Author Topic: Start own sweet potato slips?  (Read 2515 times)

Offline TxMom

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Start own sweet potato slips?
« on: November 20, 2012, 10:16:17 PM »
End of July my husband wanted me to start some sweet potatoes.  Late start, but then I do live in zone 8.  I bought some slips and planted them on some land we own about 20 minutes away.  Sadly another drought, but not as bad as last year.   I was able to water them once or twice a week.  Mulch, them, etc.   

Today he dug them up for me with a garden fork, and first dig got us 2 huge nice looking potatoes.  It worked.  Big sigh of relief, we let a vine grow in our backyard garden one year, someone said it was a sweet potato, it went everywhere.  Started digging end of year, no tubers.  Not a sweet potato.  I'd forgotten that kind soul gave me a "potato vine" which I neglected and threw into the garden for compost, as I did some old sweet potatoes.  Now we weed that pretty vine every year.  Relieved to see the sweet potatoes this time, he dug up the rest.  Some were large and plump, some medium sized, and some long skinny things.   

So we will let them cure.  A couple weeks in the kitchen then at least a couple weeks in the cooler garage?  Now the little skinny ones we were tempted to simply plant back in the ground.   

Question, can't these little ones be used to start slips?  Do we store them in the garage till early spring?  Or do I need to larger ones to do that.  Or I may simply plant the tiny ones into some new raised beds near our house just to see if they do anything.  (Easier to water)   Then the little ones would either grow or turn into compost. 

Suggestions?  What do you do with the little sweet potatoes, and how best to get new starts for the next year.

EOTS

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Re: Start own sweet potato slips?
« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2012, 11:57:03 AM »
I grew them for the first time this year. I was THRILLED at the crop...but when I harvested them, they kept trying to grow...not just in the garden, but in the buckets where I was curing them! I asked a local farmer and he said just keep snapping off the starts, which I did. After about a month, they quit. I'm concerned whether they'll be "willing" to grow starts again in the spring.

I am curious to hear from experienced sweet potato cultivators...

Also...I planted when I was "told" to (June in zone 8), and harvested when everyone local "said" to (mid-August)...but I really wonder, why couldn't I have left them in the ground through September or even mid-October? The temperatures stay warm until then.

Offline TxMom

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Re: Start own sweet potato slips?
« Reply #2 on: November 21, 2012, 07:41:39 PM »
Yes, good to hear from others.  When I get a chance I'll ask the place I bought my slips from. 

That is a good question, if we plant them earlier, are they better to harvest in August? late November?  Some at different times so we can eat some sooner. 

I've heard of slips started in water, or in sandy beds. 

OK, those of you who've been planting sweet potatoes for a while, what are best practices? 

We can also experiment.  Dig some in August, Sept, Oct and Nov.  Start different ways. etc. 

Offline Cedar

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Re: Start own sweet potato slips?
« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2012, 01:15:09 AM »
I start mine as a sweet potato in a jar of water. When the sprouts start and get 8 inches long, I pull them off and stick them in a glass of water to root. Then I put them in sand after they are rooted. When it is warm enough outside I plant them in a hill covered with black plastic or in large huge gianormous tubs.

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Offline TexasGirl

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Re: Start own sweet potato slips?
« Reply #4 on: November 23, 2012, 06:42:03 AM »
I pick two or three good tubers with eyes and slice them into several pieces with several eyes each. Then add toothpick legs and place these in cut milk jugs with about 2" of water.  They will vine like crazy, filling my livingroom window.  A couple weeks before planting time, I will cut these in foot-long lengths and throw in a jar of water to sprout.  We've always had sugar sand in the garden, so these go straight into the ground when roots appear.  We keep them moist the first few weeks in the ground.

My new place has heavier loam soil, so I may need to use a sandy "go between" next spring.

~TG
 

EOTS

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Re: Start own sweet potato slips?
« Reply #5 on: November 23, 2012, 02:28:02 PM »
Thanks!

Offline fred.greek

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Re: Start own sweet potato slips?
« Reply #6 on: November 23, 2012, 07:14:38 PM »
The leaves, young stem pieces, etc. of “true” sweet potato & yams are edible after minor cooking, we‘ve been doing so for a long time.  For  us in Yuma, AZ, we have them growing pretty much all year, in the ground, in pots, even just in jugs of water (grown for the leaves).   In asian grocery stores we find the leaves being sold in fresh veggie section. In a few pages of google search I did not find an “authority” link indicating that ornamental sweet potato vine is also edible, but to the extent one believes anything on youtube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_TIQBvO3qsA

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Offline TxMom

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Re: Start own sweet potato slips?
« Reply #7 on: November 23, 2012, 10:26:21 PM »
Thanks all!   Now to let the sweet potatoes cure so we can eat them. 

Interesting on the ornamental potato vine, I bet it would be a great fast ground cover.  When we dug we found no tubers, but I never had anything grow so fast and take over the place.  I've never had such an invasive plant, loves our hot summers.  Still not sure I'd plant it on purpose.  So many varieties, possibly edible too.  I agree, it'd be best to know for sure.

Offline TexGuy

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Re: Start own sweet potato slips?
« Reply #8 on: November 23, 2012, 10:49:28 PM »
In early spring I cut mine into 4 pieces and bury half way in potting soil, keep them moist, and they have 8 inch growth in about 5 weeks and are ready for planting. It's all been death and destruction from there though.  8)

I know they grow in zone 8 but I just haven't got enough rain the last three years (the time I've been messing with them).

Maybe making them grow roots first (two more weeks?) like Cedar does will work for us, she is Ms. Badass after all!



EOTS

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Re: Start own sweet potato slips?
« Reply #9 on: November 24, 2012, 08:29:31 AM »

I know they grow in zone 8 but I just haven't got enough rain the last three years (the time I've been messing with them).

FWIW, I planted 13 slips last spring. They all seemed fine, green leaves, etc....and then 8 (eight!) of them just DIED. I think it was a water issue, as well (we're also zone 8).

Offline TexasGirl

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Re: Start own sweet potato slips?
« Reply #10 on: November 24, 2012, 08:47:08 AM »
FWIW, I planted 13 slips last spring. They all seemed fine, green leaves, etc....and then 8 (eight!) of them just DIED. I think it was a water issue, as well (we're also zone 8).

Watering is important, not too much or too little.  If you are in very sandy soil (which sweet potatoes love) it's hard to over water.  But they are tasty, to bugs and critters.  If you loose a bunch, investigate to see why they died.  Cut worms?  Deer?  Rabbits?  I once watched a whole slip disappear into the ground right before my eyes.  A gopher found the end and pulled it under!  Long before the world of instant videos, it would have been great to catch that one on film.

~TG
 

Offline Sweethearts Mom

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Re: Start own sweet potato slips?
« Reply #11 on: November 24, 2012, 07:41:21 PM »
I start mine as a sweet potato in a jar of water. When the sprouts start and get 8 inches long, I pull them off and stick them in a glass of water to root. Then I put them in sand after they are rooted. When it is warm enough outside I plant them in a hill covered with black plastic or in large huge gianormous tubs.

Cedar

I did this for the first time in  the Dallas TX area only I got a late start too....July also. Next year I will be putting my starts in the ground no later than mid May and give it all summer long. I expect a good harvest. Cause I abused mine and did not water regularly

Offline Bonnieblue2A

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Re: Start own sweet potato slips?
« Reply #12 on: December 03, 2012, 08:40:02 PM »
"Bobby", a Carolina gardner, has some tips on what worked for him after his slips died. See beginning about 5:36 on the video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qEoW4rNd5-g

For those interested, he has some great how-to videos on hydroponics and also has a radio show on Prepper Broadcasting Network.

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Offline mngardener

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Re: Start own sweet potato slips?
« Reply #13 on: January 20, 2013, 07:10:03 PM »
this is good info to know. I usually get my slips from Johnny's seeds.

about how many slips do you get from a tuber. I would like to make about 500 of them. :D i have heard 10 to 50 slips per so it is a bit confusing.
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Offline mngardener

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Re: Start own sweet potato slips?
« Reply #14 on: January 20, 2013, 07:16:00 PM »
i was also wondering if you get good sized tubers if you harvest the greens to. and what part of the vine is best. the whole vine or just the tip of new growth.

2012 was an amazing year for them for me (southern MN). 600 slips netted about 1400 lbs. give or take 50.  I never sold them all. So i was thinking about selling some of the greens in the summer
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Offline Sweethearts Mom

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Re: Start own sweet potato slips?
« Reply #15 on: January 27, 2013, 01:52:01 PM »
this is good info to know. I usually get my slips from Johnny's seeds.

about how many slips do you get from a tuber. I would like to make about 500 of them. :D i have heard 10 to 50 slips per so it is a bit confusing.


I have had my sweet potatos in my window since last june and they are still producting slips! So get yours in jars of water right now. As soon as a slip forms and gets about 2 inches high break it off and put it into a glass of water. Keep doing this until you have as many slips as you want; The more "momma" potatos are in water, the more slips you will get per week.

Offline SVFBrett

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Re: Start own sweet potato slips?
« Reply #16 on: January 29, 2013, 04:26:29 PM »
Awesome info.  Can't emphasize enough that if a deer has been seen in your county in the last 50 years you're gonna wanna have a robust "Counter Deer Plan" for your sweet taters  Cause they'll find the tasty tender delicious drought resistant foliage and gobble it up rickytic.
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Offline bbobwat33

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Re: Start own sweet potato slips?
« Reply #17 on: January 29, 2013, 08:08:05 PM »
i can tell you how my granddad does it. he winters them on newspaper spread out on the basement floor. in the spring he cuts of the eyes leaving a little meat with them and plants that in pots eyes up, until he has about 8-12" of stem then transplants that. he doesn't mulch them or anything just allows whatever grass and weeds that grow around the vine to do so. i thought i just gonna outsmart him a few years ago and clean around the vines with a hoe and then mulch with straw. they were dead in two weeks. he's in southwest virginia.

Offline Samuel Fairlane

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Re: Start own sweet potato slips?
« Reply #18 on: January 30, 2013, 09:08:28 AM »
Awesome info.  Can't emphasize enough that if a deer has been seen in your county in the last 50 years you're gonna wanna have a robust "Counter Deer Plan" for your sweet taters  Cause they'll find the tasty tender delicious drought resistant foliage and gobble it up rickytic.
I did not know that. Deer are hardy critters. I would think sweet potato vines would be poisonous to deer, as they are related to morning glories. That makes me wonder if sweet potato is also not poisonous to sheep. I want plant a whole bunch of sweet potato, but have been struggling with a good place to put them.

Offline tgriff

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Re: Start own sweet potato slips?
« Reply #19 on: January 14, 2014, 07:27:09 AM »
Last year, a nearby sweet potato farmer gave me a surplus box of tubers, ready for planting.  I planted them in a row and they took off.  It was dry in the summer (in North/East Texas) and I didn't have the water distribution working well - so they weren't watered regularly.

Near the end of the season, I periodically checked their size until right, then dug them up and got several bushels.  Some were large, some "just right", some little more than roots and some of all sizes had holes eaten in the sides.  I kept the smaller ones as root stock for next year, am still eating the nice ones and have used the damaged ones to make filling for pies, etc.

The sweet potatoes were "stringy" inside - probably due I to insufficient water.  They are fine if eaten whole, but if used for filling, the strings are more obvious.  I believe that if watered better, they would have filled out more and had less strings.  Also: If left growing too long, they will become very large - and stringy.

The year before, I planted three sweet potatoes in my 5' x 12' garden and the runners took over half of the garden.  I spent time with this garden and as the vines came out, I covered the stems with dirt - causing them to root again and again to make more potatoes.  Covering the stems made them produce a lot more potatoes.
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Offline TexasGirl

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Re: Start own sweet potato slips?
« Reply #20 on: January 14, 2014, 03:58:29 PM »
I did not know that. Deer are hardy critters. I would think sweet potato vines would be poisonous to deer, as they are related to morning glories. That makes me wonder if sweet potato is also not poisonous to sheep. I want plant a whole bunch of sweet potato, but have been struggling with a good place to put them.

You may be confusing sweet potatoes with other potatoes.  Sweet potatoes are not nightshades, so there's no toxins present. 

It's really an ideal survival food to grow.  All parts of a sweet potato are edible.  The tender leaves are somewhat like spinach in a salad (very nutritious), taste is a bit dependant on the variety.  Livestock can be fed the vines after the tubers are dug.  Keep in mind that sweet potatoes also make a great base for preparing dog food in a survival setting.  Basically, just add meat.

And sweet potatoes store easily for several months at room temperature when kept ventilated in the dark.

~TG
 

Offline Samuel Fairlane

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Re: Start own sweet potato slips?
« Reply #21 on: January 16, 2014, 03:16:34 AM »
You may be confusing sweet potatoes with other potatoes.  Sweet potatoes are not nightshades, so there's no toxins present. 

It's really an ideal survival food to grow.  All parts of a sweet potato are edible.  The tender leaves are somewhat like spinach in a salad (very nutritious), taste is a bit dependant on the variety.  Livestock can be fed the vines after the tubers are dug.  Keep in mind that sweet potatoes also make a great base for preparing dog food in a survival setting.  Basically, just add meat.

And sweet potatoes store easily for several months at room temperature when kept ventilated in the dark.

~TG

I grew about 200 pounds in 2013, might have been beginners luck. I feed the tops, and culls to my sheep. I had a bunch of little ones where the vines spread out in my BTE garden. I think I'm going to try to do some kind of trellis this year to stop this from happening.