User avatar
KitchenGardener
Senior Member
Posts: 274
Joined: Mon Apr 25, 2016 8:30 pm
Location: Northern California; Hardiness Zone 10a, Climate zone: 17

Re: Sweet Potato Questions

Gary350 wrote:I like to plant sweet potatoes April 1st and harvest 7 months later when frost kills the plant. I once grew a 13 lb. sweet potato the size of a soccer ball it was lumpy looking like a dozen potatoes all grown together.
My first impulse is to say "Eww," but thought I should ask - did you eat it and was it any good?

imafan26
Mod
Posts: 11684
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 8:32 am
Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: Sweet Potato Questions

We grow the sweet potato and eat the leaves, the tubers are a bonus. It is a long crop especially since we don't really count we just decide to dig it up. This is an old publication but still relevent. It says that if it is colder it will take longer to produce tubers. You cannot let it freeze.
https://www.ctahr.hawaii.edu/oc/freepubs/pdf/B-50.pdf
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

User avatar
Gary350
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 5478
Joined: Mon Mar 23, 2009 1:59 pm
Location: TN. 50 years of gardening experience.

Re: Sweet Potato Questions

KitchenGardener wrote:
Gary350 wrote:I like to plant sweet potatoes April 1st and harvest 7 months later when frost kills the plant. I once grew a 13 lb. sweet potato the size of a soccer ball it was lumpy looking like a dozen potatoes all grown together.
My first impulse is to say "Eww," but thought I should ask - did you eat it and was it any good?
I don't like to eat sweet potatoes but I do like sweet potato casserole for Thanksgiving dinner. I like growing sweet potatoes it is a challenge to see how many lbs I can grow from 1 plant. I donated the whole 130 lbs of sweep potatoes to the homeless shelter 2 weeks before Thanksgiving.

User avatar
KitchenGardener
Senior Member
Posts: 274
Joined: Mon Apr 25, 2016 8:30 pm
Location: Northern California; Hardiness Zone 10a, Climate zone: 17

Re: Sweet Potato Questions

Gary350 wrote:
I don't like to eat sweet potatoes but I do like sweet potato casserole for Thanksgiving dinner. I like growing sweet potatoes it is a challenge to see how many lbs I can grow from 1 plant. I donated the whole 130 lbs of sweep potatoes to the homeless shelter 2 weeks before Thanksgiving.
Awesome - you set a good example for me, were I ever to get an abundance of anything.

So my next sweet potato question: how long do you try to grow slips with nothing happening before you chuck the potato and start over?

I bought two types of organic sweets. I perhaps wrongly assumed, due to the high turnover of the market in which they are sold, that they had not been cold stored or had anything done to them that would inhibit their ability to grow slips. But its been 19 days with them soaking half in and half out of jars of water, and one has two baby slips and the other has absolutely nothing - or so it appears. I change the water frequently. They've been sitting on a kitchen window sill. What do you think?

User avatar
Gary350
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 5478
Joined: Mon Mar 23, 2009 1:59 pm
Location: TN. 50 years of gardening experience.

Re: Sweet Potato Questions

I bought a sweet potato plant at the garden center last week. There was 9 slips growing out of the pot. I only wanted 1 slip but had to buy the pot for $3.50. I cut it in half and planted them both 2 feet apart in the center of a 50 foot long row. Once it roots and starts growing I will cut off all but 1 vine growing East and 1 vine growing West. My garden is 1 1/2 months behind schedule because of bad weather. I hope to have 100 lbs of potatoes when frost kills the plant about November.

User avatar
KitchenGardener
Senior Member
Posts: 274
Joined: Mon Apr 25, 2016 8:30 pm
Location: Northern California; Hardiness Zone 10a, Climate zone: 17

Re: Sweet Potato Questions

Well I tried, I really did, but had my first fail of the season. Started multiple sweets in water hoping to get slips. Got little nubbins and one slip, even with my several attempts at varieties and window sills. The sweets kept rotting. Anyway, broke off the one tiny slip (one set of leaves) and folded its bottom half carefully in wet paper towels and watched its roots grow...a tiny bit of additional top growth made me think I could try planting it, so planted in a mix of vermiculite, compost and a bit of sand. I gave it time to get over its shock and waited for it to grow, and it did so ever so grudgingly. But then its tiny, baby leaves started yellowing ever so slightly, and I decided it was a goner, so I pulled it up expecting so see no more roots than when I planted it, but there were some longish roots! And then I kicked myself for letting my curiosity get the better of me.

In my climate, I doubt it would've made it anyway, but sheesh, silly me. :roll:

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 28242
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 7:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Re: Sweet Potato Questions

Well you could have put it back. Sweet potato is pretty sturdy. ABSOLUTE KEY to growing is heat, Heat, HEAT. 85°F or above. 90°F would be better. Once it gets hot enough during the day, direct sun will provide the kind of heat you need. No A/C -- set up outside or garage or attic... Maybe your car parked in the blazing sun.

For me growing the slips is not the problem, it's the typical lovely cool night air in the 60's and threats of early killing frost and accompanying drops in temp starting around late September -- I can't count on heat-loving crops beyond then even if the subsequent days are frost-free until late October or November.

This year, late lingering cold spring delayed everything so I'm not very optimistic about sweet potatoes, but I put this extra late Hawaiian sweet potato in last year's eggplant SIP after the big broccoli were done.

Image

...if this works, I might have to concede that I have to grow sweet potato under black plastic mulch when planted in the ground, and plant the slips earlier by setting up a low poly tunnel over the black-plastic mulched raised mound.
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

User avatar
lakngulf
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1273
Joined: Mon May 10, 2010 4:34 pm
Location: Lake Martin, AL

Re: Sweet Potato Questions

I agree that sweet potato plants are pretty sturdy. I planted some beautiful starts in between two rows of tomatoes at my Mom's garden. Then we had issues with Groundhogs. First they hit her cucumber plants and then started on sweet potato, clipped them to a nub. I put electric fence around the entire garden, kept them out so far, and the sweet potatoes have taken off again. Here's hoping.
Nutin as good as a kitchen sink mater sammich

User avatar
KitchenGardener
Senior Member
Posts: 274
Joined: Mon Apr 25, 2016 8:30 pm
Location: Northern California; Hardiness Zone 10a, Climate zone: 17

Re: Sweet Potato Questions

Nice! I love hearing stories of nature - in this case sweet potatoes - prevailing. I really think the weather here is just not conducive to them since it seems that every night it dips below 60 degrees.

User avatar
TheWaterbug
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1068
Joined: Mon May 02, 2011 5:15 pm
Location: Los Angeles

Re: Sweet Potato Questions

I tried and failed at growing these a few years ago, but I'm game to try again next summer (I'm out of space for this season already, and I'd be late anyway). *

For those of you with heavy clay soil, do you double-dig? Or how much tilled depth do these require for good production?

Do you cure them before harvesting? Bonnie's suggests that you do.

* or maybe not! I just checked my records from 2012, and I planted the slips on July 19! Maybe I can find a spare spot in the garden . . . .
Sunset 23/USDA 11a, Elev. 783', Frost free since 8,000 BC. Plagued by squirrels, gophers, and peafowl, but coming to terms with it!

User avatar
Lindsaylew82
Mod
Posts: 2115
Joined: Wed May 21, 2014 9:26 pm
Location: Upstate, SC

Re: Sweet Potato Questions

I have pretty heavy clay, and I did not double till. I would suggest waiting until your clay is dry, otherwise it get clumpy. (At least here it does, and it's very hard to work that out once it dries that way!)
Lindsay
Upstate, SC
USDA Zone 7b/ Sunset Zone 31

User avatar
rainbowgardener
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25279
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 6:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

Re: Sweet Potato Questions

So I have a sweet potato half that has been sitting in water. It has a lot of roots at the bottom and a couple vines with leaves starting at the top. Not as many vines as this, it's just a picture I found, but this general idea:

Image

All the instructions I find say I should pull the vining sprouts off the potato, put them in water for awhile to grow their own roots and then plant them. Is there any reason why I can't just cut the sweet potato in chunks, like I do regular potatoes, each chunk with some vine and some roots and plant them?
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 28242
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 7:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Re: Sweet Potato Questions

I have settled on rooting the slips pulled from the potato (started in water) in Dixie cups of potting mix. Works better than water imho.

Never tried planting the cut up sweet potato but I would be concerned that they would attract vermin like chipmunks and voles, wireworms, etc.
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

Taiji
Greener Thumb
Posts: 885
Joined: Fri Oct 05, 2012 3:19 am
Location: back to cental az for now, elevation 5141, lat 34.57

Re: Sweet Potato Questions

I had 2 sweet potatoes in water for months; maybe 3 or 4 months (which seems ridiculous) but finally after all that time I have some slips. Had to keep adding water of course. But now, putting some slips in their own water, or into little pots to form their own roots; I mean, I'm thinkin by the time that is all done and they're ready to plant, it will be winter! They need a long growing season once in the ground, no? :) What to do? :)

Maybe next year I'll just buy something from the garden center like Gary said!
Never seen them there, but never really looked for them either.

User avatar
rainbowgardener
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25279
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 6:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

Re: Sweet Potato Questions

Well I don't seem to have any chipmunks or voles in the neighborhood, so I think I will try it. I'm with Taiji, I want to get something planted!
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration



Return to “Vegetable Gardening Forum”