It’s official – without a shred of doubt, I think we have truly stumbled upon the most incredible way to grow and harvest sweet potatoes ever!

And yes, it happens to work amazingly well for traditional potatoes too!

harvest sweet potatoes
Harvesting our sweet potato crop is a breeze!

Sweet potatoes have become a mainstay for meals in our household. They are an incredibly healthy choice for the dinner table. Not only are they loaded with nutrients and vitamins, they are delicious.

Even better, they are extremely simple and easy to make!  See : 3 Easy Ways To Cook A Sweet Potato

A Better Way To Plant, Grow And Harvest Sweet Potatoes

Unfortunately, as much as we love to eat them, we have always had a bit of trouble growing a successful crop.

That is until last year, when we decided to see if we could plant, grow and harvest sweet potatoes in wooden crates above ground – just like we do with our traditional potatoes.

The results were amazing last year, and even more stunning yesterday as we harvested this year’s crop. A crop that yielded about 50 pounds of sweet potatoes per crate!

And with that, I think we can say without a shred of doubt that it truly is the most simple way to grow and harvest sweet potatoes ever!

They are simple to plant. A breeze to maintain through the season. And when it comes to harvesting – it couldn’t be easier.  Here is a look at how it all works.

harvest sweet potatoes
Our homemade potato and sweet potato crates

How To Plant and Harvest Sweet Potatoes With Ease

Sweet potatoes are planted differently that traditional potatoes. With traditional potato varieties, you create “seed” by cutting a portion of a whole potato that contains an “eye” or a sprout. To plant, you place the cut potatoes into the earth and let them go.

Sweet potatoes on the other hand are planted as slips.

A slip is grown by placing a cut sweet potato in water. Sprouts then develop from the sweet potatoes eyes. When the sprouts get to be about 4 inches long, they can be cut and placed in water or potting soil to root.

harvest sweet potatoes
Slips can be created by submerging a cut sweet potato in water with toothpicks

A few weeks after cutting – the roots, or slips as they are called, are ready for transplant.

Growing In Crates

Our homemade potato crates are 36″ long x 24″wide x 18″ high with 2″ slats between the boards.  We create them from pine boards for a few dollars a piece. They can be re-used for several seasons before needing to be replaced.

See : How To Build Your Own Homemade Potato Crates.

We sit our crates in the back edge of our garden, right on top of the soil.

To plant, we place a few inches of a light mix of soil in the bottom of the crate. We make the filer soil from equal parts straw, shredded leaves, compost and garden soil. We then place the slips into the soil, being sure the roots are buried down into the soil about an inch or so.

grow sweet potatoes
The sweet potato vines grow incredibly well in the crates. So well you can’t see the crates by late summer!

As the plants start to grow, soil mix is added so that only a few inches of the potato plants are above ground. We continue adding soil until we have reached the top of the crate. We usually add soil every week for the first 8 weeks of growth.

After that – it is time to sit back and wait for the easiest part – the harvest!

The Most Simple Harvest Method Ever!

Yesterday’s harvest took all of about 10 minutes! It consisted of Mary and I cutting off the sweet potato vines and then lifting off the crates.

All that we had to do after that was sift our hands through the light soil mix and pull out the incredible harvest of sweet potatoes! No heavy fork lift use. No stabbing potatoes accidentally and ruining them. Just a simple sift and harvest.

Yesterday, each crate yielded right around 50 pounds of sweet potatoes – which is simply amazing when you consider how little effort was needed.

It truly is the best way to plant, grow and harvest sweet potatoes ever!

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20 thoughts on “The Most Incredible Way To Plant, Grow And Harvest Sweet Potatoes Ever!

  • October 6, 2018 at 10:41 pm
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    Does the crate have a floor in the bottom? How did you just lift off the crate?

    • October 9, 2018 at 7:04 am
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      Leslie – the bottom and top of the crate are open so you can simply lift off to harvest.

  • October 6, 2018 at 2:39 am
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    Wow! I so wish we cold grow then here in the PNW but we have such a short cool growing season. Any tips on how to grow them here

    • October 9, 2018 at 7:03 am
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      It is definitely difficult in a short growing season. About the only way to try would be to start them indoors a bit longer and cover the crates to keep from early or late frosts.

  • October 2, 2018 at 12:06 pm
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    That’s what recycling old pallets are for:)

    Commodore Collins
    Paragonah, UT

  • October 1, 2018 at 7:53 pm
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    WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO CURE THEM???

    • October 1, 2018 at 8:02 pm
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      Al, Curing is the process of letting them dry out and be prepared for storage. IF you unearthed the potatoes and put them in storage right away, the moisture on the outside would lead to them rotting.

  • October 1, 2018 at 7:34 am
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    This definitely looks like an amazingly easy method. I know what I’ll be doing next summer!

  • October 1, 2018 at 6:38 am
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    Do you dry (cure) sweet potatoes as you do regular potatoes?

    • October 1, 2018 at 10:05 am
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      Yes, you would cure them the same way that you would regular potatoes.

  • September 30, 2018 at 10:53 pm
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    This might be a silly question but can you tell me how you water them and how often?

    • October 1, 2018 at 10:04 am
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      That’s not a silly question at all. We will water them right after planting for about a week or two until they become established. Once they look strong and healthy we usually don’t have to water them at all. However, we live in a climate that does get rain periodically in the summer. I would suggest watering whenever your garden needs watered. Hope that helps!

  • September 30, 2018 at 1:45 pm
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    I am growing in tubs this year, but would like to transition to crates like yours. Did you know the leaves are edible too? They can be added to salads or wilted like spinach.
    Congrats on your fabulous harvest!

    • October 1, 2018 at 10:02 am
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      Thanks for the tip Daisy – that’s good to know!

  • September 30, 2018 at 1:17 pm
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    Howmanyslips do you put in each crate?

    • October 1, 2018 at 10:01 am
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      We usually put in 12-18 slips per crate.

  • September 30, 2018 at 12:28 pm
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    How do you store 40 pounds of Sweet Potatoes to keep them from rotting????

    • October 1, 2018 at 10:00 am
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      We store them in a cool, dark area in the house. A root cellar is ideal, but if not a cool and dark area of a basement or garage will work.

  • September 30, 2018 at 9:24 am
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    do you water the crates frequently? or just rely on rain with periodic watering if it’s been too long between rains?

    • October 1, 2018 at 9:57 am
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      We water right after planting until the vines become established. We typically don’t have to water them again because we live in an area that gets rain periodically throughout the summer. However, if you live in a very dry and hot climate, they may require additional water.

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