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Guess what I found....

Post  Aub on 11/2/2010, 12:52 am

I was going through a cabinet that I don't get in to much and I found a yellow plastic bag with a dozen sweet potatoes in it. I forgot that I got them from the Farmer's Market way back in August!!
They were growing quite nicely with no water or sun in my cabinet! My question is... Would it be wrong to plant them? They have "sprouts" on them that are at least 8 inches tall!! They don't looks rotten or anything just sprouty!

Embarassed Embarassed Embarassed Embarassed Embarassed Embarassed Embarassed
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Re: Guess what I found....

Post  Furbalsmom on 11/2/2010, 2:21 am

Aub, the following link is to an Illinois Extension Service page and basically it says, sweet potatoes don't do frost.
You might want to remove a few slips and grow them in the house if you have a really sunny window, because the foliage is pretty nice.

SWEET POTATOES
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Potato sprouts

Post  ander217 on 11/2/2010, 7:52 am

Aub, Furbalsmom is right, it's too late for planting them outside. If it were me, I'd go ahead and remove the sprouts then eat the potatoes.

Some experts disagree whether this should be done or not, but both of my grandmothers stored a year's worth of potatoes and sweet potatoes from their gardens each year, and the potatoes would always sprout in storage. They would regularly rub off the sprouts while in storage, and when cooking them they cut out any sprouts they saw and still used the potatoes. (They cut well around each sprout to remove it all from the potato.)You won't have pretty, smooth, whole potatoes for baking, but they should be fine for other uses. (Just don't eat any that are moldy, and don't eat potatoes that have turned green.)

Some experts say it's okay, while others say, "When they sprout, throw them out," but I ate lots of sprouted and shriveled potatoes when I was a kid. My grandmothers lived to be 90 and 104 years old so apparently doing so isn't lethal.

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Re: Guess what I found....

Post  miinva on 11/2/2010, 9:18 am

I did a bit of reading on sweet potatoes because I love them and they're nutritionally superior to white potatoes (according to my research). Sweet potatoes are actually more of a tropical plant than white potatoes, which may explain why they didn't grow very well in my SFG. I'm planning to mix up a sandy batch next year and see if I can grow them in that... I'll report on my results! Smile

Based on the fact they're considered tropical, I wouldn't try to plant them outdoors.

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Re: Guess what I found....

Post  Aub on 11/2/2010, 11:43 am

I think I might put them in a big pot or tub then stick them in a warm sunny room. I'll have to do some reading on sweet potatoes, I never thought about growing them, until they were growing in my cabinet!
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Re: Guess what I found....

Post  Aub on 11/2/2010, 11:51 am

Here's a really blurry picture of them! It is kind of amazing that they got that big!


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Re: Guess what I found....

Post  outsideasy on 11/2/2010, 11:59 am

chopper visited us (outsideasy and png-Grandma) on her way to Sacramento and brought some sweet potatoes for us from her garden. They were very interesting because they are connected to one another unlike when seen in the store and were very tasty so if you have some room inside I am for planting them and see what you get. I hope there is photos and story to follow.
Al

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Re: Guess what I found....

Post  Chopper on 11/2/2010, 1:26 pm

Sweet potatoes do not have the same culture as potatoes ie. growing from sprouts ot eyes. If you put one in water it will grow what looks like a green leafy plant - called slips. These have to be about 6" or so and that is what you plant, not the potato itself. Took me a LONG time to get that info clear even with the net to work with. So these would not be suitable for planting but if you stick one in water you may havs slips to plant in the spring.

The slips below - with some root on them if possible, is what you plant.


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Re: Guess what I found....

Post  middlemamma on 11/2/2010, 1:33 pm

so when you planted that did you stick it as is in the square?
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Re: Guess what I found....

Post  Chopper on 11/3/2010, 1:33 am

@middlemamma wrote:so when you planted that did you stick it as is in the square?

In a 2X2 box I planted one of the cuttings (the part with the leaves - no part of the SP itself) per square plus I added one to the middle of the box. I actually cut the growing parts off of the SP - it looked like planting ivy cuttings.

Here is what it looked like shortly after I planted:



Here is that box now:

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Re: Guess what I found....

Post  middlemamma on 11/3/2010, 2:07 am

Ok Chopper...I am such an idiot... I don't get it. sobbing

Are those white things coming out the bottom of the SP? Did you dig the green part out of the SP?

I just really am not getting it. I'm sorry!!!
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Re: Guess what I found....

Post  Furbalsmom on 11/3/2010, 2:20 am

Jennie

The sweet potato sprouts are called slips. (green) The white things are the roots of those slips.

You cut the slips with roots off of the sweet potato and plant the slips.
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Re: Guess what I found....

Post  Chopper on 11/3/2010, 6:51 am

I have a hard time comprehending descriptions too. And I had to do it to get it. I was not sure I had done it right until they started growing so well. Point is, don't plant the potato - like you would a regular potato. Plant the leafy part only - so cut the stem-leaf-root part off and plant that - but no potato. One of the ones I planted had not even developed a root yet but it must have once in the soil because it is growing great guns.

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Slips

Post  ander217 on 11/3/2010, 6:58 am

Chopper's right - sweet potato "sprouts" are called slips. However, the "sprouts" on your potato are the same thing, they just haven't greened up from the sun. You could twist off your slips, put them in water, and they will grow roots.

In my area of the country - the Upper South - we transplant our slips to the open garden in early June. They vine all summer, and we dig them when the first frost is forecast. We don't have sandy soil, either. They grow well in our clay loam, and it looks as though Chopper's did great in MM.

After digging, "cure" your sweet potatoes in a warm, dry place for a few weeks until the skins toughen, then store them in the dark. (We stack them carefully between layers of newspaper in boxes and shove them under the bed in the guest room.) They will keep up to a year.

If you want to grow your own slips for the next year, choose one of your nicest sweet potatoes and save it back for planting stock. Two or three months before planting, place the end of the large sweet potato in a wide-mouth pint jar of water. The other end will begin "sprouting" and sending up slips. I break them off and stick in another jar of water to root, (change the water every few days) and the potato will continue to grow up to 40-50 slips.

A lot of people in my area have switched to growing Beauregard, but I still like the old heirloom variety, Nancy Hall, also known as Yellow Yam.

We have always had excellent luck raising sweet potatoes in this area until this year. It was a total dud - four small tubers and one large one from a 4' x 10' bed that was overrun by voles. But next year will be better.
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One more thing

Post  ander217 on 11/3/2010, 8:00 am

I forgot to add that if you try to grow sweet potatoes from slips grown from a grocery store potato you run the same risk of introducing diseases to your garden soil as when you plant Irish potatoes from the grocery store. Although a lot of people do it, you would be safer to use these potatoes for potted plants and buy certified disease-free slips for growing your eating sweet potatoes. At least when you buy them you know what variety you are planting.
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Re: Guess what I found....

Post  Chopper on 11/3/2010, 1:49 pm

The other thing I found out is that potatoes grow along the stem of the plant. They are not a tuber. SPs are tubers and grow from the root.

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Re: Guess what I found....

Post  middlemamma on 11/3/2010, 2:09 pm

Ok I get it now!

Thanks everyone...

Smile
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Re: Guess what I found....

Post  Aub on 11/3/2010, 3:52 pm

All good to know! Thanks everyone. I'll try to keep you posted on what happens with these guys.
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Tu-ber or not tu-ber?

Post  ander217 on 11/4/2010, 8:20 am

@Chopper wrote:The other thing I found out is that potatoes grow along the stem of the plant. They are not a tuber. SPs are tubers and grow from the root.

You sent me to the 'net on this one, Chopper. It's the first I'd ever heard that potatoes aren't tubers. I couldn't find a source that said they are not tubers, but most of the sites I read said they are stem tubers rather than root tubers. I think that means that rather than part of the root swelling to make the potato, it grows as a separate tuber attached to the roots, or underground stems, or whatever those long thready things are to which the potatoes are attached.

Does that sound correct to you?
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Re: Guess what I found....

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