Fertilizing Sweet Potatoes – Best Ultimate Guides & Tips
Sweet potato vines are simple to grow. However, if you want your crops to produce a plentiful harvest, you’ll have to provide them with what they need. In this post, we’ll go over everything about fertilizing sweet potatoes, including when and how to apply fertilizers, which types to use, and some of the most important things to ensure that they grow healthy.
Now, let’s get started!
Best Fertilizers For Sweet Potatoes
You have two main options for sweet potato fertilizers: commercial and organic. The rule of thumb for this task is to pick the produce low in nitrogen and high in potassium and phosphates.
When purchasing commercial fertilizers, make sure to read the packaging for the NPK ratio. The plants grow nicely with a fertilizer ratio of 5-10-10.
Nitrogen stimulates the growth of new leaves in the sweet potato. Potassium and phosphates, on the other hand, encourage root development.
Potassium and phosphates are more favorable to the growth of your crop since sweet potato is a root vegetable that develops below the soil surface.
When it comes to organic fertilizers, gardeners have more options. Here are some suggestions for your crop.
Sweet potatoes get most of their essential nutrients from compost. Choose a compost that is at least one year old and entirely composted.
Otherwise, make sure your handmade compost has completely rotted and is free of non-compostable substances.
Avoid compost that is high in nitrogen, such as animal manure. Too much nitrogen leads to tiny tubers.
Your crop can benefit from plant-based fertilizers or compost generated from low-nitrogen resources like leaf molds.
Compost offers what your crop requires
All plants receive macronutrients and micronutrients from kelp meals. It improves soil and root development and overall growing conditions by providing more minerals.
Sweet potato plants need calcium in bone meals. This fertilizer can also counteract the effects of other soil changes.
Bone meal contains calcium, promotes root growth, develops strong roots, and avoids blossom-end disease.
While growing, apply some Epsom salt to the soil to provide your crop with magnesium, which can help develop sweet potato walls.
More to read: How Far Apart To Plant Potatoes? Every Gardener Should Know!
For a more direct method, combine one tablespoon with one gallon of water and sprinkle straight on the leaves as a foliar application.
Seaweed is high in potassium, phosphates, nitrogen, and magnesium, which are all vital plant nutrients. Water lightly and feed monthly with this option.
Schedule For Fertilizing Sweet Potatoes
After choosing high-quality fertilizers, you need to plan the feeding schedule appropriately. The schedule differs based on what types of fertilizers you use.
About two weeks after growing sweet potatoes in your garden, you may start feeding them.
You can fertilize them every four to six weeks during the growing period. In this stage, three fertilizer dosages are sufficient.
Two to four weeks after growing sweet potatoes, you can move to the second application of fertilizers as a side dressing.
The side-dressing should be high in potash and low in nitrogen. Also, keep the fertilizer about four inches alongside the young vines and three inches deep.
When sweet potato plants are young, granular fertilizer is good. It may, however, burn your plants if it comes into direct touch with them.
When the sweet potato plant starts to expand, it’s simple to apply fertilizers that you may dilute with water.
Besides, if you use a hose-end sprayer, you may use water-soluble products during your regular watering routine, saving time.
The fertilizer must be low in nitrogen for the best result
Before growing sweet potatoes, spread compost into the soil to offer the necessary nutrients for optimum sweet potato production.
An early application of fertilizers in well-draining, rich soil might be all that’s necessary for the entire growing season.
Apply a two to four-inch layer of leaf mold or compost to the soil, then sprinkle it up to eight to twelve inches deep.
Poor soils, such as rocky or sandy soils, require up to six-inch layers of compost because they have little organic matter.
A side dressing of leaf mold or compost should be six to eight weeks after the plants grow. It would be best to give your crop this treat in the middle of summer.
This procedure provides a fresh supply of nutrients to keep the plant thriving for the rest of the growing season.
Six inches away from the plants, you can dig small two-inch furrows. Ensure that no growing tubers are disturbed before spreading the compost into the furrows.
You can use leaf mold as the compost
When And How To Fertilize Sweet Potatoes?
The standard levels of fertilizer for these plants are roughly 1.25 to 2 pounds per foot if the soil is neither too rich nor too low in nutrients.
After this treatment, you can wait about four weeks to feed your crop again, using the same ratios as before, with potassium taking precedence over other elements.
If you’re going to employ natural fertilizers to enhance soil properties, be aware that they might also serve as a channel for disease transmission. As a result, it is not advisable to use horse guano fertilizers.
It is preferable to go for a small amount of fertilizer rather than a large amount. The excessive application causes long-term damage, such as malformed sweet potatoes.
When Shouldn’t You Fertilize Sweet Potatoes?
Do not feed your crop at the planting time. It doesn’t require many nutrients during that time. If there is too much nitrogen, you will get leafy plants instead of big sweet potatoes.
Also, around three weeks before harvest, cease fertilizing them. In most cases, three fertilizer dosages are sufficient during the growing season.
Stop fertilizing when it is harvest time
Sweet Potato Fertilizer Problems
You may encounter two common problems when you grow sweet potatoes: nutritional imbalance and improper soil condition.
If you have a plant with lush foliage, you might expect it would yield a massive harvest of big sweet potatoes.
On the other hand, this sign might indicate that you over-fertilized the crop with nitrogen, resulting in a lot of surface expansion but little or even no root development.
Applying too little nitrogen might result in stunted, weak development. The outcomes are not ideal when you harvest sweet potatoes.
For optimum development, your crop demands fertile soil conditions, particularly soil temperature. Warm green sand or clay soil is perfect for them to flourish on.
Frost sensitivity is a problem for some plants. Before planting sweet potatoes in the soil, wait until the soil temperature rises at least 65°F.
These vegetables prefer a pH range of 4.5 to 7.0, although they aren’t sensitive about pH level as long as it is not too acidic.
When it comes to soil preparation, you can apply some lime to raise the pH of the dirt or sulfur to lower the pH of acidic soils.
For the best result, you can execute a soil test. You can follow the steps instructed in this video for your soil test.
Proper fertilization is one of the determinants of the success of your harvest. Thankfully, you have a lot of choices to offer your crop the best conditions.
We have shared with you all the necessary tips for cultivating sweet potatoes. If you need any further information about gardening tips, please feel free to ask. Thank you for reading!