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Author Topic: Sweet Potato Time 2012  (Read 26263 times)

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Trillium

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Sweet Potato Time 2012
« on: December 29, 2011, 15:40 »
For those wishing to try growing sweet potatoes, now is the time to get your potato and get it started for rooting.

Sweet potatoes don't grow like regular potatoes. You must first suspend the potato in some water, keep the unit in a sunny window, and wait for roots to form in the water. Once those roots start forming, then you'll find green top stems starting. The stems themselves are what you'll later pinch off and plant to get your crop.

So, purchase one, even two, potatoes now to ensure you get some green growth. Shop potatoes may or may not have growth suppressants but I've rarely found that with sweet potatoes  are sprayed as such.

Hold the potato up lengthwise and at the mid point, insert 3 toothpicks around the centre area. Suspend this in a cup/jar of water so that the base of the potato doesn't touch the container bottom. Top with water and check level frequently. Keep in a sunny, draft free window and wait for the magic to happen.  
« Last Edit: December 29, 2011, 15:52 by mumofstig »


Auntiemogs

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Re: Sweet Potato Time 2012
« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2011, 15:44 »
Yay! Been waiting for this Trillium (sad bunny that I am) after reading some of the previous years posts! I have mine on the windowsill in a hyacyinth jar and I think something's starting to stir.  Happy days! :happy:
I would rather live in a world
where my life is surrounded by mystery
than live in a world so small that my mind could comprehend it...✿~ Harry Emerson Fosdick

sunshineband

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Re: Sweet Potato Time 2012
« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2011, 15:55 »
You just post this to give me false hope, don't you Trillium  :unsure: :unsure:

I either have no shoots, no leaves or.... no sweet potatoes.

So this year I am going to look forward to the success of everyone else and give it a rest  :lol: :lol:

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Trillium

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Re: Sweet Potato Time 2012
« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2011, 20:22 »
Mwa-haha! Of course I did, Sunny  8)

Actually, some sweet potatoes are VERY slow to sprout so starting them now should ensure reasonable success for seedlings. Its impossible to look at a potato and be able to tell if it will sprout quickly or slowly, so better to start early than too late.

sunshineband

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Re: Sweet Potato Time 2012
« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2011, 20:45 »
Mwa-haha! Of course I did, Sunny  8)

Actually, some sweet potatoes are VERY slow to sprout so starting them now should ensure reasonable success for seedlings. Its impossible to look at a potato and be able to tell if it will sprout quickly or slowly, so better to start early than too late.

You know how to grow these mythical veg, so I hope people take your advice  :D :D

VegGirl7

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Re: Sweet Potato Time 2012
« Reply #5 on: December 30, 2011, 17:20 »
going to have to give this a go - just found a sweet potato we forgot to use on Christmas day in the veg draw so it seems like it's meant to be!  :)

seedman

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Re: Sweet Potato Time 2012
« Reply #6 on: December 31, 2011, 15:37 »
never tried these before so if i sound thick i am sorry  :D when you say pinch of the green stems what about the roots. what are slips that you buy on my lottie the lads say dont bother to hard to grow Thanks for not   :lol: but then again you might be my web cams not working  :)
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Trillium

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Re: Sweet Potato Time 2012
« Reply #7 on: December 31, 2011, 15:55 »
Hi Seedman. A few periods in your sentences would make things a bit easier to understand  :happy:

Sweet potatoes are actually very easy to grow. Only catch is that they do need about 4 months of warm weather. In the UK this can be done with row cloches, cold frames or greenhouses. Sweet potatoes have almost no pests or diseases to bother them and are self mulching. You just need to water them regularly if rain is short.

From the potato tuber itself, your aim is to get green shoots growing. Once they're at least 3" tall, you simply twist the whole green bit off the tuber itself and plant the shoot. There are no roots but once you plant the shoot into moist compost, it will quickly send out its own roots which then become the tubers.

So, if you have 3 shoot growing out of the tuber, you'll have 3 plants in the end. I left my potato from last year to keep growing and I have some tall shoots now that I've nipped for fuller growth. 

tallulah

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Re: Sweet Potato Time 2012
« Reply #8 on: December 31, 2011, 17:41 »
How many/what size sweet pots can you expect from one shoot?  How far apart do they need to be planted?  I have limited space in the garden but would love to try them!

seedman

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Re: Sweet Potato Time 2012
« Reply #9 on: December 31, 2011, 18:03 »
Thanks Trillium thats made things  clearer now, Thanks again  :)

Trillium

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Re: Sweet Potato Time 2012
« Reply #10 on: December 31, 2011, 18:50 »
How many/what size sweet pots can you expect from one shoot?  How far apart do they need to be planted?  I have limited space in the garden but would love to try them!

That's really hard to say, but each white rootlet that forms from the shoot is a future potato tuber. To guesstimate, you could expect about 10, maybe more, tubers per shoot. Spacing of plants should be about 2-3 ft apart as the tubers will spread out wide but shallow, plus, the top growth is much like ivy - lots of branching that spreads and basically makes its own 'mulch' cover. You don't want to crowd either of those points. If you're short on space you could try squeezing it into your flower garden area; just add lots of compost, a touch of lime and lots of rotted manure to a loosened hole before planting. Keep the plant lightly watered the whole season (unless you get lots of rain). Cloches will really help them get started.

tallulah

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Re: Sweet Potato Time 2012
« Reply #11 on: January 01, 2012, 17:36 »
Thanks Trillium - sounds like they like a bit of space  :unsure: will have to consider where they can go.  Maybe the unused spot behind the greenhouse would be good  :)

dig4victory

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Re: Sweet Potato Time 2012
« Reply #12 on: January 03, 2012, 10:34 »
Due to the disappointment last year of having 3 big tubs with healthy leaf growth and then finding no spuds underground, we are buying the slips this year and having another go this way.

Trillium

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Re: Sweet Potato Time 2012
« Reply #13 on: January 03, 2012, 19:09 »
Either way works, dig4victory. For some, getting hold of slips isn't easy so they start their own.

Frankly, if you had great growth on top and lack of growth below, I doubt that purchasing slips will solve the problem. Most likely the tubs didn't get enough heat for the requisite 4 month period. I can't stress enough that they really do need very warm weather for a full 4 months if you hope to get a reasonable crop.

I wonder if next time you grow them in tubs, if wrapping the tub base in some sort of insulation would help keep the soil warm? Wooden tubs might hold heat better but plastic tubs won't.

Geordie

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Re: Sweet Potato Time 2012
« Reply #14 on: January 03, 2012, 20:18 »
I'm going to give it a go this year - 'nothing ventured nothing gained' as the saying goes.

I found this link which gives some nice pictures of the process:

http://www.food-skills-for-self-sufficiency.com/sweet-potato-slips.html

Anyone tried growing them in a polytunnel?

 





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