Central Virginia Organic Gardener

"And 'tis my faith that every flower enjoys the air it breathes." - William Wordsworth, 1798

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Ladies and gentlemen, start your sweets!

How to start sweet potatoes

Last year I had good success with starting and growing my own sweet potatoes (which I served for Thanksgiving dinner!). I started them in the traditional way, show in the photo above. Take a sweet potato, put four toothpicks in it (perpendicular to the potato), suspend the rounder end in a jar of water, and put in a sunny window. When the sprouts (called slips) are about 6 inches long, you can either cut them from the plant and directly plant them into the garden, 2 weeks after last frost (they need really warm soil, as the are a tropical vine) or you can pot them up and let the roots form.

I am also going to try another method this year- split a sweet potato in half lengthwise and bury it, cut side down, under some light soil in a plant flat, under light on a heat mat. This way the roots will form well and the slips should be well rooted. The time to do this, in order to plant at the end of April/beginning of May, is NOW! You can use sweet potatoes from the grocery, though might want to order or buy certified disease-free potatoes or even the slips themselves from a nursery.

Visit my garden pod cast by clicking on the Pod Bean button on the top left of this page and...as usual, happy gardening!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This looks GREAT!
Do you mind if I share your photo with some school classes? Great shot.