Sweet potatoes are delicious and include healthy nutrients. If you wish to enjoy this vegetable regularly, you can grow it at home with minimal care and effort.
Though this may come as a surprise, a great way to grow sweet potatoes is in laundry baskets. That’s because the holes in those baskets provide good air circulation and drainage to the vegetable’s roots.
So, keep reading to learn the four steps of growing sweet potatoes in laundry baskets.
The Materials You’ll Need
There are a few things you’ll need to start the planting project. Here’s a list of the materials:
- A lightweight laundry basket with holes
- Potting soil or compost
- Newspaper (to use at the bottom of the basket)
- A knife (to cut the plastic at the bottom)
- Sweet potato slips (you can buy them from a garden center or make them by sprouting a sweet potato)
- Fertilizer (any fertilizer that’s high in potash)
Step 1: Prepare the Laundry Basket
When you’re ready to start, the most important step is getting your laundry basket ready for planting.
Get a knife and make a few holes in the bottom of the basket. You might be able to guess that this is to help drainage. (this is pretty crucial, so don’t skip this step!) Without drainage, your sweet potatoes could go all rotten and yucky.
Then, put some newspaper at the very bottom of the basket. Also, you want to cover a bit of the basket’s sides with newspaper as well, to avoid the soil from falling out.
The main target is to layer enough paper to create a good base for your potato plants.
Now, it’s time to mix your soil. Mix compost soil with some fertilizer (according to the instructions on the fertilizer). You need around 4 inches of soil mix in your basket.
You basically want your basket to be about one-third full.
Step 2: Plant the Sweet Potato Slips
Planting the potato slips is relatively straightforward. You’ll just bury them in the soil.
There are two (very simple) techniques, and just pick one of them:
Technique 1 – Simply lay the slips on top of the soil, and then add more soil to cover them. Simples.
Technique 2 – Make small holes in the soil, insert the slips, then close them. There is no rocket science here!
To plant the potato slips, you’ll bury them in the soil. You can simply lay the slips on top of the soil, and then add more soil to cover them.
Top tip – Aim to make sure the soil is firm around the slips, as sweet potatoes should stay warm to grow.
Step 3: Add Water and Soil
When you have finished burying the sweet potato slips in the soil, the trick is to water them immediately.
When planting sweet potatoes, the soil should stay moist, so avoid leaving it to dry.
In the first week, try to water the sweet potatoes daily to ensure their growth. You can ease off a bit from the second week onwards, watering them every other day.
When the plant grows, things become even easier to manage. You can water it every week or more if the soil looks a bit dry to you. You can, of course, also test the soil with your finger. If it feels dry then it probably needs a bit more watering.
Top tip – As the stems grow, keep on adding soil to the basket to prevent their exposure to sunlight. You really want to be adding soil to the basket every week until the stems reach the top of the container (then you can stop!).
Step 4: Harvest the Sweet Potatoes
When are your sweet potatoes ready to be harvested?
I would basically say it is when the stems have grown to the full length of your basket.
The process of harvesting is relatively simple. Turn the basket upside down and let gravity do the work for you! Give it a little help to gently pull out the plants.
In case you’re not aware, you will find the sweet potatoes at the roots and the vines of the plant. Simply cut them off and give them a wash!
There you go – delicious sweet potatoes grown at home!
Pros and Cons of Growing Sweet Potatoes in Laundry Baskets
Growing sweet potatoes in laundry baskets is a reasonably easy and convenient method, but just be aware that some peopel prefer traditional pots or containers.
Here are the pros and cons of using laundry baskets so you can make an informed decision.
|Pros of Using Laundry Baskets||Cons of Using Laundry Baskets|
|They’re cheap||The holes may be too big so the soil could fall out|
|They’re lightweight and easy to move||They can break easily|
|They have holes for circulation and drainage||Not aesthetically pleasing for home or garden|
|They’re big so they can fit a large number of sweet potatoes||Laundry baskets sometimes have chemicals or dyes that may affect the soil|
|They come in many sizes so you can choose the one that suits you|
So now you know the pros and cons! You can at least weigh them up and see if you maybe want to try this method.
I am certainly a big supporter! It’s easy, economic, and the results are rewarding!
(Just make sure you buy a sturdy laundry basket that is good quality if you can, and contains no added chemicals.)
Now that you have your homegrown sweet potatoes, here are some frequently asked questions you might wonder about and their answers.
What’s the best way to store sweet potatoes?
The best way to store sweet potatoes is to keep them in a cool, dark place with good ventilation. With proper storage, your sweet potatoes can last for several months.
How many sweet potatoes can you grow in a laundry basket?
You can grow around five to six sweet potato plants in a standard-sized laundry basket. With larger baskets, you might plant up to eight. Ultimately, it will depend on the size of the basket.
How long does it take to grow sweet potatoes in laundry baskets?
It takes around four to five months for the stems of sweet potatoes to grow to their full length. Once they’ve grown out of your basket, you can harvest them.
What’s the best type of laundry basket for growing sweet potatoes?
The best laundry basket should have holes for circulation, but they shouldn’t be too big, so the soil doesn’t fall out.
The basket’s size should be big enough for a minimum of five plants.
As for the material, it should be durable as it will hold soil and will be exposed to water. Plastic is a good choice but avoid wicker or fabric.
Growing sweet potatoes in laundry baskets is a unique and fun way to plant these vegetables at home and enjoy them whenever.
The process requires simple materials such as a laundry basket, soil, and sweet potato silks.
The sweet potato stems take around four months to grow, and then you can harvest them by cutting them off from the roots. They’re best stored in a cool dark place afterward.
Now you can make many recipes with those healthy and delicious vegetables.