“The wise gardener anticipates June in January.” –Unknown
We had such success last year with our sweet potatoes (see Sweet Potato Surprise) that we decided to try them again this year. But this time, we wanted to grow even the slips ourselves. After some internet research, we had a plan. Molly even decided to make it into a 4-H project, so we documented it well.
Growing your own sweet potatoes takes time, and as the quote above says, you have to plan ahead. On a bleak day in February, we chose a few promising sweet potatoes from our remaining stock, skewered them, and propped them in a mason jar filled with water (we used a half-gallon size). You want to skewer them closer to one end so that most of the tuber is in the water. Set it on a sunny window sill and wait.
After a while, tiny, white roots should appear. (Note: we started with 2 potatoes, and one never rooted, so we switched it out, but the new one was a bit behind. You might want to start with one more potato than you think you will need, just in case.) After the roots have established, green shoots will begin to appear and stretch toward the sun.
When the the vines have reached a length of 6-12 inches, gently break them off at the base and place them into a jar of water. When they have rooted well, they are ready to plant.
Whether you use a pot or a garden plot, make sure the soil is about 8 inches deep and water well. Sweet potatoes are viney, so be prepared for them to spread. Because the vines are quite pretty, some people use them as both a ground cover and a vegetable. When the leaves begin to yellow, you are ready to go treasure hunting. Molly and I harvested another 50 pounds this year, all from the vines from last year’s crop. How’s that for cost efficient?!
P.S. In case you were wondering, Molly won a blue ribbon for her 4-H sweet potato project!
Click here to read the post on how to harvest and store sweet potatoes!