Storing sweet potatoes

christie_sw_mo(Z6)October 22, 2006

Any advice on storing sweet potatoes over winter? If I want to plant some in the spring, can they be cut into chunks with an eye and planted like regular potatoes?

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Christie, Sweet potatoes need to be "cured" before they are stored. We used to wait until the first frost blackened the vines, then dig them and cure them behind our wood stove. They need to be cured at 75-80 degrees fahrenheit and about 70-80% humidity until the skins thicken--about a week, best I remember. So we would place pans of water near them. Then they can be stored under a bed in a cool room and will last for months. My aunt used to store hers in her unheated attic bedroom near the woodstove chimney for a little warmth.

Sweet potatoes are not planted from eyes like Irish potatoes, but from "slips". The easiest way to start them is to pick a few large potatoes (One tuber will make several "slips"--maybe as many as ten, place them in a tray deep enough to cover them with sand two to three inches over the tops, water them and place them in a warm room. Keep the sand moist but not soggy. Do this about 6-8 weeks before planting time. When the slips emerge, move them to bright light. Plant no sooner than three weeks after the last frost--the ground has to be warm. The slips should be 8-10" long with roots below the sand. Carefully pull the slips off of the mother tuber and separate them. Remove all the leaves except those on the top 3" of the sprout PLant the slips 2 feet apart with only 3" of the tops above ground as they will root along their length. Give them plenty of room. The old fashioned ones can extend 15 feet in every direction if watered well. We have dug potatoes as big as 5 pounds from our beds--they were still good too, not woody or pithy. Let me know if you do this, not many people grow their own any more including us. When I was feeding four kiddos, it was worth it, but for just two of us, not so much.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2006 at 1:20PM
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Thank you! I'm going to try. There's not much to lose if it doesn't but I like knowing how to do these things.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2006 at 11:47AM
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