Sweet Potato

Sweet potato can be grown successfully in most warm areas because it enjoys lots of moisture and heat. It will be damaged by heavy frost although sweet potatoes will tolerate light frosts. Because these tasty tubers are deep rooting, thorough preparation of the soil is necessary. Humus-rich sandy soils are ideal. Dig plenty of well rotted manure and compost into the soil before planting. Stem cuttings or shoots from a root are planted out from October to November, 30 cm apart Rows should be one metre apart. There are two main varieties of sweet potato: orange and white fleshed. Individual flavour is a personal preference. The tubers can be harvested 16 weeks after planting.

Select a special area in the garden and edge it with old railway sleepers (or similar) because runners can tend to spread very quickly. Any runners that grow over the edge can be cut off and put on the compost heap (or fed to the goats — they love 'em!).

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