Some of you may remember that we decided to try an experiment with grow bags this year! We decided to try growing some sweet potatoes in our DIY grow bags. We haven't ever grown sweet potatoes in grow bags, so we weren't sure how it would work out. I've seen mixed results from other's experiments.. some get absolutely nothing while others get pounds of sweet potatoes!
So we gave it a try! First thing we did was make our grow bags, but you can also purchase them as well. We used a few different types of sweet potato plants. They are usually grown from slips, which you get when you place a sweet potato in a jar half full of water, and it begins to sprout. Once the stalks are about 5-6 inches long, you can cut them off and plant them! You can start your own sweet potato slips or purchase them. So we did some of our own and purchased some as well. My mom also spotted some sweet potato plants at a local nursery and thought they would be a fun addition to our experiment.
We planted our sweet potatoes in the ground first, because we already knew they would do well so they were more of a priority for us. We got really busy, and actually didn't have time to plant our slips into the grow bags for about 2 more weeks. By this point, our plants in the ground were taking off. We definitely should have planted them earlier in the grow bags! Oh well.
They did seem to grow very well in the bags and the plants appeared healthy. Towards the end of the season, some of our squash plants began to shade the bags so we had to move them to another spot. We noticed that as the temperatures began to cool off, the sweet potatoes in the bags were much more sensitive to the cooler nights. Which makes sense, since they have much more airflow around the bags and don't hold the heat as well as the ground.
Here we are harvesting them!
We ended up getting about 5lbs of sweet potatoes. Way less than in the ground! But considering they required almost no effort.. it was certainly easy! We have a shorter season for sweet potatoes here in New England, and I really feel that us planting them so much later that I had planned impacted the harvest. We will definitely stick to growing them in our raised bed, but I think I'm still going to try to grow a few in grow bags next year as well, and plant them along with the regular sweet potato plants. I will have to see if it makes a difference!
There are quite a few different grow bags on the market! Click each one for more information:
Have you tried growing sweet potatoes before? How do you like to grow them?