That looks like a regular sweet potato bed, right?
Instead of loosening the ground and directly planting sweet potatoes, I tried an experiment this year with this bed, thanks to some inspiration from my friend Herrick and his amazing four-day carrots.
Beneath all those vines is a strip of black woven nursery fabric with holes burned into it just big enough for planting sweet potatoes. This stuff lasts for ten years and allows water to pass through without letting weeds pop up.
Growing sweet potatoes in plastic should also keep those things from rooting all the way along their vines.
Why would I want to do this?
#1: Because I’ve read that you can get much larger potatoes by discouraging secondary rooting along the vines. I have noticed that the best roots are always where I first planted my starts – and that there are usually a few tiny ones further down the vines that aren’t worth much.
#2: Because this keeps the weeds down. No more Bidens alba invading my sweet potato patch. When I cut off these vines and harvest the tubers at the end of the season, I’ll have a nice, bare patch of weedless ground for my fall gardening.
I’ll let you all know how it turns out.
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