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Sweet Potato Problem - Please Help!

last month
last modified: last month

Hello All! New gardener here. I’ll try to keep this shorter than usual. I planted 10 sweet potato plants (5 slips each of two varieties) in a medium Vegepod in mid-May. All seemed well besides a spider mite infestation that I mitigated with DE. I quickly figured out that I planted too many in the space, as the vines were out of control. So, I staked and pruned a lot and fast forward to a few weeks ago and the leaves began yellowing and browning, and I noticed these little slim black bugs (thrips?) all over the leaves, and what looks like downy mildew all over, and some bug larvae. I didn’t realize the leaves were edible until too late, or I would’ve known what to do about the excessive growth. I’m in Central Florida, so the heat and humidity has been typical/extreme. So, I’m wondering the following:

1. Can the vines be saved?

2. Would I have potatoes at this point, and would they be any good now or would the mildew have infected the roots too?

3. If the vines can’t be saved, can the soil be reclaimed for more new slips, or something else?

4. What can I do to the soil to rid it of residual mildew and pests?

First photo is 6-ish weeks ago (that is fresh DE - not mildew), and last three are as of today. I leveled the affected foliage.

Thanks in advance; I really appreciate any assistance on these questions!

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