Best Soil For Sweet Potatoes. Is this your first time cultivating sweet potatoes, or did you struggle with them last year? If this is the case, you are not alone. Many gardeners are curious about the optimum soil for growing sweet potatoes. Using the proper sweet potato soil will result in a significantly larger harvest in the fall.
Sweet potatoes thrive in loose, warm soil that drains easily (for example, sandy loam soil). Sweet potato soil should have a pH of 5.5 to 6.5. Improve sweet potato growth by adding organic material to your soil (such as compost or aged manure). Don’t worry if your soil does not perfectly suit the profile stated above; there are ways to enhance it. Let’s talk about what kind of soil you’ll need to grow sweet potatoes and how to prepare your soil for them.
Best Soil For Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes grow best on fine, well-draining soil, such as sandy loam, according to Texas A&M University Extension. Sweet potatoes prefer a pH range of 5.5 to 6.5 but will withstand a pH range of 5.0 to 7.5. Sweet potatoes are a warm-weather crop that prefers full sun and requires warm soil. They can withstand frost if the soil temperature is higher than 55 degrees Fahrenheit (13 degrees Celsius).
1. Soil Consistency
If the soil in your garden adheres together readily and can be moulded into shapes (like clay), you have clay soil. Clay soil has very small particles and holds water because it drains slowly. Clay has very closely packed particles, making it a dense soil. Sweet potato tubers grow underground, thus clay soil will make it difficult for them to grow.
To add organic material to clay soil, mix in some compost or old manure. This loosens the soil, allowing it to drain more quickly. Compost will also enrich the soil with nutrients. If your garden soil is loam (not clay), yet it is too dense, add some sand to soften it out. Remember not to mix sand with clay soil. You will receive very hard soil that will be difficult to work with!
Sweet potatoes, potatoes, carrots, and other crops with subterranean roots or tubers thrive considerably better in loose soil. These crops may grow freely in loose soil because they are not hampered by dense clumps of soil. If your garden soil is highly sandy, it will drain quickly – potentially too quickly. This can result in water shortages for any plants you try to cultivate, regardless of how much you water them.
If your soil is light, crumbles readily, and dries quickly, it is most likely sandy soil. Sifting the soil improves its texture regardless of the type of soil you have in your garden. A soil sifter removes particles (such as roots, rocks, and soil clumps). A dirt sifter made of wood, nails and rabbit wire with small holes can be made. If you don’t want to build one, you can buy a soil sifter online.
2. Soil pH and Nutrients
Sweet potatoes grow best on soil with a pH of 5.5 to 6.5. (somewhat acidic to slightly acidic). If you are unsure about the pH of your soil, conduct a soil test. Home soil test kits are available online or at garden supply stores. You can also send a sample of your soil to a local agricultural extension organisation for analysis. If you want to understand more about these soil testing alternatives, I’ve prepared an essay about it here.
A soil test will disclose the pH of your soil as well as how much of each nutrient is present. Nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium (commonly known as NPK, or the “big three”) are the most crucial nutrients for plant growth. A soil test will reveal whether your soil is deficient in one or more of the “big three” nutrients. In that scenario, when you prepare to plant your sweet potatoes, you should apply a supplement to offer the appropriate nutrients for your soil.