Growing your own veg is an incredibly rewarding, as well as a fun thing to do. Sweet potatoes can take a little more time and care, but they too can be very successfully grown.
Companion planting is the method of growing two plants together that complement each other in growing styles, or which repel each other’s insects. Sweet potatoes make a great companion plant for a variety of other vegetables, so have a read on to discover what grows well with sweet potatoes.
What Grows Well With Sweet Potatoes
Because sweet potatoes grow very large, with a lot of ground covering leaves, you should plant them with other things that grow tall, or things that do most of their growing underground, are your best bet.
- Runner beans should be able to tower over the ground level sweet potatoes, and still produce well.
- Pole beans can be trained to grow on the ground, winding themselves around sweet potatoes’ leaves and still managing to produce a good harvest. (The other advantage to planting legumes near your sweet potato is that they release Nitrogen into the soil, which is good for sweet potatoes’ final crop.)
- Parsnips and beetroot make good bedfellows for sweet potatoes, as they can grow quietly and not be overwhelmed by the sweet potatoes.
- Regular potatoes are also good companions, despite the fact that they are nowhere near related (except for the name).
- Sweet potatoes are susceptible to a type of weevil from the US, and planting aromatic herbs has been shown to deter them. Try Dill, Oregano and Thyme, which will grow well and keep your sweet potatoes pest free.
What Not To Grow With Your Sweet Potatoes
- Small, ground dwelling plants that need a lot of light. They will be drowned under the ground covering sweet potatoes.
- Plants that attract butterflies. The wide leaves of a sweet potato plant are very attractive to egg laying butterflies, and their caterpillars will wreak havoc on your plants.
- Squash plants. These two plants are both vigorous growers, and will fight each other for the available space, meaning that at least one of them will end up weak and not producing.
Here is a useful video to learn about what grows best with sweet potatoes:
Sweet Potato Tips
It really cannot be stated enough how much these plants grow. They really spread, and they’re wind-y and wide leaved, and they’ll take over your garden if given half a chance!
Remember that each plant must have at least 12 to 18 inches of space when you first plant them, and make sure they have space to spread – they will go in all directions, so bear that in mind too!
You could always use trellis and cages to train other plants that would otherwise be swamped; with this option you have more choice with what you plant with your sweet potatoes, as you can keep them out of harm’s way, as it were.
The area around the potatoes must be kept weed free while they are establishing themselves, as the fast growing weeds can easily overrun the slow growing baby sweet potato.
When you water your sweet potato’s companion plants, make sure that you aren’t accidentally overwatering your sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes don’t like to be waterlogged, so make sure their roots aren’t ruined by thirsty neighbors.
Here are also a few tips on peeling and preparing sweet potatoes.
Sweet potatoes are a great fun and very rewarding vegetable to grow, and you can actually enhance their growing power – and the other things you plant with them – by following a few simple tips for what grows well with sweet potatoes.