Sunday, May 20, 2012

(DF) SWEET POTATOES IN THE GARDEN: FINALLY!!

On May first, Anna talked in the "Tightwad Tuesday" post about starting sweet potato slips from sweet potatoes purchased on sale earlier in the year.  A few days before she had discovered that there were a few sprouting. Anna found one sweet potato she had forgotten about from the year before.  It was starting to sprout so she gave it to me to start slips from.  I promptly buried it in a pot of compost and proceeded to keep it watered.  Sure enough, there were soon leaves popping up in the pot.

As the next few weeks passed, the growth in the pot became very nice and it was soon time to plant them out.  Saturday was the most likely time for me to get time to plant, but I took the opportunity earlier in the week to dig up a bed in the garden, which I believed would be enough space for the amount of slips from one sweet potato.

Saturday came and I eagerly dug compost into the bed in preparation for planting.  With great anticipation, I removed the slips, compost, potato and all, from the pot.  I knew there were some roots (quite honestly, I had peaked a little) but was not at all prepared for what I saw.  Roots had filled the pot almost to the point of being root bound.

I have started sweet potato slips in the past, by burying the potato in dirt, in sand and by submerging the sprouting end in water, and all of these methods worked well.  This was the first time I had used straight compost, and the resulting root mass was far more than I expected.  You can bet I will be using compost to start slips from now on.

That one sweet potato produced a full dozen lovely plants which gave me no choice but to dig up another bed to accommodate.  If the age of the original sweet potato means anything, these slips should produce some real keepers which can potentially keep us in slips for years to come.  Now we will see how well they produce.

4 comments:

  1. A lot hopefully! Sweet potatoes don't do well here, but the white and red type do. I planted my first round Saturday in a barrel.

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  2. Um... honey .... don't put that shovel away just yet and get too comfy. Those other two methods of starting sweet potato slips I was trying are both doing great and if all continues to go well, there will be quite a few more to plant. *wink* *grin*

    As for the one you took home and started, I can't believe that sweet potato!! Folks, it was from the Fall BEFORE this last Fall had gotten lost in the recesses of my pantry area, wrapped up in a plastic grocery sack. The first amazing part was that it hadn't rotted, ESPECIALLY in the plastic bag. It was even more amazing that Dave got so many slips off of it and I am sooo excited because I know that the potatoes that Dave gets off of those slips will be clones of that original, which not only kept amazingly well, but were extra tasty, too!

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  3. Thanks simplicity, and sorry sweet potatoes don't do well there. They usually do pretty well in this area but they do require quite a bit of water. With the current lack of rain, I will certainly be carrying buckets of water from the old well on a daily basis until we have a good soaker. Good luck with your reds and whites.

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  4. Don't worry, Anna. The shovel is just getting the new worn off and will probably not be put away until it is worn out (and maybe not even then judging from the old one in the truck). Sounds like I will be plenty busy digging for all the plants we still have waiting for a spot. I can hardly wait!!

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