KSL GREENHOUSE

Edible varieties of the sweet potato make beautiful vines, too

Oct 8, 2022, 6:00 AM

SALT LAKE CITY — Many savvy gardeners use ornamental sweet potato vines as a trailing accent in their planters and container gardens. But did you know that edible varieties also produce a beautiful vine?

Edible varieties can provide a wonderful spiller for your summer containers, while at the same time producing a fall crop of sweet potatoes that are both delicious and high in vitamins.

Growing tips for the edible varieties of sweet potato

There are several varieties of sweet potatoes to choose from that perform well in Utah.

In a recently filmed video for the KSL Greenhouse Show, Horticulture Assistant Professor for Utah State University Extension Sheriden Hansen called it “double duty.”

She said not only are edible sweet potatoes prolific growers, “They are beautiful. They trellis, they hang.” But they can also be a part of your vegetable crop rather than just a “throwaway ornamental” at the end of the growing season.

Storing the edible sweet potato

Hansen says sweet potatoes are also a great item to plant for food storage purposes. When cured properly, these homegrown tubers can be enjoyed for months after the growing season.

Harvesting tips for the edible sweet potato

These tips will be useful if you are harvesting your sweet potato.

  • Wait until the foliage starts to turn yellow or after the first frost damages the leaves.
  • Use a spading fork or shovel and carefully dig up the swollen roots.
  • Take care not to bruise, cut or otherwise damage the roots.
  • Cure for 1-2 weeks at 80°F.
  • Store in a cool, dry location (50-55º F).

To learn more about food storage, visit Be Ready Utah.

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Edible varieties of the sweet potato make beautiful vines, too