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Author Topic: The Great sweet potato experiment! 2010  (Read 34736 times)

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birmancats

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Re: The Great sweet potato experiment!
« Reply #15 on: January 25, 2010, 19:59 »
Ooo - I'm up for a challenge.  Will get a sweet potato at the weekend.


Trillium

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Re: The Great sweet potato experiment!
« Reply #16 on: January 25, 2010, 20:47 »
Cazzy, if you're growing yours in a container, you'd need one at least 2 ft deep as the tubers can be long and usually point downward rather than splayed in every direction. If you hope to plant several in one container, it might be a squeeze.

aelf

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Re: The Great sweet potato experiment!
« Reply #17 on: January 26, 2010, 09:24 »
Thanks for all the advice Trillium  :)

I'm checking mine for shoots every day but nothing so far (I know, it's only been a week  :nowink: !) I plan on growing two plants in sacks that are 18 x 18in and 24in high in my greenhouse. By my reckoning, we should have crops sometime in July/August all being well.

Fingers still crossed!
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stompy

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Re: The Great sweet potato experiment!
« Reply #18 on: January 26, 2010, 09:40 »
Well, im in too.
I've got an old dustbin to use, i'll put it in the greenhouse and give it a try.
We love them and they are quite expensive.
Cocktail stics to the ready  :D

Lewjam

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Re: The Great sweet potato experiment!
« Reply #19 on: January 26, 2010, 12:43 »
do you treat sweets in the same way as normal pots in terms of earthing up?

I might have a go in a bucket or two under a cold frame - should i start at the bottom and earth up?
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Trillium

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Re: The Great sweet potato experiment!
« Reply #20 on: January 26, 2010, 14:56 »
do you treat sweets in the same way as normal pots in terms of earthing up?

Most definitely NOT! The 'potato' in the name is a misnomer. Treat sweet potatoes as you would carrots, beets or turnips. If you start them in in pots (after planting the slip) then plant them in their final container at the same level, gently firm the soil around the roots, water and leave them. Never hill them up or you'll kill the plant. They'll burrow further into the soil on their own, plus they'll produce a massive top cover of leaves. And remember not to over water, they don't like it. Nor do they like weeds, so if you grow them in the ground, use black plastic sheeting. Containers can be hand weeded if necessary. Good luck.

Cazzy

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Re: The Great sweet potato experiment!
« Reply #21 on: January 28, 2010, 20:26 »
Cazzy, if you're growing yours in a container, you'd need one at least 2 ft deep as the tubers can be long and usually point downward rather than splayed in every direction. If you hope to plant several in one container, it might be a squeeze.

I was hoping the polystyrene fish boxes I have would work but they are only about 9" deep.  I have three dustbins that will have to do then
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beanqueen

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Re: The Great sweet potato experiment!
« Reply #22 on: February 13, 2010, 17:47 »
I want to play :D
would it work if I planted them in upright bags of multipurpose compost?

Dee0

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Re: The Great sweet potato experiment!
« Reply #23 on: February 13, 2010, 18:03 »
Yeah I'll have a go too with one in the greenhouse.  I'll get a potato tomorrow!  :D

Swing Swang

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Re: The Great sweet potato experiment!
« Reply #24 on: February 13, 2010, 18:09 »
Trillium - Would you please clarify the plastic sheeting thing - Elsewhere on this site someone said that it's not a good idea to grow them up wigwams because they need to sprawl on the ground for maximum yields. I presumed that this was so they could send down roots along their length and so produce tubers elsewhere. Obviously this cannot be the case if growing them through plastic, so some other process must be going on. Could you enlighten me?

Regards,

SS

Trillium

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Re: The Great sweet potato experiment!
« Reply #25 on: February 14, 2010, 00:16 »
Sweet potatoes are basically a tropical veg, which means they LOVE heat, which is also why they're drought tolerant. In commercial fields they lay sheets of plastic weed barrier for exactly that purpose as they're planting thousands of acres of sweet potatoes and haven't time to weed. The plastic also holds in the ridges they build for maximum soil depth and good drainage.
The potatoes themselves need heat to grow but they won't tolerate being cooked so the vining top growth is allowed to ramble on top to shade the soil while gaining maximum sunlight on all leaves. (not sure this 'problem' exists in the UK  :lol:) To wigwam them means there'll be some shading and a resulting diminish in cropping. Plus, the leaves just plain don't like to be trained up objects as you can do with melons, cukes and such. There's a main growth 'stalk' if you will, below ground from which the tubers sprout widely and with fertile loose soil, the crop can be large as well as huge sizewise. The vines themselves don't root unless severed somehow and the leaves with stems touch soil. You can get new plants from this method but by now there's likely to be insect damage, maybe some fungal damage which you don't want to propagate so its best to take new shoots from freshly sprouted tubers. So basically, you don't want to wigwam or allow the leaves to climb because you'd be stepping on the crop without realizing it as the underground spread can sometimes be wide if you have any hardpan. Is this what you wanted to know?

Here's a link to pix for starting your own slips. Store bought sp's might have a growth stopper sprayed on them as mine did and though I started mine last year in early March they were ready for planting out in July which was too late. So I kept the tuber going as they can keep putting out slips for up to 5 years.

http://grandbobsgarden.blogspot.com/2009/05/how-to-grow-beautiful-sweet-potato-vine.html
« Last Edit: February 14, 2010, 00:23 by Trillium »

Swing Swang

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Re: The Great sweet potato experiment!
« Reply #26 on: February 14, 2010, 12:52 »
Thanks Trillium -I do like to know the 'why' as well as the 'how'.

SS

Tattyanne456

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Re: The Great sweet potato experiment!
« Reply #27 on: February 14, 2010, 12:57 »
Ohhh how exciting!! I'm off to buy a couple of sps! Why do some suppliers sell them as "slips", what does that mean? They are soooo expensive to buy them that way too.
BTW thanks for all the advice, this is a fantastic site. Thanks again! ::)

Cazzy

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Re: The Great sweet potato experiment!
« Reply #28 on: February 14, 2010, 13:15 »
Well thats my sweet potato been suspended in water for just about a month now and still nothing, I'm thinking my kitchen window ledge is too cold so i've moved it into the livingroom to see if that helps.

Anyone's rooted yet?

Trillium

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Re: The Great sweet potato experiment!
« Reply #29 on: February 14, 2010, 16:08 »
Why do some suppliers sell them as "slips", what does that mean? They are soooo expensive to buy them that way too.

Slips is merely a term specific to sweet potatoes to avoid any confusion. It's because you literally slip (pinch off) the young shoot from the parent where the base meets the tuber and that can be planted directly into a pot, another bottle of water or warm soil. I put mine into another bottle of water to make sure they root and when I see the first bits of roots I carefully put them into a pot of mix and keep it just lightly moistened. As for expensive, yes, they can be because someone had to fuss with them just like any other seedling, and because they're harder to find so gouging seems to be in order.  ::)



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