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sweet potato question

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sweet potato question

Post  Chopper on 6/3/2010, 12:28 am

Just when I thought the experiment was a failure, I noticed that my sweet potatoes were starting to sprout.


The question is, what exactly do you plant. Do I slice the whole thing in half lengthwise and plant the whole thing or do I cut out the section with the growth and plant it? Or do I cut the vine of of the potato and plant it? I am unsure exactly what constitutes the "slip".

I read where you are supposed to wait until the vine is 6-8 inches long also. Any clues would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance!

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Re: sweet potato question

Post  Chopper on 6/4/2010, 6:37 pm

It took some time, but I got my answer. I think.

Once the potato sprouts you let it grow to about 6" or so and then cut it off near the potato. That is the slip and that is what you plant. From what I gather you can plant them directly into the soil - covering about 3 nodes in the process.

If anyone finds errors in this info, please let me know.

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sweet potato slips

Post  ander217 on 6/4/2010, 9:43 pm

I don't know if this is the correct way or not, but the way we do ours is to place the end of a large, long sweet potato in a wide-rimmed pint jar and keep the water level up to the rim of the jar. I don't bother with the toothpicks. It will begin sprouting above the water line, mainly at the top end, and the part under water will grow roots.

We wait until the slips/sprouts/vines grow four or five inches long on the mother root, then snap them off and put them in water until they grow roots. (It doesn't take long, but they will keep growing longer as long as you don't let them go dry.) Once they've grown roots you can either transplant them to pots, or if the weather's warm enough, put them directly in the garden. The mother root will keep producing shoots for months. (We got 24 slips from one potato, stretched over about four months.) I've never tried putting unrooted slips right into the ground, so I can't say if it works or not, but they root pretty quickly in water, so as long as you keep the soil well watered it may work fine.

We had to keep replacing our plants in the garden due to vole damage until we finally had nothing left but the mother root which was still putting out a few shoots even though the root end had nearly rotted away in the water. We took it to the garden and buried it, and it is now producing vines, too. It had been in water since December. That's way too early to start slips, but it's the only potato we had left from an heirloom variety and we wanted to make certain we got plenty of slips from it. That's why we had to keep pulling off the slips and rooting them, then transplanting those to pots while the mother put out more slips.

I had one slip which grew very long before I snapped it from the mother root. I cut it in two, pulled a few leaves away from the cut end, and popped both slips into water, where they both rooted. So, it's not difficult at all to get sweet potato slips to root.

After a rough spring with unexpected drops in temperature and major vole damage, our sweet potato vines are finally starting to take off in the garden. At harvest we'll see if all the harsh treatment weakened them or made them stronger.

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Experiment

Post  ander217 on 6/4/2010, 9:46 pm

As an experiment I put the leaves I pulled from the cut stem into water to see if they would root. They took longer but they rooted too! But I didn't try planting them because I thought they would make weak plants. Maybe I should have tried at least one to complete the experiment.

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Re: sweet potato question

Post  Chopper on 6/4/2010, 9:51 pm

Thanks. That is very helpful. I will let you know how it goes. Mine will go in a tad late, but here in so cal autumn is often the warmest time of year so I am not too worried and we rarely see a frost before December in this little microclimate. I would love to have fresh sweet potatoes (or garden harvested anyway) for Thanksgiving.

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Re: sweet potato question

Post  camprn on 12/31/2010, 6:25 pm

Growing Sweet Potato Slips I Wet My Plants

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Re: sweet potato question

Post  Furbalsmom on 1/1/2011, 10:54 pm

How funny and also informative. I may try to grow slips in the spring, even though sweet potatoes don't grow well here, it will be fun to try.

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Re: sweet potato question

Post  Chopper on 1/1/2011, 11:42 pm

@Furbalsmom wrote:How funny and also informative. I may try to grow slips in the spring, even though sweet potatoes don't grow well here, it will be fun to try.

I t would behoove you to start them as early as possible. It took forever for my slips to grow - I almost threw them out because I thought they were just not going to sprout. And once they started to grow it took awhile until they were big enough. They need a long growing season so you want it in the ground asap once warm. Just my experience.

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Re: sweet potato question

Post  Furbalsmom on 1/2/2011, 12:21 am

Thanks Chopper. I'll be buying sweet potatoes next week anyhow, so I will pick up a couple extra to try for some slips

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Re: sweet potato question

Post  Megan on 1/2/2011, 4:44 am

What a neat thread. Hm... I have a couple of sweet potatoes sitting around, too. Sounds like a fun project for January. I'm in!

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Re: sweet potato question

Post  ribsyhuggins on 1/2/2011, 6:12 am

for those of you in north you can grow sweet potatoes. there was and article I on how to do it . I will post the article it when find it. it can't be that hard but i think you will need bed deeper then 6 inches bed to do it and get good results.

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Re: sweet potato question

Post  miinva on 1/2/2011, 10:46 am

Did anyone who tried slips get sweet potatoes at harvest time? We grew some but they didn't seem to like Mel's Mix very much. There's an elderly man just around the corner who sells slips every year and he claims that they're from sweet potatoes that are a special heirloom variety that he's grown for decades, but the potatoes we got were fairly inedible. Sweet potatoes are a tropical vine (from what I read, anyway) so I would think we could grow them here in Virginia. We've talked about putting a bed together that's sandy specifically for sweet potatoes, but we'll see if we get it together this year Smile

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Re: sweet potato question

Post  Chopper on 1/2/2011, 5:21 pm

@miinva wrote:Did anyone who tried slips get sweet potatoes at harvest time?

I planted 5 slips in a 2X2 box of mel's mix. I had more sweet potatoes than I knew what to do with and they crowded the box.

They need about 100 days to grow. I planted mine late and picked by digging into the dirt from about September and pulled everything out at Thanksgiving. LOTS of SPs small and large. Gave them away. Took them with me back east. Just had the last one. Had I been able to leave them in the ground longer I might well have had more big ones.

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Re: sweet potato question

Post  miinva on 1/2/2011, 8:57 pm

Talk about kismet! Tonight I found a bag with four little white sweet potatoes that we forgot about after buying them at the farmer's market, and they're sprouting! I put them in a tray of water. If I get slips I'll definitely plant them Smile

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Re: sweet potato question

Post  Megan on 1/3/2011, 5:32 am

@miinva wrote:Did anyone who tried slips get sweet potatoes at harvest time?

Miinva,

A friend who lives near here tried them last year. They planted several. All but one failed, but the one that succeeded did very well. No idea why the trouble, as planting conditions seemed to be identical. Good luck with yours!

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Re: sweet potato question

Post  Furbalsmom on 1/14/2011, 6:10 pm

On January 3,
@Chopper wrote:
@Furbalsmom wrote:How funny and also informative. I may try to grow slips in the spring, even though sweet potatoes don't grow well here, it will be fun to try.

I t would behoove you to start them as early as possible. It took forever for my slips to grow - I almost threw them out because I thought they were just not going to sprout. And once they started to grow it took awhile until they were big enough. They need a long growing season so you want it in the ground asap once warm. Just my experience.

Just started one sweet potato today, January 14th. Hope I have enough time to get slips and then root them.
Probably won't want to plant them until late May when the ground warms a bit. Last frost date is April 4 but it stays so cool here.
I stuck them in the jar stem end up (I think) seemed logical, any other thoughts?

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Re: sweet potato question

Post  camprn on 1/14/2011, 8:15 pm

That's what I did, but I've never grown them before.

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Re: sweet potato question

Post  Megan on 1/14/2011, 8:19 pm

@Furbalsmom wrote:On January 3,
@Chopper wrote:
@Furbalsmom wrote:How funny and also informative. I may try to grow slips in the spring, even though sweet potatoes don't grow well here, it will be fun to try.

I t would behoove you to start them as early as possible. It took forever for my slips to grow - I almost threw them out because I thought they were just not going to sprout. And once they started to grow it took awhile until they were big enough. They need a long growing season so you want it in the ground asap once warm. Just my experience.

Just started one sweet potato today, January 14th. Hope I have enough time to get slips and then root them.
Probably won't want to plant them until late May when the ground warms a bit. Last frost date is April 4 but it stays so cool here.
I stuck them in the jar stem end up (I think) seemed logical, any other thoughts?

Well, that's what I did! We'll see what happens. I started two in mason jars with water... one "white", and one orange.

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Re: sweet potato question

Post  Furbalsmom on 1/14/2011, 8:20 pm

I put a little sticker on the jar so I would remember when I set it up.
Dates just seem to run together and I might think it was a month when it was only a week.

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Re: sweet potato question

Post  camprn on 1/14/2011, 8:41 pm

@Furbalsmom wrote:I put a little sticker on the jar so I would remember when I set it up.
Dates just seem to run together and I might think it was a month when it was only a week.
funny post silly me

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Starting dates

Post  ander217 on 1/15/2011, 7:42 am

I had just the opposite problem with mine last year. I placed mine in the jar in late December, and they sprouted so quickly that they grew too large before planting time. I had to transplant mine to potting mix and keep them going in the house until the weather warmed.

I started mine with a sweet potato I had raised myself. Do you think the ones from the store might have something sprayed on them to delay sprouting?

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Re: sweet potato question

Post  Furbalsmom on 1/15/2011, 10:28 am

I think the grocery store sweet potatoes are treated some way to delay sprouting. One site I looked at suggested they were heat treated. But, I have had them sprout in storage. This one was not sprouted at all, so we will see, I guess. I will have my indoor seeding station up soon, so I guess I can pot them up for a bit if they sprout too soon. Thanks for that thought, 'cause it lets me have another plan in place for just in case.

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I have roots!

Post  Furbalsmom on 1/30/2011, 12:39 pm

On January 14th, I placed my store bought sweet potato in a regular mouth pint pickle jar (don't do that, listen to those who have tried this before and use wide mouth jars) when the SP started taking up water, it swelled just enough that I had trouble removing it from the jar, so I moved it into a wide mouthed jar a week ago.

Of course these six little roots are teeny tiny but they showed up on the 28th, just 14 days! bounce

I am determined to get some slips and grow SP even though the Oregon extension service says they don't grow here on the coast, due to the cool, foggy, damp weather we have during the summer.

Our normal summer temps are in the mid 60's to the 70's. We rarely get temps in the 80's so I am planning to make at least one of my TT with a covered wagon. That is the type of protection recommended by the Extension Service for eggplant and peppers. Does anyone think the SP would benefit from a covered wagon to keep them a little warmer? Or, should I just take my chances and put the slips in another bed with Mel's Mix and see what happens? Still working on my planting plan.

My TT will be 10 inches deep (that is the size of the free wood I got) but I plan to fill it with just 8 inches of MM.


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Re: sweet potato question

Post  Megan on 1/30/2011, 10:03 pm

I have no idea. But, if you get enough slips, try it both ways! Very Happy

I don't have any shoots on my sweet potato yet, but I just changed the water on the jar and it's got some big ol' roots going on, so I have hopes!

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would love to try sweet potatoes

Post  mrsfish94 on 2/5/2011, 10:16 pm

I would love to try growing sweet potatoes. I had wondered how to start them.

Do the Nurseries have seed potatoes or can I just use one from the store?

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Re: sweet potato question

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