Visit Everglades City and the Ten Thousand Islands of Southwest Florida, the Everglades

Time To Plant Those Slips

by John Nipper

Sweet Potatoes

As the warm embrace of spring settles in, it’s the perfect time to roll up your sleeves and dive into the rewarding world of sweet potato cultivation. However, the Sunshine State’s unique climate brings its own set of challenges, from scorching heat and humidity to pesky insects. To ensure a bountiful harvest, here are a few things to consider to overcome these hurdles and cultivate sweet potatoes successfully.

Sweet potatoes thrive in high temperatures, withstanding heat of 100+ degrees. Florida’s warm climate is ideal for these heat-loving tubers, making it essential to choose the right time for planting.

Patience is the key. Needing 90 to 100 days of warm weather to produce the best results. After the growth period, an additional 10+ days of curing time is crucial to develop the sweet flavors that make sweet potatoes a favorite.

Soil and Nutrient Management is important. Plant your sweet potato slips in loose, well-drained soil amended with compost. Ensure an adequate supply of phosphorus and potassium, as these nutrients contribute to healthy root development. Avoid high-nitrogen fertilizers, focusing on fostering root growth rather than foliage.

When planting, space your sweet potato slips twelve to eighteen inches apart to provide ample room for growth. Mulch the soil well to retain moisture and protect against the unforgiving Florida sun.

During the initial phase, water your sweet potato slips generously daily until they have acclimated to their new surroundings. Once established, you can gradually reduce the frequency of watering.

Prune any flowers that develop on the sweet potato plants to save nutrients for robust root growth. This simple practice can significantly enhance the yield.

Time To Plant Those Slips by John Nipper from the Mullet Rapper on Visit Everglades City

After harvesting, resist the urge to wash your sweet potatoes immediately. Instead, leave the dirt on them and cure the tubers in a warm and humid place. Ideally, maintain temperatures between 85-90°F with around 85% humidity to develop the sweet flavors we all love.

Keep an eye out for deer & rabbits, which love to devour sweet potato leaves. Implement protective measures to ensure your plants remain untouched.

As gardening enthusiasts across the 10,000 islands embark on their summer plantings, these tips and tricks will serve as a helpful road-map to navigate the challenges unique to the area’s growing conditions.

– Happy planting!

2024-04-09T10:53:54-04:00April 10, 2024|Community|

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