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.