If you enjoy sweet potatoes, you know how tasty and valuable they can be. But did you know that selecting the proper companion plants might enhance the growth of your sweet potatoes? Various crops are planted next to one another for mutual benefit using the time-tested gardening method of companion planting.
Several plants can help protect pests from sweet potatoes, draw in beneficial insects, and nourish the soil. In this post, we’ll delve into the realm of companion plants for sweet potatoes and discuss how to use them to build a thriving garden ecology. Get ready to learn about some of the finest (and worst) plants to grow with sweet potatoes by grabbing your gardening tools.
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Benefits of Sweet Potatoes Companion Planting
Sweet potatoes are a filling and delectable vegetable that can work well as a crop companion. Sweet potatoes can help promote the quality of the soil, ward off pests, and even improve the growth and flavor of nearby plants when grown with the correct species.
In this section, we will look at the benefits of sweet potato companion planting and how incorporating this technique into your garden can help you achieve a healthier and more productive harvest.
1. Pest Control
Companion plants for sweet potatoes might aid in repelling pests that could otherwise harm your plants. For example, planting marigolds or catnip near sweet potatoes can help to repel harmful insects like aphids, spider mites, and flea beetles.
2. Improved Soil Health
Legumes like beans or peas, some sweet potato companion plants, can fix nitrogen in the soil. This procedure aids in boosting the soil’s fertility, which may lead to sweet potato plants that are healthier and produce more.
3. Better Pollination
Pollinators like bees and butterflies can be drawn to certain plants, such as sunflowers and borage. By increasing the pollination of your sweet potato plants, these advantageous insects can produce more and better-shaped sweet potatoes.
4. Reduced Weeds
Certain companion plants can also aid in the control of weeds by displacing them or by secreting substances that prevent their growth. It can help you spend less time and effort weeding your sweet potato patch, saving you time and energy.
5. Increased Biodiversity
You may establish a more balanced ecosystem in your garden to better fend off pests and diseases by planting various plants. It can lessen the need for artificial pesticides and fertilizers and improve the general health of the garden.
Top Sweet Potato Companion Plants
Sweet potatoes are a tasty and nutrient-rich vegetable that may be grown alongside other plants to enhance flavor, promote soil health, and ward off pests. Making a healthy and long-lasting garden with the correct plants to grow alongside sweet potatoes will assist.
Now it’s time to reveal our top 9 best companion plants for Sweet Potatoes and how they can benefit your garden.
Beans are great sweet potato companion plants. Beans can naturally supply nitrogen, a crucial component for the growth of sweet potatoes. Beans are excellent companions to sweet potatoes because they replenish nitrogen in the soil. The sprawling bean vines can shade sweet potato plants and moisten the soil. Moreover, beans may draw beneficial pollinators like bees and butterflies, which will help pollinate the blooms of sweet potatoes.
Second, on our list is Marigold. This flowering plant contains a chemical compound called alpha-terthienyl, which is toxic to many insect pests, including whiteflies, nematodes, and root-knot nematodes. Marigolds can repel pests as well as enhance the health of the soil. Marigolds are noted for being able to tolerate poor soil conditions well. They can aid in loosening up compacted soil and improving drainage.
Another excellent sweet potato companion plant is the nasturtium. Nasturtiums contain insect-repelling qualities similar to marigolds, which can help keep pests away from your sweet potato plants. Nasturtiums can repel pests as well as draw beneficial insects to your area. The nasturtium plant’s vividly colorful blossoms can attract bees, butterflies, and other pollinators.
Nasturtiums can also aid in enhancing the health of the soil. Sweet potato plants and other crops can benefit from the plant’s leaves, which are nutrient-rich and exceptionally high in potassium and phosphorus.
Fourth on our list is radish. It can enhance soil quality and guard against insect infestations. Due to their brassica family ancestry, radishes have a high sulfur content that helps them ward off pests, including aphids, cucumber beetles, and flea beetles. Radishes not only keep pests away but also enhance the condition of the soil. They are a fast-growing crop that can aid in breaking up compacted soil and releasing tight soil.
Due to its ability to deter pests and enhance soil health, garlic makes a great sweet potato companion plant. Garlic can keep pests away in addition to improving soil health. Aphids, spider mites, and root-knot nematodes are just a few of the dangerous insects and parasites that garlic helps to ward off with its sulfur-based chemicals. It is also well known that garlic can stop weeds from growing. When growing sweet potatoes, which are prone to weed competition, this can be especially helpful.
Spinach can be a true companion plant for sweet potatoes as it can enhance soil health and offer shade. Due to its high nutrient content, spinach is a crop that can aid the soil by contributing nutrients and organic matter.
The leaves and stems from the harvested or pruned spinach plants can be incorporated into the soil or added to a compost pile to increase soil richness. Spinach can improve soil quality and offer shade to sweet potato plants. Although they like the sun, sweet potatoes can also benefit from shade during the hottest times.
Low-growing alyssum is an annual plant with tiny, fragrant flower clusters. Beneficial insects, such as bees, butterflies, and hoverflies, are drawn to these blooms and can aid in pollinating the flowers of the sweet potato. Alyssum can enhance soil health in addition to luring beneficial insects. Deep roots of alyssum can help release compacted soil and improve soil drainage. When planting alyssum with sweet potatoes, it’s important to space them out properly.
A perennial plant called yarrow bears clusters of tiny, vividly colored blooms. Yarrow is renowned for its capacity to enhance soil health by supplying nutrients and organic matter.
Yarrow is well known for its capacity to deter harmful pests in addition to its ability to improve the soil. Pyrethrum, a type of natural pesticide found in yarrow, can deter pests like aphids, spider mites, and whiteflies. Yarrow should be planted in rows, with enough space between the rows to allow for easy harvesting.
Although basil is a popular herb commonly used in cooking, it also grows well with sweet potatoes. It is renowned for its capacity to ward off dangerous insects and enhance the flavor and output of neighboring plants. Basil, when grown next to sweet potatoes, can assist in warding against pests, including aphids, thrips, and spider mites. It results from the basil leaves’ potent scent, which can confuse and scare away pests.
What Should You Not Plant With Sweet Potatoes?
Companion planting is a common gardening strategy to establish a mutually beneficial relationship between crops. However, not all plants make suitable sweet potato partners. Certain plants can restrict the growth of your sweet potato plants by competing for resources, luring pests, or both. In this section, we will discuss what you shouldn’t plant with sweet potatoes and how these unfavorable species can impair the development and output of your garden.
Squash and sweet potatoes can compete with one another for soil resources as well as harbor similar pests and diseases. Squash plants need fertile soil high in phosphorus and potassium. In contrast, sweet potatoes need well-drained soil rich in organic matter and nitrogen. Due to their similar nutrient requirements and potential for resource competition, squash is frequently seen as a poor companion plant for sweet potatoes.
Sunflowers‘ towering stature and broad leaves are well recognized for casting a shadow and challenging other plants for sunlight and resources. Sunflowers can create shade on sweet potato plants and hinder their capacity to photosynthesize and generate energy when grown next to sweet potatoes. It can lead to stunted growth, reduced yields, and poor-quality sweet potatoes. Also, sunflowers attract pests like aphids and whiteflies, which can also affect sweet potatoes.
We recommend you avoid tomatoes next to sweet potatoes for a few reasons. Sweet potatoes and tomatoes both have high nutrient requirements. They both require nitrogen from the soil. So if you plant them together, it can cause a fight for nutrients among them. Allelochemicals, which tomatoes can release from their roots, can prevent the growth of neighboring plants.
Ans. Yes. Sweet potatoes require at least 6-8 hours of sun during their growing season. But during scorching summers, you need to offer them partial shade.
Ans. Once they are grown and established, you only need to keep the soil moist and provide 1 inch of water per week. Sweet potatoes can tolerate dry soil, so don’t water them 3 to 4 weeks before harvest.
Ans. Sweet potatoes grow inside the ground, so increase the depth from 0 to 25 cm when you plant them. Increasing the planting depth allows you to grow sweet potatoes and increase their yield.
Ans. When you plant sweet potatoes in their ideal condition, you can expect them to mature and grow within 90 to 170 days. You can plant them in holes 6 inches deep and 12 inches broad.
Ans. On average, you can easily harvest 3-5 tubers per sweet potato plant. Moreover, you can get about 6 or more tubers per plant if you live in a warmer climate.
Ans. The ideal time is before the frosting season. Sweet potatoes are susceptible to frost, so you should avoid planting them late in the year.
Ans. According to experts, Sweet potatoes do not require much fertilization when you plant them. You can easily plant them in loose soil rich in organic manure.
Ans. Potash has about 17% sulfur, which can help sweet potatoes with photosynthesis and produce chlorophyll, proteins, and amino acids. Such sulfur is not even found in many of the MOP fertilizers.
In conclusion, sweet potato companion planting is an intricate and fascinating subject that presents farmers and gardeners with many opportunities. You may enhance the health of your soil, increase yields, and lessen insect and disease issues by picking the appropriate companion plants.
Nonetheless, it’s crucial to remember that not everyone can profit from the companion planting technique. The ideal sweet potato companion plants will differ depending on the climate, soil type, and local pest and disease challenges because every garden and farming system is different.
Thus, feel free to experiment and try out various companion plant combinations. You might come up with a brand-new, original method for growing sweet potatoes!