the newly dug sweet potatoes. You can rub them off when totally dry. We have been enjoying the best tasting organic sweet potatoes ever!


  1. Oh, I wish I'd known about this earlier so I could have had my sweet potato rooted, but still, this is such a GREAT idea! I'm going to do it. The fact that I can wheel it indoors at night is a great feature. Thanks for the clever idea!

  2. Well, my wheelbarrow doesn't move easily, but I think I can try a sweet potato in it.

  3. Hello Elaine... I love your sweet potato idea ... I'm going to do this.. we all love sweet potato at my house.... thanks for the tips on how to strike the shoots..
    Hugs... Barb xxxx

  4. We've got some slips started now. We are so happy that sweet potatoes will grow here in summer. It's one of our few summer crops. Love the idea of a mobile garden!

  5. Good idea and I have a holey wheelbarrow, its a bit rusty.