Sweet Grow Beds

We recently shared our great results about growing sweet potatoes in the Grow Bags. What about raised beds? What about extra-deep raised beds? We planted three Grow Beds. Each was filled with a blend of 70 percent container mix, 20 percent topsoil and 10 percent compost. To determine if a deeper planting area would yield more tubers, we made one of the beds twice as deep as the other two by stacking two 10-inch beds. Three rooted sweet potato slips were planted into each bed.

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Harvesting from the Grow Bed is easy: Just pull out the corner pins.

In the foreground are the two 10-inch beds. We stacked two Grow Beds to create the 20-inch bed at the back.

Deer damage was a problem all summer, as seen on the left side, but the plants were remarkably resilient.

Last May we planted sweet potato slips in both Grow Bags and Grow Beds.

We recently shared our great results about growing sweet potatoes in the Grow Bags. As for the Grow Beds, we planted three of them. Each was filled with a blend of 70 percent container mix, 20 percent topsoil and 10 percent compost. To determine if a deeper planting area would yield more tubers, we made one of the beds twice as deep as the other two by stacking two 10″ beds. Three rooted sweet potato slips were planted into each bed.

Our summer was relatively wet, so the plants had plenty of water. We had no pest problems other than deer. Our resident deer herd munched the foliage on a pretty regular basis. At several points during the season the plants were completely defoliated, but the vines always put out new leaves within a few days. Had the plants been able to put all their energy into making tubers instead of producing new leaves, our yields would surely have been higher.

Here are the results:

  • Bed 1: 10″ Grow Bed: 13.4 lbs.
  • Bed 2: 10″ Grow Bed: 12.96 lbs.
  • Bed 3: 20″ Grow Bed: 20.76 lbs.

As you can see in the photos, the plants in the 10″ deep beds were crowded and most of the tubers they produced were intertwined and underdeveloped. For that size bed, two plants would have been better than three.

The stacked, 20″ deep bed gave the three plants enough room to develop relatively normal tubers. With adequate growing space, the yield from the same number of plants was almost double.

Conclusion? Resist the temptation to overplant. Sweet potatoes produce higher yields when they have plenty of loose, friable soil in which to develop their tubers. Going forward, we’ll consider 15 gallons of soil per plant (the amount in one of our Potato Grow Bags) to be the minimum.

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