It is believed to have come to the Philippines and China area from South America around 1490. For example, some high-nitrogen fertilizers include: Just be careful about using too much nitrogen on your sweet potato plants. Manure (chicken manure generally contains the most nitrogen!). Each slip could result in about 5 pounds of sweet potatoes. One way to do this is to cover the soil with black plastic mulch. A soil test will tell you if your soil is lacking one or more of these critical “big three” nutrients. Choose organic if it’s available; some conventionally-grown potatoes are chemically treated to prevent sprouting. Delicious and impressive if you have the space. Hopefully they’ll grow good here in the South. It has a buff shaded pores and skin with herbal spots, and its substance is violet-crimson. Trimmed vines tossed aside will root and eventually form an edible tuber. Gently sift through the soil (another reason to make sure your soil is light and loose!) You will get very hard soil that will be tough to work with! It is considered to be drought tolerant. Instead, I suggest that you mark your calendar. If so, then you are not the only one. With this in mind, it is exciting to consider the possibility that plants may be able to... link to Can You Grow Plants On The Moon? Sweet potatoes require a minimum of 90 days between planting and frost. I started cuttings in the container 3 months ago and I have replaced the cuttings several times since then. You also have the option to send a sample of your soil to a local agricultural extension service for testing. When growing a potted sweet potato plant, the first thing to consider is the choice of a suitable container. The optimum soil temperature range for fleshy root development is 70 to 80°F (21 to 28°C). Each potato could get you about 10 slips. When you add compost to your garden, you are adding organic material (for instance, decomposed grass clippings and leaves from your yard). You can find home soil test kits online or at a garden supply center. They can tolerate frost if the soil temperature is over 55 degrees Fahrenheit (13 degrees Celsius). Get my free guide to naturally controlling pests in your garden! Hi, I'm Jon. Add some organic material to your soil (such as compost or aged manure), which will help sweet potatoes grow better. Excessive nitrogen encourages “green” growth (leaves and vines) without doing much for the tubers (the part of the sweet potato plant that you eat!). Plant each slip 6″ to 8″ deep, making sure that at least two leaf nodes are completely buried. In particular, they’ve done well in grow bags. Using the right soil for sweet potatoes will yield a much better harvest in the fall. Growing Your Own Okinawan Sweet Potato. If you want to learn more about how to make compost, then check out my article here. I don’t have a backyard to plant in. I’m not sure that this is the best indicator! While the dough is in the refrigerator start your sweet potato filling. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Last year I purchased 4 slips from a local garden center. See more ideas about okinawan sweet potato, sweet, sweet potato. If planting multiple rows, leave the rows 3 to 4 feet apart to allow space for watering, fertilizing, weeding, and harvesting. After the alfalfa breaks down, its nutrients would become available to whatever plant you decide to grow next year. Boil until fork tender or about 10-15 … Kris Bordessa founded Attainable Sustainable as a resource for revitalizing vintage skills. You can also cut the starter sweet potato up into rooted sections, as you see above. The ideal soil for sweet potatoes has a pH of 5.5 to 6.5. Manure that has aged and decomposed enough will look like soil. With a little forethought, home gardeners can easily enjoy the flavor of sweet potatoes grown right in the backyard. An additional piece of news I found was that there are two commonly sold purple sweet potatoes. Hello Tami, Originally published in February 2014; this post has been updated. As mentioned above, a soil test will let you know which nutrients are lacking in your soil. Remember that sweet potato tubers grow underground (the vines grow above ground), so loose soil will let them grow freely. This also allows for harvesting without having to dig up a large area in the garden. Compost also encourages beneficial soil organisms to come to your garden (for example, bacteria and earthworms). You also have some ways to improve your soil to get a better harvest in the fall. Growing Okinawan Purple Sweet Potatoes. The vines spread across the ground or can be trained up a trellis, making them a great addition to the landscape, even in areas that you might not normally grow food crops. I have planted sweet potatoes for a lot of years.early on they were planted just in rows and not hilled rows and my amount of potatoes has really increased the loose soil really lets them grow beauregard’s get really big and even at 7 lb are still good makes real good sweet potato pies . Want to learn how to plant sprouted potatoes to grow your own food? Please ask your mother if Okinawan purple sweet potatoes have a purple skin and flesh or if they have a tan colored skin and purple flesh, like the ones grown in Hawaii? Put the sweet potato into a recycled jar filled with water so that the bottom of the sweet potato is submerged. They seem to like the loose growing medium and swift drainage. Just click the "Read More" button to the right. Purple sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas), also known as the Okinawan sweet potato, Hawaiian sweet potato, or Japanese yam, is a root vegetable similar to the white sweet potato, but with vibrant, deep purple flesh.The sweet potato’s purple color comes from anthocyanins, the same element in the soil that gives purple carrots and cherries their deep, plummy hues. Wait for the manure to decompose before using it in your garden! Place a small pot of water on the stove over medium high heat and heat to a rolling boil. Growing ‘Okinawan’ sweet potatoes in U.S. climates can be done, but the variety was specifically bred for the weather that is consistent of the islands such as Okinawa and Hawaii. Planting Sweet Potato Container Crops. https://www.supermomnocape.com/2009/12/08/sweet-potatoes-will-indeed-grow-in-containers/, Succession Planting: An Easy Trick to Harvest More Food from Your Veggie Garden, Peanut Butter and Jelly Muffins: Your Favorite Flavors in a Muffin. The best thing about compost is that you can make it for free, using kitchen scraps and yard waste that you already have lying around. Those roots can extend a good way from where you originally planted the sweet potato slips. I just discovered that Hawaii Veggie Farm ships Okinawan purple sweet potatoes by the box. A slip is a rooted sprout from a mature sweet potato. If your soil does not exactly fit the profile described above, don’t worry – there are ways to improve it. This can lead to water shortages for any plants you try to grow, no matter how much you water. It also helps to maintain nutrients in the soil, since different crops take (or replace) certain nutrients in the soil. Short days promote fleshy root development and flowering, while long days promote top growth. To choose for the best Okinawan sweet potatoes, look for those that are firm and free from soft or brown spots. My mom is full Okinawan so that’s why she’s been trying to find the Okinawan Sweet potato! The colour also remains purple even after cooking. The wilder areas of my yard are graced with purple sweet potato plants that have emerged from my compost. For instance, you could plant alfalfa (Lucerne) in your garden at the end of the growing season. Native to the Americas, it was brought to Japan sometime between 1492 and 1605. When your soil reaches about 50 degrees F, it’s time to plant sweet potatoes. My mom has been looking for the Okinawan Sweet Potato for YEARS!!! Growing an Okinawan sweet potato vine is rewarding as long as you have the right climate. Here’s why that matters. Thanks, Tami. If you want to get your sweet potatoes started sooner, you will need to warm up the soil. Via londonlikethecity.com. Continue Reading In contrast to the dismal planting success the ‘Okinawan’ has had on the U.S. mainland, the unknown purple sweet potato has thrived. They were 10 times sweeter than the store bought ones. Combine manure with soil & compost before adding it to your garden. This will make the soil looser, which will make it drain faster. ~Jonathon. Ironically, I bought an organic sweet potato, and it never sprouted. Don’t panic if your garden soil is not perfect for growing sweet potatoes. I think the temperatures in my house were a bit too low for it. Like any other sweet potatoes, they have a low glycemic index and high content of fiber. Sweet potatoes are planted live cuttings called slips. I planted them in a mounded hill in a 4×4 area. The trick to growing sweet potatoes is to start early so you’ll be ready to get them in the ground as soon as your soil is warm enough. Sweetpotato can be grown at altitudes of up to 2000 feet. You can start growing your own sweet potato slips so they’ll be ready for spring planting, even when it’s too cold to do any outdoor gardening. (4 Things You Would Need). Okinawan: Tubers can be found in Asian markets, but it’s debatable whether those are organic. Just starting a potato in water (as you see above) will net a pretty substantial trail of (edible) vines. I’m Kris Bordessa, author and hobby farmer, gardener and canner, chicken wrangler and eternal experimenter. An example of his obsession--(and this is someone who does very little cooking) he found this recipe--Okinawan Purple Sweet Potato Pie with Haupia Topping--bought all the ingredients and made it yesterday. Set in a bright location. At a time when many other crops are struggling, the sweet potato vines spread vigorously. Here’s something to consider about adding sweet potatoes to your garden: They are a calorie-dense vegetable. Avoid plastic or metal containers, but clay is great and a whiskey barrel makes a fine choice. If you want to learn more about these options for getting a soil test, I’ve written an article all about it here. There are ways to improve the soil – it just takes some preparation. Earth and its moon are relatively close, but they have some big differences: a day on the Moon is almost 30 days on Earth. The organic material in compost builds the structure of your soil. I met one grower who actually plants a little bouquet of five of these slips per hole. We ate the last one this past January. Keep the soil most but not wet. For starters, a sweet potato isn't a potato at all, meaning it's not a member of the Solanum tuberosum potato family from which French fries, mashed potatoes, and latkes are made; their composition of simple sugars and complex starches are quite different. from the company you mentioned so I’ll let you know how they do! Those with the red skin/purple flesh are not as common. So, what soil is best for sweet potatoes? Add some organic material to your soil (such as compost or aged manure), which will help sweet potatoes grow better. Is this your first year planting sweet potatoes, or did you have trouble growing them last year? Not the best choice for growing sweet potatoes in containers, Okinawan has long roots that intertwine and bind up. You can build a soil sifter out of wood, nails, and rabbit wire with small holes. Let's solve your gardening problems, spend more time growing, and get the best harvest every year! We plan on growing them again this year now that we’re settled in a new place for a while. Now it’s time to get back to the garden and grow the best sweet potatoes possible! Sweet potatoes grow by forming tubers along their roots. Sweet potato is native to the tropical regions of America. The potato will begin sending roots down into the water within a few weeks. Alfalfa has deep roots, which can pull nutrients from deep in the soil where shallow roots cannot reach. Sweet potato tubers form underground, so clay soil will make it harder for them to grow. Even if you live in a region with a shorter growing season than mine, you can harvest some of these tasty tubers. also they don’t take a lot of water once they are growing.the smaller leaves are the best for salads. You should not see any straw, wood shavings, sawdust, or animal bedding in aged manure. It is so fun to try different colors and different tastes. To harvest sweet potatoes that are growing in the garden, carefully loosen the soil in a wide area around the base of the plant. Sweet potatoes are a warm weather crop, and they prefer warm soil temperatures (the hotter the better for them!) Leave 12 to 18 inches (30 to 45 centimeters) between sweet potato plants. I just ordered 12 lbs. The purple/white ones are an Okinawan sweet potato. Packed with both nutrients and a sweet flavor, sweet potatoes are: (Gurneys.com had them for sale). Please see my, The trick to growing sweet potatoes is to start. Sweet potatoes aren’t grown from a seed – they are grown from slips. A soil sifter will remove debris (such as roots, rocks, and soil clumps). It is possible to secure sweet potato slips quite easily, but they possibly may not have been grown organically. If your soil is light, breaks apart easily, and dries out very quickly, then you likely have sandy soil. This variety is white-skinned, with lavender flesh streaked with stunning purple. Fun project! Her book, Attainable Sustainable: The Lost Art of Self-Reliant Living (National Geographic) offers a collection of projects and recipes to help readers who are working their way to a more fulfilling DIY lifestyle. They are easy to grow, easy to store, and easy to cook. Despite this and other differences, we can’t help but wonder if... Can You Grow Plants On Mars? Growing sweet potatoes in a sunny vegetable garden produces a calorie dense tuber. To help it decompose quickly, use a pitchfork to turn the pile to aerate it. I expected a lot more but I'll take what I get! Otherwise called Hawaiian Sweet Potato and Uala, the Okinawan Sweet Potato is rounded fit as a fiddle. Mix some compost or aged manure into clay soil to add organic material. We’re going to cook some of the fingerlings tomorrow! If you want to find out more about the crops you can use for green manure, you can read more in my article here. Plants tend to come as live cuttings that … You can order sweet potato slips online or you can grow your own. This not only made it easier for me to separate out the potting mix to find the Okinawan Sweet Potatoes, but it also made it easier for the Okinawan Sweet Potatoes to grow larger. But not all varieties of purple sweet potatoes are created equal. Waiting until the soil warms up enough can be a problem if you live in an area with a short growing season (for example, if you live in the northern U.S.). You can buy sweet potato slips, or you can grow them yourself from a sweet potato. (4 Things You Would Need), link to Can You Grow Plants On Mars? I’ll ask next time I find them, though! However, the purple-fleshed Okinawan sweet potato is named after the Japanese island ‘Okinawa’, where it … Peel and cube up sweet potato and add to boiling water. I harvested 22 sweet potatoes. Growing sweet potatoes. I’ve never ordered from them, so I can’t give you any feedback on the company itself, but it might be a fun way to try something new in your garden! Your sweet potatoes should be ready to harvest about three months after you planted them. This will decrease the concentration of nitrogen and salt in the manure. Sandy soil works well. So in case you've ever been tempted, take care not to substitute a sweet potato for an Idaho willy nilly; in some cases it may work … https://www.supermomnocape.com/2009/12/08/sweet-potatoes-will-indeed-grow-in-containers/ Oct 27, 2015 - Explore Aaron Mitchell's board "Okinawan Sweet Potato " on Pinterest. One if the Japanese/Okinawan purple, which is a true super food and the other is a “Hawain” purple sweet potato which apparently tastes good but does not qualify as a super food. Both methods seem to work. The conventional one did, but it didn’t grow well. The ideal soil for sweet potatoes has a pH of 5.5 to 6.5. Plant the sweet potato “slips” in spring because sweet potatoes need four to six months of consistently warm weather. There are other options for adding specific nutrients to your soil. Don’t be surprised if you don’t find anything directly below the base of the plant. The variety I tried did quite well and I hope you have fun growing the purple sweet potatoes. It states so on the shipping box. How funny–my youngest and I did the sweet potato project this winter, just for fun. Isn’t that weird? The hardy plant grew well in Japan and quickly became popular in a variety of Japanese dishes. In my Raised Beds, the soil is dense and there are rocks and other impediments that prevent Okinawan Sweet Potatoes from growing uniform. Bonus: The sweet potato vine is edible, too! Before planting your sweet potatoes, wait until the soil is at least 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18 degrees Celsius). You’ll also get my free weekly newsletter, complete with recipes, gardening tips, and a little peek at what’s going on around here — both the zany and the mundane. Greenhouse and container crops will also appreciate a feed of general purpose fertiliser every two or three weeks. If you do decide to use chicken manure, let it age and decompose first. According to the Texas A&M University Extension, sweet potatoes grow best in soil that is fine and well-draining, such as sandy loam. That was my first sweet potato bed. Adding compost to your garden is one of the best ways to keep the soil healthy. Crop rotation, cover crops, and compost will replace some nutrients in your garden soil. The picture to the right shows Okinawan Sweet Potato cuttings in a barrel container. If your region is really late in warming up, you can start rooting your slips indoors in pots filled with potting soil following those same steps. Here in Hawaii, and in other warm climates, growing sweet potatoes is like growing weeds. So their sweet potatoes will not sprout. Growing sweet potatoes in containers is likely a more reasonable option if you live in a different climate. Sweet potatoes prefer sandy, well-drained soil, full sun and plenty of space for the vines to spread. Optimum growing temperatures for top growth are >77°F (>25°C). When it comes to growing organically – it depends on how deeply the gardener wants to go into the process. Manure that is not decomposed (known as fresh or “hot” manure) will contain too much nitrogen, and can burn your plants if you apply it to them directly. This method will work even better if you use mounds for planting your sweet potatoes (highly recommended). They can be made into a main dish, a side dish, a dessert, or a snack like these simple purple sweet potato … I should have gotten it at our Farmers’ Market instead of the grocery store. Everyone who has tried my purple sweet potato pies wants more. Eventually, you will till the alfalfa into the soil, where it will decompose. Here are some guidelines to follow if you use chicken manure (or any other manure) in your garden: The Old Farmer’s Almanac suggests tilling the soil to a depth of 8 to 10 inches (20 to 25 centimeters) before planting your sweet potatoes. The Old Farmer’s Almanac suggests tilling the soil to a depth of 8 to 10 inches (20 to 25 centimeters) before planting your sweet potatoes. 1.5 out of 5 stars 2 $19.98 $ 19 . I know they got enough water, nutrients, & sun! Clay soil has very fine particles, and this type of soil retains water because it drains slowly. Container growing on the corners I could convince landlords to let me use. Here at Attainable Sustainable, I aim to encourage readers — that’s you! The ideal soil pH for growing sweet potatoes is 5.5 to 6.5 (somewhat acidic to slightly acidic). I’ve been told that when the sweet potato plants begin to flower, it’s time to harvest. Growing sweet potatoes in pots allows you to keep them contained to a specific area. (4 Things You Would Need). 6 months ago, I purchased 23 Okinawan Sweet Potato cuttings from Mericlone Labs (see this blog entry) . I wrote an article about why to use grow bags here. Fresh chicken manure may be too “hot” for growing sweet potatoes, since it has high nitrogen content and can burn your plants. until you’ve found all of the tubers. (4 Things You Would Need). I’ve also had good luck with planting sweet potatoes in loose wood chips or mulch. If you’re wondering how to grow sweet potato slips, you’ve come to the right place. Hawaii Veggie Farm radiates their sweet potatoes prior to shipping. — to embrace a more self-reliant lifestyle, one small step at a time. Adding compost to your garden will improve any type of soil – not just clay. If the soil in your garden sticks together easily and you can mold it into shapes (like clay), then you have clay soil. Getting a plant can be a bit tricky since it is patented by Stokes Purple who initially introduced it to the US market in 2003. We grew sweet potatoes in containers a few years ago. Push three toothpicks into the sweet potato at midway, spaced equally. Some were very large. For me, these were a blast! These are the beginnings of your summer sweet potato crop! Thanks for all the info. I wrote an article about why to use raised beds here. Planting cover crops (or green manure) is another way to improve the soil in your garden. If you decide to add manure directly to your garden, use a thin layer that is 0.25 to 0.5 inches deep. Soon you’ll see green shoots start to emerge from the upper portion of the sweet potato. When you practice crop rotation, it means you are planting different crops in a given location each year. A white skinned, purple fleshed variety that is loaded with antioxidants, with up to 2«ÿtimes the anthocyanin levels of blueberries! Oh well, I tried…. 98 Okinawan Hawaiian Purple Sweet Potatoes 3 Lbs. At the same time, compost contains nutrients that are essential for plant growth. Often, people say you can’t grow certain things certain ways. I saw the article about the Hawaiian Veggie Farm. Sifting your soil also makes it looser. Hurry up warm weather!!!!! This is my second year growing sweet potatoes. My family doesn’t really like sweet potatoes, either, so I never plant them, but now I’m dying to try the variety you mentioned. Ube (pronounced OO-beh) is available in concentrate form only, not as a fresh potato. Sweet potatoes are easy to grow and prefer well-drained soil. Realistically speaking, however, finding online sellers who are growing their own from the crop itself is fairly easy. Sweet potatoes love to grow in the heat of Florida summers. While the orange fleshed sweet potato is probably the most recognizable, one of the more common varieties of sweet potato here is the Okinawan purple sweet potato. I’ve had good luck growing sweet potatoes in pots and raised beds. Can You Grow Plants On The Moon? I grew them in a big garbage can with composted straw. If growing your crop undercover, remember to open doors and windows during the day to keep your greenhouse or polytunnel well ventilated. So, tomorrow we'll have something that will remind us of Kauai. Read more, Previous: Succession Planting: An Easy Trick to Harvest More Food from Your Veggie Garden, Next: Peanut Butter and Jelly Muffins: Your Favorite Flavors in a Muffin, May contain affiliate links. I stored them in my cool basement. With a little forethought, home gardeners can easily enjoy the flavor of sweet potatoes grown right in the backyard. A Publishers Weekly top ten pick from National Geographic Books! Remember: do not add sand to clay soil. Luckily, a friend gave me a few of the Hawaiian purples you mentioned, I am so excited to try them! These mounds of soil will help the soil to drain better, and to warm up faster in the spring. When the sun hits the black plastic, it will absorb the energy and store it as heat in the air and soil under the plastic. If you wanted to keep it as a houseplant long term, though, I think I’d transplant into a pot with soil. They also help to convert the nutrients in leaves, grass, and other debris into a form that plants can use to grow. Your best bet is to order okinawa sweet potato slips directly from either Rareseeds.com or SandhillPreservation.com Lots of gardeners wonder what kind of soil is best for growing sweet potatoes. Last year I harvested a great amount of purple potatoes, this year I am trying to sprout a Covington (orange) potato but even though I got it at the farmer’s market and it supposed to be organic, it’s not sprouting…. Growing Sweet Potato Greens. I just discovered that Hawaii Veggie Farm ships Okinawan purple sweet potatoes by the box. It’s per USDA requirements for overseas produce. So, when last summer I decided to leave a single leftover sweet potato that I was using to create slips for field planting in the starting tote, I knew I was going against the grain. Of all the potatoes, sweet potatoes are easiest to grow. Let the manure age 3 to 12 months, so that it has a chance to break down completely. The Okinawan sweet potatoes have a beige colored skin but a violet-purple flesh. Sweet potatoes will have an easier time growing in loose soil, since they can grow freely without running into obstructions like rocks or roots. Can I grow sweet potato’s in a container or do they need to be in the ground? i believe those would be the Murasaki potatoes that are purple on the outside and white-ish on the inside. This will look a lot like a grammar school science project. If your garden soil is loam (not clay), but denser than you want, then add some sand to the soil to loosen it up. i just want the plant will it still grow a sweet potato …. Also, add water to the manure if it dries out. Enjoy! Sweet potatoes send out long roots and can develop anywhere on those roots. (Though admittedly, growing sweet potatoes like this doesn’t really net a big crop.) The four main types of purple-fleshed sweet potatoes consumed in the U.S. are Stokes Purple® sweet potatoes, Okinawan sweet potatoes, Murasaki sweet potatoes and Charleston sweet potatoes. The particles in clay are very tightly packed, making it a dense soil. Sweet potatoes, potatoes, carrots and other crops (whose roots or tubers grow underground) grow much better in loose soil. The reason is that most varieties of sweet potatoes take at least 100 days (over 3 months) to reach maturity. Be sure the pot has four or more holes for drainage. Loose soil allows these crops to grow freely without running into dense clumps of soil. It is noted by professional sweet potato growers that it doesn’t prefer the conditions of the mainland. Plant those sections, burying them about three inches deep. The sweet potato is often considered a staple food at Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners and has been referred to as a "super food" due to the large number of vitamins and antioxidants it contains. Crop rotation prevents plant diseases from spreading in your garden. A balanced NPK fertilizer, such as 10-10-10, will add some of the “big three” nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium) to your soil. In this video I show u my harvest from my white Okinawan sweet potatoes! By chance would you know what the name of the red sweet potatoes you have in the picture and where I could get a few of them so I could start slips from them – any information would be appreciated. In that case, you should add a supplement to provide the necessary nutrients for your soil as you prepare to plant your sweet potatoes. The Okinawan sweet potato is not related to the potato but is actually in the morning glory family. If you want to learn more about these options for getting a soil test, I’ve written an article all about it here. Growing Okinawan Sweet Potatoes in a Container. Thanks! okinawan sweet potato Seeds,Also known as Hawaiian Sweet Potato and Uala. Some high-phosphorus fertilizers include: Whichever supplement you choose, always follow the instructions on the package to avoid burning your plants by over fertilizing. According to the Texas A&M University Extension, sweet potatoes grow best in soil that is fine and well-draining, such as sandy loam. Or, you can buy a soil sifter online if you don’t want to build one. I hope you do enjoy growing some purple sweet potatoes! I told her how it’s yellowish on the outside and purple in the middle. A cover crop is a plant that you grow in the garden to replace nutrients that other plants have used up and depleted. If you want to learn more about how to make compost, then check out my article here. I’ve not done it, but I’ve seen lots of people (online) doing it successfully! Start by picking up a sweet potato from the grocery store. Compost will also add some nutrients to the soil. Beneficial soil organisms add air to the soil (which is necessary for plants to breathe!). The most important nutrients for plant growth are nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (also known as NPK, or the “big three”). There are three main varieties of purple sweet potato… Okinawan Purple Sweet Potato – has a whitish skin and purple flesh. In these cases, it is a good idea to use supplements that can add the necessary nutrients back to your soil. It can be grown like other sweet potatoes and needs a long, hot growing season. They are just stunning. When warm weather finally arrives, you’ll have rooted cuttings to move out into the garden. Sweet potatoes store very well during the winter so if you are in the business of growing your own food I really recommend this potato. The presence of a minimum of 3-5 grams of fat in the meal enables us to absorb more beta-carotene from sweet potatoes. Water sweet potato plants regularly. We tried some today, and it's actually very good.