Tuesday, May 9, 2017

How to Start Sweet Potatoes

Starting sweet potatoes is really easy. Each year i grow slips from last years harvest. i keep my sweet potatoes in a basement cold storage room. In early spring i check through the sweet potatoes and look for any signs of sprouting.

Once i find a few that are sprouting i bring them upstairs, and place one end in a jar of water in sunny window.  

The Sweet potatoes will begin to grow roots in the water and the sprouts will grow quickly.  One the sprouts are several inches long, i pinch them off and put them in a jar of water.

Sweet potatoes like a long growing season, and really like heat. So once the temperatures start warming up in the spring, the potatoes really start sprouting quickly. i swear they grow a couple inches a day. One potato can produce a ton of sprouts, so you really don't have to sprout a bunch of them. Just a couple sweet potatoes will produce enough starts for a new crop of sweet potatoes.

The starts will grow roots quickly in the water. Then they can be transferred into starter pots with soil or right into the garden if it's warm enough. i don't usually plant them in the garden until the second week of May.

Sweet potatoes are really easy to grow and store well over the winter if kept in a cool dry place. The only real problem i've had with them is the voles love them too. They will snack on the tubers without killing the plants, so you won't even realize you have a vole problem until you go to dig them in the fall and there are no sweet potatoes!

This is one of the reasons it's good to rotate your crops. Each year we move the sweet potatoes around and hope the voles don't find them again.  Last year we grew 2 different types of purple sweet potatoes, along with the regular, but neither of the did very well. i was able to get one of the purples to start sprouting though, so i'm hoping to try them again this year. i still have another week or so before i put these outside.

i'm already gearing up for a busy garden season!


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