Sweet potatoes

marricgardensOctober 1, 2012

Has anyone ever grown them? Did you start your own slips or buy them? If you bought them where did you buy them? I was thinking of trying to grow some next year. I have a small greenhouse and could put a pot or two in there. I've started slips before but they didn't do much but those were planted outside in clay soil. I figure that if I plant them in pots with better soil, they might do better. What do you think? Marg

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CLBlakey

Following with interest.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2012 at 12:07PM
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marciaz3 Tropical 3 Northwestern Ontario

This will be no help whatsoever, but i did try them one year - i used slips but i forget where i got them from. And they produced a couple of tiny tubers, which we never got around to eating. I told you it would be no help! LOL

    Bookmark   October 1, 2012 at 9:32PM
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Slimy_Okra(2b)

I grow sweet potatoes in Saskatchewan. You should have no problems in southern Ontario with your much warmer and longer growing season. I start my own slips, and I plant them first indoors, until they root, and then outdoors in large containers or in raised beds in mid-June. You can probably do it late May. Protect plants from spring and fall frosts to maximize root size. Harvest roots in October just before first hard freeze or before extended cold and wet weather arrives.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 2:14PM
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swontgirl_z5a(5a)

Do you start the slips from sweet potatoes? I would love to grow these as well. They are better for you but cost so much more.
Debbie

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 9:24PM
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Slimy_Okra(2b)

Yep, use the organic ones from the store to ensure they are more likely to sprout. I use the toothpick method, standing the lower half in water (change it daily) to get shoots. Let them grow an inch long, then excise them with a small chunk of the flesh from the tuber and plant into potting mix. Water well, cover and place on a heat mat in a bright area without direct sunshine. 3 days later, you can expose them to sunlight or grow lights and take the covers off. After a few weeks, transplant to larger pots if necessary. When the nights warm up into double digits, transplant them again into their final container or outdoor garden spot. Plastic mulch is beneficial. If you have a greenhouse, that's a plus too. They love heat, so no need to ventilate the greenhouse unless it rises above 35 C.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 12:47AM
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swontgirl_z5a(5a)

Thanks, I am so going to try this next year. I have had more luck with the ones you put in planters this year than any other time I have tried them but maybe that was because we had so much heat this year. I will use the plastic to keep the soil warm. I heard people say they have a little tuber left when they dig up their planters so they must be relateed.
One question-maybe silly. When you get them going in water and roots start- Are those really the stems and you put them facing up in the pot or are they still the roots and should go downwards? Or do shoots start growing upwards in the water?

Debbie

    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 4:30PM
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Slimy_Okra(2b)

Each tuber will produce around 3-4 plantlets randomly across the tuber. Some may be submerged (this is not a problem if you change the water daily). The shoots will be easily identified because they'll grow upwards and form leaves. When you excise the shoots with some of the tuber out, you will probably lose most or all of the roots. This is normal. The shoot will produce new, stronger roots once it is placed into warm, moist potting mix for a few days. Ensure that the base of the plantlet is completely buried in potting mix.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2012 at 2:09AM
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marricgardens

Slimy Okra: How many slips do you get from your sweet potatos using that method? The only time I ever started sp I did so using an egg carton, filled it with damp peat moss. Then I cut the potato lengthwise and placed it on top of the peat moss and covered with plastic wrap. Can't remember how long it took but I had lots of sprouts. I learned this method from The Joy of Gardening book by Dick Raymond. (They used a foil pan but I didn't have one.) Marg

    Bookmark   October 4, 2012 at 9:04AM
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Slimy_Okra(2b)

Marge, I got about 14-15 slips from 3 potatoes this spring. I didn't plant them all though, because I didn't have the space (LOL). However, I'd love to try out your method next year! Sounds like it might be a less time-consuming way of doing it.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2012 at 2:18PM
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bdgardener(3 AB)

I'm going to try it! I have one that has sprouted on my kitchen counter. Question: if it has already sprouted should I still put it in water or should just cut the slips off with a bit of the potato and plant them up. Thanks Cheryl

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 4:57PM
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swontgirl_z5a(5a)

How many do you want? If you want more put it in water.
I am doing this right now. I keep cutting off some sprouts and planting them and then putting the potato back into the water. Some slips have roots and some don't but they all seem to be doing fine after planting. I am trying a purple one too.
Debbie

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 11:16PM
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bdgardener(3 AB)

Cool!!!! It has six sprouts just starting on one end. I was thinking of eventually planting them in a huge lick tub ( mineral lick ) from our cows, they are as big as a 50 gallon rain barrel but only half as tall. Question: do you only get one tuber from each plant? C

    Bookmark   March 19, 2013 at 8:23AM
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swontgirl_z5a(5a)

Do you mean one potato on each plant? I can't imagine why you would be limited to one but I don't know.
We have some of those lick tubs too. I haven't found a use for them yet but have threatened my husband with his life if he gets rid of them!I was thinking of making one into a fountain. They could work for the sweet potatoes too though. It would sure be easy to harvest them. I have a friend who grew them in her lasagne garden and she said it was so easy to just reach in and pull out a potato. They got huge for her.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2013 at 12:01PM
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bdgardener(3 AB)

Ya, I was wondering if the plant produced just one sweet potato or if they are like regular potatoes and you get a half dozen or more from each plant.
My neighbour who has a lot more cows than us has stacks of the tubs since they went to plastic and not metal anymore. She has her tomatoes in them. She won't let her husband get rid of them either. I have the kids outside toys in some. C

    Bookmark   March 27, 2013 at 1:17PM
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CLBlakey

Never heard of a lasagne garden -- what do you plant to grow Lasagne.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2013 at 5:21PM
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swontgirl_z5a(5a)

No. A lasagne garden is one you build up from straw and other organic matter in layers. You cover it for a while and it all turns basically to compost I think . You plant things in it when it is ready. They had one with walls around it and one without.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2013 at 4:46PM
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CLBlakey

ROFL - but I really wanted to grow lasagne *POUT* but I suppose I will have a lasagne garden when I plant in my bale garden.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2013 at 4:57PM
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swontgirl_z5a(5a)

Yes
I think growing lasagne would be good too- it is so expensive to make!
Your bale garden would kind of be the same after it decomposes. I would like to try one of those too but we never seem to have enough bales for the barn! I would love to get one of those big bales we see around here that is waiting piled in the field for the mushroom growers. They are already weathered for the winter and would be quite good to use I think.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2013 at 12:44PM
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CLBlakey

This will be my first year planting in my bale garden. Last summer I purchased some straw bales from a local farmer and have had them out all winter. I have them framed but no planting here until June. Oh how I miss zone 5. I did however see geese today the pond they were on is still frozen but looks like it should break up soon.

BACK TO TOPIC-- how long did it take to get those sweet potato starts?

    Bookmark   March 29, 2013 at 2:18PM
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swontgirl_z5a(5a)

I've had my potatoes going for about 3-4 weeks. I just keep cutting off new sprouts. They are still going. I change the water every couple of days. Some started right away and I think I cut the first ones off at about 2 weeks maybe?

    Bookmark   March 29, 2013 at 8:55PM
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runswithscissors(MT 4/5)

Ahhhh, that's what I'm doing wrong. I'm not changing the water. I was wondering why my sweet's were just sitting there, the shoots not growing any more. I will start the change tomarrow.

None of the shoots attached to the tuber has any roots tho. Will those develope when I plant the chunk in the dirt?

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 12:24AM
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bdgardener(3 AB)

Mine didn't have roots either until I submerged the shoots in the water, then white roots started to develop. C

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 12:35PM
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