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How To Start A Vegetable Garden - 30 Day Challenge - How To Grow Sweet Potato Slips
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How To Start A Vegetable Garden     -     30 Day Challenge     -     How to Grow Sweet Potato Slips

Welcome to Day 27 of my 30 Day Challenge: How to Start a Vegetable Garden.

My last article was very important for gardening success - attracting bees and other pollinators to your garden. Check it out on Street Articles: How To Start A Vegetable Garden - 30 Day Challenge - The Great Pollinators.

SWEET POTATOES

Sweet potatoes are one of the most nutritious foods available.

Ever since my family visited the Carolinas for vacation, I have been interested in learning how to grow sweet potatoes.

For those of you who have not visited the Carolinas, drive around town and you will find numerous road-side "stands" (more like pick up trucks on the side of the road) with people selling huge bags of sweet potatoes out of the back of their trucks.

This has always intrigued me as I would love to grow huge bags of sweet potatoes like this.

Since this is my year to grow all my favorite vegetables, I desperately want to grow some delicious sweet potatoes.

GROWING REGULAR POTATOES

Having already researched how to grow regular potatoes, I assumed growing sweet potatoes would be similar. It is not.

Potatoes can be grown by letting one begin to sprout on its own and then cutting the potato into pieces where only 1 or 2 sprouts are on each piece.

Place 5 or 6 in a large container (I use garbage bags) and let them grow.

Each will multiply into dozens of potatoes if you layer additional soil onto the plant to encourage new spud growth.

GROWING SWEET POTATOES

Sweet potatoes require a little more work and a little luck.

First, you need to encourage your sweet potato to create slips. Slips are plants that grow off of an existing sweet potato.

In order to encourage slips to grow, you must do the following:

  1. Take a sweet potato and cut it in half.
  2. Submerge the cut end in 1 inch of water.
  3. Within 1 month, the sweet potato will root and small slip plants will grow on the part above water.
  4. Once they have a few well developed leaves, gently snap off the slips and place them in a glass of water to create roots on the slips.
  5. In a few days, roots will appear. Plant the sweet potato slips individually in large containers of loose soil.
  6. In roughly 2-3 months, they will be ready to harvest and will yield 5-6 potatoes per slip.

MY RESULTS

My first sweet potato rotted after 1 week.

I had placed the sweet potato in a plastic container with 1" of water. I did not suspended it over the water with toothpicks since I had read it didn't matter if you suspended it or not. However, this sweet potato rotted out from the bottom.

For my second attempt, I bought two organic sweet potatoes. One I suspended, the other I did not.

This time, the suspended sweet potato created roots. The one not suspended did not.

UPDATE!

It has been nearly five weeks since I attempted to start sweet potato slips.

I started with four sweet potato halves, three of them I placed directly in containers and one of them I suspended over the water using plastic toothpicks.

Of the three sweet potato halves I placed directly into containers, one became moldy after two weeks and did not create any slips. Two created roots and grew a few very small slips before they became moldy as well.

My final sweet potato half (the one that was suspended over water with plastic toothpicks) currently has 3 slips growing on it and the slips are 8-12 inches long and very healthy.

This is was the only fully successful sweet potato starter. The other three were not suspended and despite the appearance of very small slips on two of them, they eventually molded and died off.

NEXT STEP

It is now time for the next step. Time to snap off my sweet potato slips and root them.

The best method to snap off the slips is to gently grasp them near the base of the sweet potato and twist. The slip will come right off without damaging the slip.

I then took a quart mason jar, filled it with water, and placed each slip in the jar. See the end result in the attached picture.

Sweet potato plants are some of the most beautiful to grow. I personally think these slips make a beautiful display while they are rooting.

WHAT I'VE LEARNED

I have to say that after attempting to grow slips off 6 different halves of sweet potatoes and only achieving success with one of the six, I do not understand what causes one to create slips and one not to.

However, the only one that grew slips big enough to move onto the next step - rooting the slips - was the one suspended over the container with toothpicks.

However, it has been a fun experiment and I will definitely try again next year to see if I can achieve greater success.

30 DAY CHALLENGE

The 30 day challenge is coming to an end. However, you can still follow my Garden Journal on my blog to get daily tips on growing your garden.


Street Talk

Nice article AJ, now that you have learn how to grow sweet potato, and have become an expert, you have to bake a sweet potato bread for me and the boys.

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

Alfred, I've never heard of sweet potato bread. But you provide the recipe and I'll bake one!

Reply
  about 7 years ago

I love sweet potatoes!! Baked, sweet potato fries, sweet potato pie...however! It is all yummyness!

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

Lacey I completely agree with you. I have to get this growing sweet potatoes thing right so I can have tons of them every year. Yum!

Reply
  about 7 years ago
Meredith  

Sweet Potatoes are So Healthy for us. Chock full of vitamins & minerals. Not to mention that they taste Great!

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

You're so right, Meredith. I love how they taste and how versatile they are. I also love that they are a vegetable, not a starch like regular potatoes.

Reply
  about 7 years ago

I may not grow sweet potatoes but I bought some today. Good to know all that information!

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

Thanks for the visit, Maria. How do you cook your sweet potatoes? My favorite way is baked.

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Truth is I have not done it many times, just one or two (not so popular here) but I was thinking baking them as well

  
  about 7 years ago

Informative! I had no idea sweet potatoes had a lot of nutritional value. Thanks. We seem to be able to just leave them out too long before eating sometimes and create slips by mistake. lol

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

I wish I were that lucky. I have no problems creating eyes on potatoes for growing tubers, but my sweet potatoes always go mushy instead of creating slips. I need some of your sweet potatoes LOL.

Reply
  about 7 years ago

The sweet potato casserole sounds great to me. Great article AJ. Good luck with those Sweet Potatoes

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

Sweet Potato Casserole is excellent Jay. Perhaps I'll post the recipe when harvest season comes around. Thanks for the visit!

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Pinned

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Now this article I really liked! Keep them coming AJ

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

Thanks, Maria I appreciate your visit!

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Sweet potatoes are that nutritious? That's fabulous information. I do so enjoy sweet potatoes. Hmm. Slips. Um... I think I've created those rather accidentally over the years:-) Definitely don't want 3 more articles from you... just had to subscribe. Thanks! Wonder if I can do it on purpose now?!

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

Sweet potatoes are fabulous for you. And they are considered a veggie, not a starch for dieting which is an added bonus. Thanks for subscribing to my feed, I look forward to your feedback. You've been so helpful to me during this journey. Keep me updated on rooting those sweet potatoes!

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Aha! That's good to know too. I gave up mashed potatoes figuring that starch and fat there... well that I'd rather eat ice cream:-) Did not know sweet potatoes are considered that way. I like them with Greek yogurt and salt. Thanks for your compliments - glad to be helpful on the journey!

  
  about 7 years ago

Excellent article, AJ. Something I've always wanted to try too and now I've got the info!

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

Thanks, Lisa! Let me know how your slips go. I'm so hoping this round takes. I found a fourth tiny slip yesterday! One thing I do which I think helps is change the water every other day.

Reply
  about 7 years ago
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