View Full Version : Any companion plants for sweetpotato?
22-06-2007, 04:37 AM
I've got a nice patch of sweetpotato growing, but it looks a rather boring monoculture. I do like to mix up my plantings. Does anyone have any experience with other plants that thrive with sweetpotato? Or, conversely, know of any plants that do not thrive in close proximity to sweetpotato?
Thanks in anticipation,
22-06-2007, 05:50 AM
whatever you like you can grow with them, they do well as plantings under trees, pretty much we alwyas used them along our mulched rows along and around our food trees as they are soil conditioners we didn't harvest a lot so the yams go to break down in the soil. then excess vine was trimmed and thrown back onto the rows to become mulch, or each year we mulched over the vines as well.
you can eat the young leaves and tips just like silverbeet/spinach don't over cook just wilt them.
22-06-2007, 06:25 AM
I've heard you shouldn't plant sweet potato around orange trees... anyone else heard this one? Never got a reason, just don't do it.
22-06-2007, 06:34 AM
new one on us???
we grew them around all food trees and lots of them where citrus with mulching and the sweeties our fruit was sweet and juicy with only rainfall as the water supply.
22-06-2007, 06:02 PM
if you plant sweet potatoes under trees - di you dig them out? Doesn't this digging out damage the roots? And when do you plant sweet potatoes in subtropical climate?
22-06-2007, 07:03 PM
we grew them in the rows between the actual trees though they do spread, but generally under the mulch the yams are easy to pull with no digging.
23-06-2007, 04:36 AM
Hi all, Thanks for the input. I can easy put them in between the trees in the orchard area. That will kick off that area too from being a monoculture of trees. Hadn't worried too much about that area yet because of the drought. And, apart from being a living mulch, if I can keep some protection over them till they get going, might provide a diversion and food source for the wild roos. They have nibbled the lucerne patch down to stumps; so much for being a food source for my own stock. I was looking at the grape vines today, wondering how much damage they have done to them, and if there are any signs of them going dormant so I can shape them, well, could have knocked me over with a feather, the Red Globe and Ribier have got bunches of grapes on them :o :o :o :shock: :? Still green, but about half size. And the strawberries are fruiting better now than in the summer
WE HAD 10mm RAIN TODAY HO HO HO THAT FEELS BETTER preceded by a bitch of a dust storm, winds in excess of 90kph :x :x :x
23-06-2007, 08:08 AM
Sweet potato is a great groundcover for all trees. It is not particularly invasive. Your citrus trees will probably develop a nice low skirt and discourage the SP from getting under them.
If your roos have to jump a fence to get in try getting some electric fence tape and putting it round the top, repair any holes etc too.
Electric fence tape even if it is not electrified deters a lot of stock because it is flexible and vibrates in the slightest breeze. Kangaroos dont like jumping stuff like that although they still will if hungry.
an edit and PS.... do you see any mallee fowl in your area at all?
24-06-2007, 02:35 AM
Firstly, to answer Hedwig's question, when to plant SP in tropics, the answer is Anytime. They should be perrenials up there. So go for it Hedwig. Just get a tuber of your favourite type from the veg shop if no one around you is growing them and stick it one end down into a narrow necked bottle, or support it across the neck of the bottle with toothpicks stuck in the sides. Put water in the bottle so a small part of the end is kept moist. You want a larger part out of the bottle because that is where the green shoots that you will plant are going to come from. Put it where it will get plenty of light, but not direct sun. When the shoots have got to about 20cms long , cut them off. Leave the tuber in the bottle to generate new shoots. Some people at this stage like to put the cut off pieces into another jar of water to allow roots to start forming on them before planting out, but this is usually better for cooler areas. Up your way you would be OK to plant them directly into the soil. Just take most of the leaves off, leaving 4 - 6 leaves at the tip. Make a slit in the soil and plant the shoot in more or less horizontally Keep moist but don't allow to become waterlogged. I grow mine on mounds. Makes it easier to bandicoot for roots also. Because I have already added compost to the siol I dont worry much about fertilizing, but if I happen to have some seaweed solution or a fertilizer brew happening I will give every thing a drink/ feed. Best not to give too much nitrogenous fert, but you can give a sprinkle of sulphate of potash, just not too close.
Thanks for the tips Flute. Only been here a year and most of the boundary fence ( 12 acres ) needs replacing. Only so much one person can do ( my partner has had to work away. No work here because of the drought) Looks like I'll have to electric fence a part of the place to keep the roos at least out of the veg garden, but the orchard area is too big to do right now. I'm hoping that the rain we are having will generate some natural feed for them so it takes the pressure off this place. I do get a lot of pleasure from seeing them here and would like to have a balance where we can all survive this drought together. Which doesn't mean I'm having lambs born to feed the foxes. All the wildlife is so deperately hungry. Even the honeyeaters have destroyed the flowers on the bottlebrushes whilst feeding on the nectar. Sad to see them so hungry.
Someone else has suggested that peas are good companions for SP, which I will try, but maybe too much nitrogen, so might not get as many tubers. Also, some of the herbs might deter leaf miner, black beetle, Rutherglen bug, nematodes and scurf. I'll be planting whatever feels right and I'll post my findings at the appropriate time.
richard in manoa
24-06-2007, 03:40 AM
I guess the fact that citrus are heavy feeders with a root system that tends to be pretty surface oriented would lead people to the conclusion that sweet potato would be a competitive rather than helpful groundcover.
Of course, as Len said it actually does condition the soil if you don't harvest the tubers, which rot down and leave nice little pockets of enrichment for your tree, or else attract creatures who will eat them, and in the process leave behind nitrogen rich presents for the tree of another kind. It's all good, as they say...
My SP patch at our recently departed place became wild sown with quite a few of the tiny little tom thumb and some other cherry tomatoes from the beds on the other side of the yard.
I let them ramble just to see how they went and they co-existed very happily...the tommie's shaded the sweet potato a little in the hot parts of the day, while the SP's always held the unstaked rambling tommie's up off the ground, conditioned the soil beautifully and always kept their root base from drying out.
They aren't supposed to be good companions, but both thrived and didn't seem to in any way antagonise each other. :wink:
I had a few self-sown sunflowers in the same large bed and they went fine too...so that's three stacked vertical levels of production in the same area...quite attractive too.
Not necessarily suggesting you should deliberately attempt the above (mine was quite accidental...which happens a lot in my experience if you're growing heirloom crops which self-sow easily), just threw it in incase it's of any help. :D
25-06-2007, 11:16 AM
Hi Jez, Thanks for that. It makes sense, sunflower deters armyworm, which can attack tomatoes and SP tubers. Love it. Gardening is full of educational opportunities
Just to answer your question about Scrub Turkeys, no I haven't seen any sign of them. The drought has killed most of the scrub and I can't imagine that any SC would be where there is no cover and a population of very hungry foxes. Not many rabbits left for them. Just SSE of Ellendale (Geraldton), where the elevation rises from the coastal plain is an area that registers rain even when there is none registering elsewhere. It must be as green as, and I'd say if anything is surviving that is where it would be. I'll try to remember to ask my neighbor, old farm family, if he knows of them round here.
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