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sweet potato slips..how to start?

Posted by anniew 4-5/PA (My Page) on
Fri, Mar 12, 04 at 19:53

I want to try some sweet potatoes this spring, and want to start slips from potatoes from the store. How do I do it? In water like an avocado, in soil, or just on top of the soil?
Thank you,
Ann


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: sweet potato slips..how to start?

Cover the potatoes in a flat with soilless mix and keep moist and warm, probably 80 degrees and in the light. You should start getting sprouts growing and when you do just cut them off, plant in moist soil in a pot, and wait for roots to develop. Also, try this link.....In NC, farmers don't plant until May when the daytime highs are in the upper 70's to 80's......

Here is a link that might be useful: University of Georgia Commercial Sweet potato production


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RE: sweet potato slips..how to start?

thanks, tbolt76.
Ann


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RE: sweet potato slips..how to start?

Well, my mother in Ohio used to just stick sweet potatoes in canning jars full of water, with maybe the bottom third in the water. When they sent out sprouts, she'd let them get about 6 - 8" long and then snap those off and stick them in another jar of water. When those grew roots, they were ready to plant. (She knew when to start them to have the plants ready in time to plant.) When she had as many sprouts as she wanted, she'd just let any sprouts remaining on the potatoes continue to grow and let them vine all over the kitchen windows. Nice late winter greenery.


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RE: sweet potato slips..how to start?

Harold do you remeber when she planted em?
Tom


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RE: sweet potato slips..how to start?

I've been planting them both today and yesterday. I put stroe tubers near the bottom of a 5 gallon nursery can and cover them with soil. In time, numerous shoots emerge and when they are over a foot long, I cut them back halfway with a hedge shear. Then the root and soil ball is removed from the can and the shoots with roots are pulled of and planted. The potato and soil are then put back for another generation to grow. This can probably continue until the remaining growing season gets too short.

Best wishes,

John Warner
Madera Whole System Agriculture near Fresno, CA
No tractor, no tillage market grower since 1996


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RE: sweet potato slips..how to start?

I grew Sweet potatos in Ontario i started them in Jan 07 2004 from two Sweet Potato`s i bought from the farmers market. Started them in a Canning Jar of water with toothpicks it took about a month before i got roots and then transplanted to pots one plant died and the other produced 9 slips about 2ft long then root these slips in water and about a month before my slips produced roots.I was careful to harden off the slips good. Then took the slips to plant in the comunitie garden in late May. I used peat to mix with the soil and planted the slips one slip died and the others where ok. It took a long time before the slips took off i think they grow first underground. When the leaves finally took off i had to remove my pea plants to make room they where about three ft. wide full of leaves and choked out most of the weeds. It was very rainy and kinda cold this year i had a good crop of Sweet Potato`s. The 8 slips that lived produced a decent yeald and i will try to grow them next year. I dug up my crop in the middle of Sept. Store the Sweet potato`s at room temp. and they do not require refridgeration as that will ruin them. "Happy Gardening"


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RE: sweet potato slips..how to start?

The glass jars and water work very well. You have to remove the shoots and place them in shallower containers of water to root them.

Also you can plant the whole potatoes on their side....barely covered like the big growers. However in the north they have to have extra heat to get middle of May rooted slips. I cover each potato with a plastic cloche. They really respond to that in mid April plantings.


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starting sweet potato slips

While this is just my creative side coming out,
here's how I grow slips:

I line plastic cups in a row on a shelf in
my greenhouse. Using the smallest sweet potatoes I
can find in the store, I simply stand one up in each
cup, adding enough water to cover the bottom third of
the 'tater.

Making sure to keep the bottoms submersed in water, a few
weeks later I have nice sprouts which can be broken
from the mother 'tater and inserted into a glass vial.
The vials I prefer are 4 dram / 1/2 ounce bottles.

Why use vials? Well, for one, they're fun!

They allow for several inches of rooting while
containing them in a tubular shape. When spring
planting time arrives,
you'll have a very nice, well-rooted plug that slips into
the ground with the mere poke of a stick in the soil.

Just cut a thick branch slightly larger than the
circumference of your vials, about a foot long or even
longer if you want to poke holes while standing up.
Mark on the stick the depth you will plant them
by using masking tape so it will be easily seen.
You can easily judge how deep to plant by viewing
the vials. Look at all those roots!

Just push the stick into the soil up to the masking
tape mark and wa-la. You have nice holes into which your
slips will...well, slip. :-)

Since I grow many of these slips each year, I had
to better organize my vials, so here's another trick:

Using a 2 x 4 (mine is 30" long, use a pencil and a
ruler or straight edge to divide the board into
nice even square sections of approximately 1 1/2" x 1 1/2".
Use a drill bit slightly larger than the circumference
of your vials and drill into the center of each section
you've marked off. Basically what you are doing is
drilling a sitting spot for the vials...they don't have
to be inserted all the way into the wood, just enough
to help them stand straight, about 1/2" deep is great.
This allows you to move all the slips at once,
monitor growth, keep an eye on the water level and
move the board around if necessary.

You can even sand and / or paint the board after drilling
your holes.

My 30" 2 x 4 safely holds 40 slip vials at a time.

Enjoy!


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RE: sweet potato slips..how to start?

Hum i got seeds from a friend . I have tiny plants not roots everyone talking about. So tell me what my chances are the plants growing sweet potatoes :O()


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RE: sweet potato slips..how to start?

well around here we just built a box without a bottom out of tin then filled it with rotting sawdust from the local sawmill and bury our sweet potatoes a foot down in it water them once and let them come up on their own... we usually plant a half bushel of small potatoes and get from them about 3-4000 slips ready for planting.


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RE: sweet potato slips..how to start?

hillbilly_hydro

How long before you want to plant the slips do you start the taters


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RE: sweet potato slips..how to start?

we usually put them in around the last of march


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RE: sweet potato slips..how to start?

I've grown sweet potato slips for years and had good luck growing big sweet potatoes.

To grow slips: I insert toothpicks on 4 sides around the center of each potato about quarter-way into the potato. I then put each potato in a glass with water going about half-way up the jar. The potatoes rest on the toothpicks unto the jar edge. I usually start the potatoes the end of January until the end of February. It takes a few weeks for the slips to start sprouting from the potatoes. Once the slips are about 6 inches tall, I remove them from the Mother plant and put them in another jar with water. I keep adding slips to the jars until I either have enough plants or it's time to plant. I usually keep my potatoes in the jars and keep sprouting some more plants as a back up plan in case I need more plants. Sometimes I have a few die. Sweet Potatoes grow off fairly quick, I plant the slips in May (they like the weather to be pretty warm) when I plant okra. I plant in raised beds setting the pants a foot apart. I water the plants real good. Once we have a good rain, I mulch the raised beds about 4 - 6 inches deep. Then I forget about them until I dig the potatoes. They are an easy crop to grow.


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RE: sweet potato slips..how to start?

Probably have enough to plant with all the seeds I bought but we eat a lot of sweet potatoes. Can I grow the ones from the grocery store up here so I don't have to buy slips? And what IS a slip?? A long sprout/eye coming off the potato? Do you root them in a glass of water like a tomato cutting?


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RE: sweet potato slips..how to start?

I've never seen sweet potato seeds.

Some of the stores are most likely treated with a anti-sprouting agent, so it will be harder.

You are right about what a slip is, and they will have a small amount of the mother, then you put them in water just like any other plant.

Where I'm at, you ONLY plant slips due to the growing period, 100 days or more (If I remember right).

Make sure you have a place to plant them that you can dig deep, and have lots of spreading room. I planted some a few years ago, and felt like I needed a backhoe to dig them.

Marla


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RE: sweet potato slips..how to start?

Can you plant them in hills - I mean literally? I have 3 huge piles of topsoil I don't know if we'll have time to spread this year.

Also, will they tolerate acid soil? I have to get that topsoil tested, my dad swears he took some from that same spot a few years ago for his garden and things grow fine, he never limed or fertilized it (I find that hard to believe since he limes everything out of habit, never tests). But our soil here tends to be acid - in 4's and low 5's, and with all the precipitation last year it's probably gotten more acid - have to go check, about time to start thinking of liming the fields now but the piles will have to wait til we spread.


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RE: sweet potato slips..how to start?

Don't know about the pH and sweet potatoes. Did find out about those seeds and it sounds to me like it would take forever. I think you'll be better off with slips instead of seeds.

Hills should work great, the soil is heat up faster in the hills and that's what they need.


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RE: sweet potato slips..how to start?

Soil pH of 5.0 to 6.0 is satisfactory according to the Midwest Vegetable Production Guide so your slightly acidic soil should be OK. Hills work well - the deeper the loose soil under the plants the better the tubers grow.

Here is a link that might be useful: MVPG Sweet Potatoes


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RE: sweet potato slips..how to start?

Thanks for the link - the UGA one was too old, didn't work. I'll have to get the pH tested - we've got to lime to get in the mid-5's here. But I certainly do have lots of deep loose sandy soil!

Gotta find some slips now, we don't plant tender annuals here til Memorial Day, figure slips will probably be the same (or later, since I don't mind digging them a bit later).


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RE: sweet potato slips..how to start?

Sweet potatoes definatly need to be planted after the danger of frost has passed. Not sure where you are looking for your slips but we order ours from Steele. They are great people and we have always been very happy with their slips. We ususally plant Centennials and Beauregards.

Tom

Here is a link that might be useful: Steele Plant Company


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RE: sweet potato slips..how to start?

Oh thanks for the Steele link, I had misplaced it but a friend in MI buys from them, she said Georgia Jet grew really well for her, Beauregard not so much and Nancy Hall keeled over and died.


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RE: sweet potato slips..how to start?

Ajsmama, during the Southern Il conference that I went to, they talked about sweet potatoes and varieties, when I get home and arrange my notes, I'll email or post it for you.

Marla


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RE: sweet potato slips..how to start?

I did as people suggested above with the toothpick-water thing, and I have a few slips that look like they're going to work. (Sweet potatoes are expensive and hard to find in my country, so I want to make the most of each slip.)

I'm concerned about the planting, though. I have about 25 slips growing out of 3 potatoes and two more potatoes with roots but no shoots. So ...

1. How big should the shoots be before I plant them?

2. How do I actually "snap them off" - I'm not a gardener, and it just sounds wrong to snap off the cuttings without keeping them attached to the roots that they've developed. Should I try to cut the potato so that there's a root for each slip, or what? I don't want to just plant the whole potato with its own slips and roots - I assume that if I did that, I would only get three plants, or possible more but growing too close together and impossible to separate.

3. Finally, there's the kind of soil that they like. Should they be planted near the olive trees - dry sandy soil - or with the peppers?

Thanks!


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RE: sweet potato slips..how to start?

I haven't grown them for years, easier to buy, but I'll try to answer.

1. wait til 6" or when your temperatures are warm over the night. If you want, you can transplant the slip into a pot of soil first, then transplant outside.

2. when you break them off, you will be having the roots (they are attached to the lower part of slip, plus a little of the sweet potato

3. dry sandy soil, they will love the ground, just be sure that they get watered regularly. Keep in mind their roots will expand quite a distance, along with their vines. We don't have olive trees near me, but I have heard anything negative about olives.

Good luck.

BTW, you can grow them in BIG barrels of dirt, also. When ready to harvest, tip over the barrel, and harvest the potatoes. But with any container plant, the harvest will not be as large, just more confined.

Marla


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RE: sweet potato slips..how to start?

thank you!


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