Central Virginia Organic Gardener

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

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Sweet Potato Update 2010


I am experimenting with two methods to produce sweet potato slips this year:
1. The traditional suspend in water method (see photo above) and
2. I cut a sweet potato in half, lengthwise, and buried it in soil less mix, cut side down, and watered it.
Do I have a winner? Well one of the water grown potatoes rotted and was tossed and neither of the other two have sprouted. The sweet potato buried in soil sent up it's first sprout yesterday! (in less than a week)
It may be that this is because #2 is planted in a seed flat that I easily placed on a heat mat (sweets love their heat), but I don't think I can really do that with the ones suspended in water. Next year, I will start all of them using method #2.
Happy gardening!

10 comments:

How It Grows said...

The picture of the sweet potatoes is funny, like a flower arrangement on an alien planet.

Anonymous said...

Soon to be a 3-D movie!?!?!?!

Dee said...

I grew up in California, and this is the way my mom started avocado trees! (I don't remember there being an actual "tree", but we planted them anyway!)

Anonymous said...

If you are interested, I will send you the details for the method my Grandma used to grow sweet potato slips. I'll check the comments for your reply. BTW, I live in VA too.

Judy Thomas said...

Anonymous- I would love the details and any other bits of your Grandma's garden wisdom! Or yours! BTW, the sweet potatoes suspended in water have not yet sprouted, but the ones planted in potting medium in a flat and on a heat mat have oodles of sprouts.
To Dee- we started avocados the same way, too, had a house plant for a little while, but of course they don't grow here.

Anonymous said...

This is one method my Grandma used to get sweet potato slips.

She would bed them using moss found on cliffs and logs. She would put a layer of moss and then a layer of sweet potatoes-- she didn't cut them-- then she would cover the sw's with more moss. She then covered the bed with a piece of canvas or a tarp followed by wood boards to hold it in place. I think she did this in mid to late April and pulled the sprouts/ slips in mid to late May for planting- after all danger of frost had passed.
She said to get good slips, you had to have warmth and keep in a little moisture.
I have a cousin who grows her own slips. I will ask her how she does it and send the info.

Anon

Judy Thomas said...

Hey Anon,
That is an interesting way to start slips. Was this in VA?

Anonymous said...

She lived in Hurley, VA (Buchanan County).

Anon

Anonymous said...

I spoke with my cousin and she said she used to bed them the 'old way', but now she uses a bucket or metal tub. She puts soil in, lays the sweet potatoes on it and covers them with 2 to 3 inches of soil. If she leaves them inside... in a basement or garage, she doesn't cover them with anything. If they are outdoors, she covers them with plastic and ties it to hold it in place. She said it takes hers about 6 to 8 weeks to be ready, but that much of that depends on if we have a warm or cool spring. She said they are ready when they are 6 to 7 inches tall.
I think I will try her method this weekend.

Anon

Judy Thomas said...

Good tips! Thank you! The bedding method I am experimenting with seems to be faster and is working better this year that the water methods, so I will give these ideas a try!