Allotment Gardening Advice Help Chat

Growing => Growing FAQs and other Information => Topic started by: Trillium on January 14, 2011, 16:11

Title: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: Trillium on January 14, 2011, 16:11
Yep, it's time to start your sweet potato tubers in water so your sprouts are sizeable enough for growing this summer.

I check my tuber for 'eyes' and whichever end has the most will be the top bit. The other half will have 3 strong picks stuck in halfway around the tuber so it sits suspended in a jar of water and placed somewhere sunny.

I start mine now because it often takes a long time for the tuber sprouts to decide to show. Any that show up quickly are a bonus and can be pricked off and placed into a pot with slightly damp potting mix and grown on a bit. Tuber roots will always show first but aren't what you're after - you want the top sprouts. And always keep the jar water level topped up.

I noticed that many folk had skinny 'useless' tubers from last year's efforts. This means that they needed longer growing time in the soil to fill out, which for some folk, could mean an earlier start up time. I highly recommend that UK growers plant out their ready sprouts  early under cloches at the outdoor season start as sweet potatoes are decidedly heat lovers and will grow better for you for the next 4 months outside.

So, let the sprouting begin  :D
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: Jono on January 15, 2011, 11:18
Thanks Trillium.

Between me and my mum we grew these for the first time last year. The ones in the ground didn't come to much. I put a plastic sheeting around the plants, but I don't think I watered them enough.

Mum grew them in potato planters on her patio and hers were really good. Will be trying that again.

The plants themselves are really nice too.
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: Cazzy on January 15, 2011, 11:56
I'm going to have another go this year, my potato didn't sprout at all last year so I think i'll go for an organic potato this year to see if that makes any difference.

Let the trials begin :)
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: Trillium on January 15, 2011, 15:21
You hit the key, Jono - they prefer soft, loose soil so the pot was the best for them.

I grew mine in dedicated raised beds about 12" high and I got a very nice crop. Doubt I'd get the same in my clayish soil.
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: rainie on January 16, 2011, 19:32
I read the other thread on sweet potatoes (in a different section). Its great info  :D  and have learned so much, so thankyou. I went to a garden centre today but they haven't got any in yet.  ::) , so I will just have to keep looking. Or 'borrow one from a mates larder.  ;) :D
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: Trillium on January 16, 2011, 21:01
I confess, I use ones I buy at the shop. Otherwise, postage for me for one tuber almost gives me a stroke.
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: NorfolkVeg on January 21, 2011, 07:38
As a complete newbie, I understand some of what is said and then I have to try to convert the rest in layman's terms!! LOL

DO i take it you can use shop bought Sweet potatoes?
How do I get them to sprout - put them in water?
Potting mix is mentioned - what is that?
And finally, the bed, i want to make raised bed by the sounds of it, what is best to mix in with the soil to make a good raised bed.

We use around 2 shop bought bags of sweet potatoes every week in our house so I want to grow lots..ha ha

Thanks all



Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: Kristen on January 21, 2011, 08:21
Details of growing Sweet Potatoes here:

http://chat.allotment-garden.org/index.php?topic=50097.0

its a long read!

Apart from your love for them :) I'm not sure I would recommend this for a Newbie to try ...
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: DD. on January 21, 2011, 08:28

Apart from your love for them :) I'm not sure I would recommend this for a Newbie to try ...

Precisely what I said to the same poster on this thread:

http://chat.allotment-garden.org/index.php?topic=70209.msg802054#msg802054

We're not ganging up on you - honestly. Just that we genuinely feel you should get a bit of growing experience under your belt first.
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: Kristen on January 21, 2011, 08:36

Precisely what I said to the same poster on this thread:

Ah, I remember now. Long night of rescuing a lost database for a client ... :(
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: DD. on January 21, 2011, 08:41
Wasn't meant as a criticism, Kristen, just as a back up on your post.
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: Kristen on January 21, 2011, 09:30
Didn't take it that way. Disappointed at self. Old age, lack of sleep, not enough Wine, Women and Song ... the usual excuses!
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: DD. on January 21, 2011, 09:35
I slept well.

The others apply though.
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: aelf on February 04, 2011, 09:31
I'm in two minds about having a go this year. But I probably will  :)

Going to buy a tuber from the garden centre instead of the supermarket tho, see if that improves my chances  ::)
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: rubyrose on February 04, 2011, 22:10
i'll play to  if you will let me!    but as my son started 2 shop bought sweet potatoes off in jars in december (he could'nt wait till feb) and they each have one slip and more srouting i am way in front 
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: rainbow1 on February 04, 2011, 22:20
Started mine today. I have five jars containing three different types of tuber, one from the co-op and the two I grew last year (Beauregard Improved and T65) from bought slips. Here's hoping for shoots!
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: Trillium on February 05, 2011, 05:30
They will come, but if they were sprayed, they'll just be slower getting around to it.
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: kari on February 05, 2011, 06:36
I've just started one, but think I will pop out & try to find an organic one to try as well, will be interesting to compare the two.

I've  placed it on the warmest sunniest windowsill, do you think its worth using an empty 2 ltr plastic bottle with the bottom cut off & placed over the jar to keep the heat in?

We dont have an allotment, so am hoping they will grow ok in either a potato sack, or an upturned bag of compost
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: Kleftiwallah on February 05, 2011, 13:28
I'm perplexed!    :unsure:

It looks as though the potato I've got has a rott stub at each end !  I think I'll bung this one in the stew and look around down the greengrocers for one more recogniseable.    Cheers,   Tony.
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: Trillium on February 05, 2011, 15:45
I brought home a new one and someone (who shall remain nameless) at home promptly dropped it on one end. Mush. So I rushed out and bought another, this time making sure I was the only one to handle it  ::)

Sweet potatoes are very tough plants. I started 2 last year and took off many slips which I shared with friends. Then I forgot to water the tubers for months at a time. Completely forgot all winter and decided I'd best toss them, only to find several slips still green and growing. Tuber is quite shrunken so definitely it's last year, but amazing nonetheless.
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: noshed on February 05, 2011, 22:40
I've still got some on a window sill from last year
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: kari on February 07, 2011, 18:09
I wasnt able to find any organic sweet potatos, but I noticed today that my sweet potato has produced little roots under the water already, so looks like this one will be ok.   I wasnt expecting to see them so soon.

No sign of any slips yet, but wont expect them for a while, i'm just happy to know I had put the potato the right way up  ???
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: Trillium on February 07, 2011, 22:00
In all honesty, I'm not sure you'll notice a difference in how it sprouts or grows as organic versus non organic, but you'll definitely notice in the taste of whatever you do grow.
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: sarah f on February 09, 2011, 09:10
ive read this  and  ive been tempted to try sweet potatoes, just one thing though  if the chickens  have a go at the leaves will they poison them :blink:
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: Trillium on February 09, 2011, 20:52
Here's a toxic list for poultry. It's a bit hard to read, but yes, sweet potato plants are toxic to poultry. If possible, grow the plant where the birds can't access it.


http://www.poultryhelp.com/toxicplants.html
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: Trikidiki on February 10, 2011, 15:32
In all honesty, I'm not sure you'll notice a difference in how it sprouts or grows as organic versus non organic, but you'll definitely notice in the taste of whatever you do grow.

Surely its how its grown will determine how it tastes, not whether it comes from an organic parent tuber or not.
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: Trillium on February 10, 2011, 17:17
 :D That's what I was actually trying to say but didn't quite manage. There might be some small added bonuses in organic seed/tubers regarding resistance and such, but the end flavour definitely depends on how your plant is fed and cared for by you.

If I was to taste two organically grown carrots, one from organically grown seed and one from chemically raised seed, I honestly don't believe I could tell the difference.

However, if I'm given one organic carrot and one chemically raised carrot to try (without knowing which is which) I can tell the difference 99% of the time.

Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: sarah f on February 11, 2011, 17:02
thankyou trillium
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: dig4victory on February 14, 2011, 12:41
A very helpful thread!

We were going to send off for some tubers, but if I read right, can you start off using ones from supermarket?

...and how do you get 'slips' from them, do you slice off sections?

if anyone can be bothered to type up a really simple 1,2,3 style process that would be marv.

Thank'ee
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: mumofstig on February 14, 2011, 12:51
Have a look at the links on last years thread

http://chat.allotment-garden.org/index.php?topic=50097.msg592948#msg592948
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: dig4victory on February 14, 2011, 12:52
Sorry, many thanks  ;)
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: dig4victory on February 15, 2011, 17:22
Thanks mumofstig, I read last years thread and am encouraged!  If we started now with the spud suspended in water, would we have enough time to get going with hopefully a crop?
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: Trillium on February 15, 2011, 18:37
I'd say you have a good chance if the tuber is started now. It does take a bit of time for the bottom roots to first show up, which is then followed by the top shoots which you'll eventually pinch off and pot up, ready for planting out when warmer. It all takes time.
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: JayG on February 15, 2011, 18:48
I have no idea why I've decided to give sweet potatoes a go because I'm not sure I've eaten them more than once and can't actually remember whether I actually liked them!

I have however invested a whole 50p in a decently sized mum-to-be from Tescos and a week later it now has roots.  :)

I'm obviously not in a position to offer any advice but I did soak the tuber in a bucket of cold water for 24 hours hoping that would remove any anti-sprouting chemicals it may have been sprayed with.

So far, so good!   ;)
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: mumofstig on February 15, 2011, 18:51
that's funny Jay, as I've put an extra one on my delivery for tomorrow  ;)

I resisted last year but just ran out of willpower  :lol:
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: JayG on February 15, 2011, 18:54
that's funny Jay, as I've put an extra one on my delivery for tomorrow  ;)

I resisted last year but just ran out of willpower  :lol:

You obviously like them Mum; that's good enough for me!  :)
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: JayG on February 19, 2011, 12:58
Roots after 1 week, another week later about 8 tiny purple chits showing (not sure whether that's a good thing or a bad thing given that it's only just stopped snowing today!)  :nowink:
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: Trillium on February 19, 2011, 17:09
Purple chits is good - those are your future slips (plants)
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: rainie on February 20, 2011, 18:25
Would you be able show us your work so far please. It would help me know what I'm looking for.
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: JayG on February 20, 2011, 21:52
Would you be able show us your work so far please. It would help me know what I'm looking for.

I'll post a picture tomorrow; it'll either be entitled "Beginner's luck" or "Beginner's totally misplaced optimism", probably depending on what Trillium says when she's seen it!  :lol:
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: sarah-king on February 20, 2011, 22:57
mine is just getting tiny roots (Been suspended in water over 3 weeks now)
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: JayG on February 21, 2011, 15:37
OK, here's what my sweet potato looks like today (obviously taken out of its water-bath and standing proudly and unaided on its cocktail-stick tripod looking like a vegetarian moon-landing probe!)

(Oi! I already warned you the chits were tiny!!  :tongue2:  :tongue2:)
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: Trillium on February 21, 2011, 17:40
It's looking good, Jay. Those chits will need a month of more to get to a decent size but they're on their way. What you want as a 'slip' is about 2-3" of leafy stem.
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: rubyrose on February 23, 2011, 09:52
hi this was started in december
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: dig4victory on February 24, 2011, 09:46
I'm doing my pots today but - JayG has the pointy end upwards and on  this site the guy has the pointy end down in the water - does it matter?  does it depend on how many nodes are around each end?

http://grandbobsgarden.blogspot.com/2009/05/how-to-grow-beautiful-sweet-potato-vine.html

Thanks again  ;) ;)
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: JayG on February 24, 2011, 10:04
Good question! I think I put it that way up because there seemed to be more "eyes" at that end and also because I thought the scar at the pointy end might be a weak point which could lead to rotting if under water.

Don't know what I'm doing, of course, but the sweet potato doesn't seem to have noticed!  (I've not had any nosebleeds either so must be doing something right!)  ::)
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: Trillium on February 24, 2011, 15:35
Actually it doesn't really matter which end is up or down. In the huge commercial slip fields, the whole potato is buried shallowly, watered regularly then checked regularly for slip growth popping through the surface. When there's adequate growth, everything is carefully dug up, slips removed and planted out.

For homegrowers, the bottle/cup of water idea works the best as it gives the potato needed water to induce growth. And there's no real up or down - sprouts will form anywhere. but if the idea still bothers you, have the end where it seems to have been attached to the original plant pointing upward.

The one thing you do want to avoid is setting a damaged end into water as this will only rot.
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: gillian62 on February 24, 2011, 18:12
Hi,
I'm joining in, hope that is ok.
Have 1 tuber left at the moment so have put in the cocktail sticks and stuck it in a pot on the kitchen windowsill. 

Fingers crossed, as I love sweet potato.
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: Trillium on February 25, 2011, 01:29
Everyone is welcome to join.
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: PLecostrum on March 03, 2011, 18:28
Found this by accident lol I thought you put them in brown paper bags tO chit lol

Well that's where mne have been since last summer lolol forgot

One has purple chits

2 still rock hard

1 is like a prune lolol

I'm going to try them in water

But when they have lots of chits plants on top how long before planting out?
Do I plant whole thing?
Removing mini plants ?
Do you plant visible or under soil?
Info with pics be helpful
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: Trillium on March 03, 2011, 22:14
As mentioned earlier, you wait until the 'chits' are at least 3-6" long. When you're ready to pot up, which is advisable over planting out just yet, you simply gently twist off the sprout at the tuber and set it in moist (not soggy) potting mix just enough so that it stays in place. Place in sunny spot, preferably in a warm part of the house, and keep it lightly watered.
I've used slips as small as 2" but they take longer to catch up. The purple chits will soon turn into green stems. The method in the pic below is exactly how I start mine.

within a month you should have a nice root system going. When the weather is frost free and warm, plant out. It will need at least 4 months of warm weather (use cloches or mini hoophouses in UK) to mature the roots to useful size. If you harvest earlier than this, you'll have skinny, immature roots.

In this link (sorry, I'm a nerd with pics online), the 2nd pic shows the slips (stems) ready to get twisted off. It appears that you're just taking a stem off with no support system, but trust, me if you keep them warm and watered, they'll put out their own roots.
http://forums2.gardenweb.com/forums/load/cornucop/msg0515540018297.html

the roots of the actual tuber are of no use. 
Planting the whole tuber will yield nothing. These are totally unlike regular potatoes regardless of appearance.
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: Snoop on March 04, 2011, 13:34
Thanks for the link, Trillium. I was wondering about how you remove the slips from the parent plant. I was also interested to note someone in that thread talks about getting six sweet potatoes per slip. I guess a bit depends on soil quality and watering, but is that about what you get?

I'm way behind, but managed to find some sweet potatoes in a little shop near me and am keen to give it a go. We get scorching temperatures in summer, so that might help to speed them along.

Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: Trillium on March 05, 2011, 00:37
If your soil is loose, full of humus for those hungry feeders, and gets occasional waterings, you should get more than that. Most sweet potatoes in North America are grown in Louisiana which is stinking hot in summer and so humid you can lick the air. I was there in July and thought I'd die after 5 minutes in 105F temps and 80% humidity. I quickly ran back into the a/c hotel. I suspect Spain can be like that so you should do well.
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: Snoop on March 07, 2011, 17:10
Thanks Trillium. We get several weeks in July and August when daytime temps are around 112F in the shade (44C), but nights are around 62F (17C). Humidity in my part of Spain is very low... Maybe I'd have to water more.
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: alibean on March 14, 2011, 20:15
A  late entry - started mine off yesterday - ever the optimist!  If it all goes wrong I have wasted 21 new pence  ;)
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: Bing on March 18, 2011, 18:30
I managed to get one sweet potato sprout in a glass cup, the purple stem/leaf is tiny, wondering when will I be able to plant it out in my lotty? what care it needs to survive?
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: Trillium on March 19, 2011, 18:56
For now, just let it grow on until its about 3", then you get to twist it off at the sprout and pot up the stem in some good, slightly moist compost and let that start rooting. For UK growing, I'd highly recommend a cloche or small hoophouse for summer growing as  sweet potatoes need very warm temps for about 4 months. In the meantime you can prep their growing area so it's rich and crumbly then cover with plastic to keep in warmth.
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: johnfh on March 23, 2011, 00:08
Some great info here Trillium. I currently have 3 tubers suspended in water and am hoping to get a crop  in the green house this year. Much of  the article talks about slips, does this involve taking a slice of the tuber together with the shoot or is it Ok just to twist the shoot off and put it in moist loose compost which you seem to suggest? I presume the sweet potatoes are formed underground in the compost as conventional potatoes are.  Is this correct or do they form on a vine above ground.  See how clueless I am but looking forward to the experience.
Thanks for all your advice and patience.
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: Trillium on March 27, 2011, 00:52
Sorry I didn't reply earlier. There's no need to take any of the tuber with the stem, just hold your fingers at the very bottom and carefully twist the stem off right at the tuber itself and immediately stick into the moist (not soggy) compost. Some people prefer to put the stem into water for new roots but I find the compost works better and doesn't get forgotten and rot.

Although it's called a sweet potato, it really isn't the same as our regular potatoes, hence the unusual method of propagating it. That's what fools most people.

A greenhouse is a great idea, and yes, the top growth is more vine like but doesn't need to be trellised, It prefers to act as its own groundcover to keep the soil cooler. Now how at odds is that? But without top heat, they'll sulk.

Yes, the new tubers will grow under ground and at first look like long worms attached to the root shoot. They really will need about 4 full months for the 'worms' to fill out and become 'potatoes'. Which is why in the UK a protected growing area is the best idea.
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: rainie on March 27, 2011, 20:28
Hi Trillium, wonderful advice you give.

At last I have found some time to give my sweetpotatoes some tlc. One chit is now 7" and  another is 2". I have taken some pictures and will get them on here one day. My overdue 7" will be potted tomorrow, and will probably do the 2" as well. Do you think the 7" chit will be a bit leggy or anything as it is twice what it should be?
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: johnfh on March 27, 2011, 20:29
Many thanks Trillium - you are a star!    :) :) :) :)
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: Trillium on March 27, 2011, 22:05
Rainie, the 7" stem is fine. It'll seem a bit leggy for a while but will soon split and bulk up.

For everyone ready to set them outside when it's warmer - do be sure to slowly harden them off as you would anything else, but try to keep them sheltered and warm rather than in open cold as you do so. I wouldn't recommend hardening them under a cloche as those can get hot unless you're ventilating at the same time.
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: dig4victory on March 30, 2011, 09:42
Ah-oh! :(   Nothing doing in the sprout region of my potties yet but I have noticed a green growth on the bottom of the jar - do you think I should dump this spud?

Does anyone change the growing water at any time?

My jars are on the kitchen windowsill.

Thanks  :)
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: Trillium on March 30, 2011, 23:38
I haven't changed my potato water at all, mostly because much of it evaporates and I need to top up. Rooty bits at the bottom is a good sign that you'll soon see sprouts. If it looks more like green slime, then carefully rinse everything off and keep trying. Wouldn't hurt to try another potato. If Jay can get sprouts in 3 weeks...... :tongue2:
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: JayG on March 31, 2011, 09:32
If Jay can get sprouts in 3 weeks...... :tongue2:

They've come on quite well since I last showed you my tiny chits! The two on the left have been potted up for about a week and are hopefully rooting, "mummy" potato is on the right.

I'm planning on growing 1 per old compost bag (black side out to absorb more heat?) filled with a spent compost/growmore mix to about 18-24" and placed against the south-facing wall of my house in late May/early June .

(Trillium: it's a plan, but is it a good one in your opinion?)  :unsure:
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: dig4victory on March 31, 2011, 16:38
Thanks, I'll rinse off and try with fresh water again.

My pots have a covering of white, very fluffy looking rooty bits(?) where they are under the water.  I'll keep looking for any sprouts.

P'raps my pots are extra stubborn  :D
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: JayG on March 31, 2011, 17:48
Thanks, I'll rinse off and try with fresh water again.

My pots have a covering of white, very fluffy looking rooty bits(?) where they are under the water.  I'll keep looking for any sprouts.

P'raps my pots are extra stubborn  :D


I had heard that supermarket tubers might have been treated with an anti-sprouting chemical so I soaked mine overnight in a bucket of water first (not claiming it will work but it might be worth a try!)  :)
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: rainie on April 05, 2011, 17:45
Just a quickie to mention the plant i have potted up in new compost. It has tiny beads on it, not clear, not white, opaque maybe? They look like the size of grains of sugar but oval in shape, each separate from each other. On stem and leaves, underside and topside. Same on a chit still attched to the potato. Are these dreaded whitefly eggs or something? I can take a photo but unsure when i will have time to post it.
Compost is shop bought this year, came from the gh but nothing in there has these'attachments'.

 :( Didnt know how much i had grown to love my sweet potato chits. dont want them to be poorly.


modified to add... have been on google, found greenhouse whitefly. As my leaves have the shiny surface too,i think i need to rid the plants of the whitefly. Shall i get ayellow sticky thing from the shed and put it near the plants on the window sill? Shall i wash the plants with mild soapy water?

On a good note (i think) i have roots growing from where the leaf joins the stem. Do i allow these to grow down into the soil?
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: JayG on April 07, 2011, 19:17
Has anyone planted out their rooted chits/shoots into their final growing location yet?

The reason I'm asking is that my plants (reply #64 in this thread) have rooted so quickly they are now showing signs of becoming root-bound in their 5" pots and look like they are about to take off across the kitchen (slightly scary!)  :ohmy:

Remembering Trillium's very helpful threads over the last year or so I think it is way too early to put them outside although I do have a (cold) greenhouse..................... :unsure:
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: Kristen on April 12, 2011, 08:36
Am I too late?

I only put mine half-in beakers of water about 3 weeks ago, maybe 4. I still have no roots, but today I can see some tiny chits

I expect mine were sprayed with "Don't Sprout" at the Supermarket :( Probably should have soaked in a bucket of water for a couple of days
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: JayG on April 12, 2011, 10:05
Am I too late?

I only put mine half-in beakers of water about 3 weeks ago, maybe 4. I still have no roots, but today I can see some tiny chits

I expect mine were sprayed with "Don't Sprout" at the Supermarket :( Probably should have soaked in a bucket of water for a couple of days

If yours grow at the rate that mine did I think your timing could turn out to be better than mine (don't really want to clutter up the greenhouse with them but from what I gather it's still way too early to risk them outside, even in a very sheltered spot.)
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: mumofstig on April 12, 2011, 10:28
I expect mine were sprayed with "Don't Sprout" at the Supermarket :( Probably should have soaked in a bucket of water for a couple of days

I did that and mine just went mouldy...........next year I'll try to find organic ones!
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: Trillium on April 12, 2011, 16:13
If your sprouts are outgrowing your pot, Jay, then repot into larger pots as it really is still too iffy to plant outside. And a cool greenhouse will only slow them down. Remember, these are not related to our regular potatoes.

If you plan to use grow bags, make them as large as you can because the roots do need a lot of space, not to mention the large top growth to shade the root area. Unlike squashes, you don't want to trim any sweet potato top growth.

As for no-sprout, my new tubers this year still haven't done a thing after a month and a half so I'm glad I still have the tubers going from last year and I'll snap off those. At times sweet potatoes can be a real trial  :(

For those who still don't have any roots at the bottom of their potatoes, change the water from time to time and carefully rinse the potato bottom. You'll usually see chits after the bottom roots appear, and if your potatoes are slow, then these might be your sprouts for next year. Some mail order places will offer sprouts ready to go so it's another option if you're keen to grow them this year and have no luck with your own.
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: SusieB on April 14, 2011, 17:19
B and Q have pot grown Beauregard plants; they are much more advanced than the mail-order ones I have had previously.

My sweet potato has been in water since january and is only now showing a few roots.  I reckon any sprouts will be too late to have a good long growing season.  I was pleased to see the b and q ones, but they are not cheap at 2.98 each. 

Can I take a cutting (or 2) from this plant, or would it be better to bite the money bullet and pay for a couple more??

And, can anyone tell me how many plants to a normal size grow bag?  Or is it better to plant in a pot?  I want to grow it/them in my greenhouse, and the soil in the ground is very poor.

Many thanks for any advice.

Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: Trillium on April 14, 2011, 20:39
The tuber I started this year is dead slow at starting up as well so you're not the only one.

I'm not sure what you want to take a cutting from. Unless there are actual sprouts, there is nothing you can propagate.

When we do take off sprouts, its usual to start them in pots as this will help start them off early. Once they're a reasonable size, they can either be put into grow bags, one plant per bag, or into really large pots, one per pot. The resulting tubers from each plant can be quite numerous if they get the right conditions: good soil, lots of sun, regular watering, and 4 months of warmth. Inside a greenhouse or hoophouse/cloche will help a lot. What many people don't realize is that the top growth is also quite massive and shouldn't be trimmed back.
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: SusieB on April 14, 2011, 21:23
Sorry, my very unclear post.  I have bought a very healthy sweet potato plant from b and q and  I was thinking of taking cuttings from it.  As you tell me I only need one for a grow bag, I think I will  stick with the one this year and expand next year if I am successful.

I can recommend b and q sweet potato plants to anybody who hasn't managed to sprout their own.  Mine is (as I said) quite big and very healthy (though I know plant quality varies at different b and qs).  They are 2.98, which might be a problem if you want more than a couple.
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: Carollan on April 25, 2011, 13:31
one sweet potato to try,have it suspended on the jar of water on a warm windowsill......all I have is a good root system,not one sprout on top.... :(
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: Trillium on April 25, 2011, 16:20
The root system means the sprouts will soon come. Be patient.
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: Bing on April 25, 2011, 16:45
one sweet potato to try,have it suspended on the jar of water on a warm windowsill......all I have is a good root system,not one sprout on top.... :(

I remember an old post was saying you need to put the whole sweet potato in water for a day before suspending it on a jar, this is because some sweet potato in shop was treated with 'anti-sprout chemicals' before they were put on sale.

maybe you can drown it for a day then change water and see what happens.
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: JayG on April 25, 2011, 20:05
I remember an old post was saying you need to put the whole sweet potato in water for a day before suspending it on a jar, this is because some sweet potato in shop was treated with 'anti-sprout chemicals' before they were put on sale.

maybe you can drown it for a day then change water and see what happens.

It worked for me but that doesn't mean it would work for everyone (or even that you have to do it.)  :wub:

If you've got roots I'm sure your tuber will deliver the shoots sooner rather than later.   :)

Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: dig4victory on April 28, 2011, 12:21
one sweet potato to try,have it suspended on the jar of water on a warm windowsill......all I have is a good root system,not one sprout on top.... :(

Don't worry!  I put mine in pots on the windowsill weeks and weeks ago then I was literally just washing up and glanced at them and two of them have some sprouts!!! woohoo  ;)
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: SusieB on April 29, 2011, 09:19
Mine is just developing a sprout, but I have a feeling it is too late, they won't have a long enough season to develop into tubers.  I also have a shop bought plant that is at least 6 weeks in advance of my sprout, so I will try them both.
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: mumofstig on May 08, 2011, 15:02
I heaved a half barrel into the greenhouse and filled it with a 60L 'grow veg' compost and a bit of soil, and mixed in some BFB.

How many rooted slips can I plant in it? ............(I have 3, thanks Jay :) )
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: Trillium on May 09, 2011, 02:54
2 would be enough but as you have 3, you could always try all 3.
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: Thephoenix572 on May 13, 2011, 20:52
I bought five plants from ebay and was considering planting two in a greenhouse and three through black plastic under a poly tunnel. What do you good people think?
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: Trillium on May 14, 2011, 15:59
The protection is a very good idea in the UK. Sweet potatoes really do need lots of warmth to grow well, and over 4 months, so greenhouse and polytunnel should do well for you.
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: Thephoenix572 on May 15, 2011, 10:29
Thanks for your support. I'd post pics of the plants from my ipod but can't work out how to do it  :wacko:   
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: Thephoenix572 on May 18, 2011, 11:10
These are my sweet potato plants which I'm going to plant next week
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: Thephoenix572 on May 24, 2011, 15:58
I planted three sweet potato plants through black plastic and under a poly tunnel hoping that they flourish
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: dig4victory on May 26, 2011, 11:37
My sweet potties are all producing really strong shoots no and strong roots (they are still in the water).  As it's half term next week, I will get on and pot them up.

What I am going to do is cut a little chunk out of the pottie around the base of the sprout and plant that up, I just don't like the idea of twisting off and pulling out the sprout as done on one youtube vid I watched...

I maybe late but am going to give it a go anyway and it'll be good practice for next year if it's a no-go this time.
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: Trillium on May 26, 2011, 20:08
I've done it both ways, taken a bit of tatty off with the stem as well as twisted off the stem. The point of the latter is to get it twisted off right at the tatty itself and surprisingly, it will grow if popped directly into compost.
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: prikay on May 26, 2011, 22:30
Having read this thread, I started my sweet potato in a jar of water in March. So far it has only put out 1 shoot about 3cm long and has two tiny purple leaves but seems to have stopped growing. I can't see any white roots as people have described.
Don't know if I should give up and try again next year or take a chance and plant up whats there? 
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: Trillium on May 26, 2011, 23:39
Normally you get the white rootlets in the water first, but it isn't mandatory. If you have a small stem, you could twist it off and stick it right into damp compost. Let the potato keep going and it'll definitely be ready for next year (honestly!)
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: Thephoenix572 on May 29, 2011, 20:39
I planted my last two plants in the greenhouse today in the space the lettuce came out from
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: Thephoenix572 on June 02, 2011, 09:49
I planted a couple in my greenhouse last week and they are really thriving just wondered do you have to stake them at all or do they grow like normal potatoes? The three outside in the polytunnel are doung well but not as good as the greenhouse ones
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: Endymion on June 02, 2011, 12:09
I've been struggling to get a sweet potato to shoot. Even though it was washed to get rid of any treatment it might have had, it took nearly two months for any roots to appear and then almost another month for any shoots.

There are about half a dozen strong-looking shoots now. They look good, with long leaf stalks - but the stems are only about an inch and a half tall. Should I wait for them to grow a bit more or should I pop them into some compost to get them started?

It's a bit of an experiment, and they'll have to go outside because we haven't got a greenhouse.
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: Kristen on June 02, 2011, 17:22
Mine's the same, but I weakened half way through the chitting process (well ... I didn;t KNOW it was half way through at the time!!) and bought a "Beau Regard" 'coz I loved the name ... "Pretentious? Moi?" :D

I'll start earlier next year (or plant one of my own if I get that far). My Beau Regard is about 4' long now ...
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: Trillium on June 03, 2011, 21:17
You could pinch it off at the tatty right now and pot it, then when you're sure it has a few roots, plant it outside.
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: Endymion on June 03, 2011, 22:59
You could pinch it off at the tatty right now and pot it, then when you're sure it has a few roots, plant it outside.

Will that work with even tiny shoots?
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: Trillium on June 04, 2011, 16:50
If the shoots are at least 1-1/2" and have some leaves, you can pinch them off. They're eager to grow.
Title: How to plant Sweet Potatoes?
Post by: MichelleC on June 06, 2011, 11:29
I have 15 Sweet Potato slips to plant out. Can I put these into a potato bag and if so how many slips per bag? I believe they like to climb/trail so I'll install a wigwam on top of the bag. What about large tubs aswell? Any ideas?
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: JayG on June 06, 2011, 12:39
Trillium is the one with all the experience of growing sweet potatoes, but being Canadian she won't be on here until later.  8)

I can say from my (very) limited experience that they trail rather than climb, so I think wigwams would be a waste of time. I also suspect Trillium will suggest 2 plants per bag (possibly 3) but you will have to wait for her own actual reply.  :)
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: Endymion on June 06, 2011, 14:29
If the shoots are at least 1-1/2" and have some leaves, you can pinch them off. They're eager to grow.
Oooh, that's good news. :)

Now we're going to need some warm weather.
Title: Re: How to plant Sweet Potatoes?
Post by: Trillium on June 06, 2011, 22:06
I have 15 Sweet Potato slips to plant out. Can I put these into a potato bag and if so how many slips per bag? I believe they like to climb/trail so I'll install a wigwam on top of the bag. What about large tubs aswell? Any ideas?

Sweet potatoes don't climb because they need to regulate soil heat by acting as a self-mulch. You can use large tubs, but it depends on what your definition of 'big' is. If quite large, then 2 per tub. I'm not familiar with potato bags but I suspect only 1 per bag will work. You really shouldn't crowd them. Just let the tops crawl over the sides of the bags and wherever.
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: Endymion on June 09, 2011, 01:11
I've twisted off two of the shoots and put them into some damp compost with a lid on top. I'm presuming they'll wilt a bit and then perk up once they've grown some roots - or they'll die.

When (if) they go into the ground will they be okay under some plastic cloches, over a ridge of good mix of soil and shop bought compost beneath some weed membrane?

I'm hoping the combination of the plastic cloche and the black membrane will make it nice and warm for them.
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: Trillium on June 10, 2011, 03:21
Yes, that will work just fine.

And it's a big leap of faith to simply twist off those shoots, but they really will start to root.
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: dig4victory on June 17, 2011, 07:32
Last weekend we potted up our slips and they seem to have settled in just fine and look very healthy.

They are in huge pots and we didn't twist the shoot off, we cut a little chunk of potato off at the base of the shoot and planted that.  Plant the shoot to half way down the shoot length.
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: Thephoenix572 on June 25, 2011, 18:54
My ebay plants are doing excellently in both the greenhouse and poly tunnel. How are everyones elses doing?
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: rainie on June 26, 2011, 12:24
Hi,  :) mine are in the greenhouse in a tub about a foot and a half high and about 2ft round. 3 in the tub. One was planted the other two placed on the top in pots ready to plant. But I got busy and now they have grown roots throught he pots into the compost and the leaves look healthy and am keeping all compost moist. I have absolutely no idea whats going on under all the leaves. I want to cut away the 2 plastic pots but dont want to damage the root system. :wacko:

The original potato is still producing chits, and have passed quite a few established in pots to friends and neightbours.
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: Trillium on June 26, 2011, 17:32
Do try to cut away the pot with as little disturbance as possible otherwise you'll have the strangest shaped roots ever. I suggest you furtle around the pot area and only as far as the bottom of the pot, use strong scissors or wire cutters and snip as much as possible.
Title: Sweet Potatoes
Post by: campanologist on June 28, 2011, 14:21
How do sweet potatoes grow. I saw some in pots at the garden centre the other day and thought I would have a go. The growth is about 12'' at present on one single strand. Any advice would be appreciated.
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: mumofstig on June 28, 2011, 14:38
merged this new question, with the existing thread, to keep the Forum tidy :)
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: JayG on July 01, 2011, 11:50
This pic shows what were the 2 slips I planted into rolled-down compost bags sometime in early May (they were threatening to take over the kitchen!)

They then sulked for a few weeks and even lost one or two leaves (probably too cold) but have recovered now - a carpet of new stems and leaves covering the bags and a couple of shoots now wandering off to investigate the nearby tomatoes.  :)

They look healthy enough, but I've never grown them before and it's anyone's guess what is happening under the soil (the bit that really matters, although I think there's still quite a long way to go yet!)
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: Vit on July 01, 2011, 12:48
JayG, it is. You can multiply them as strawberry, setup few bags next to existing one  :D
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: JayG on July 01, 2011, 13:23
JayG, it is. You can multiply them as strawberry, setup few bags next to existing one  :D

Thanks for the suggestion Vit; think I'll "stick" where I am this year and see what happens (if I put another couple of bags in the greenhouse I wouldn't be able to get in!)  :)
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: Trillium on July 02, 2011, 03:28
Jay, you're right. You've still a wait ahead of you. Though the tops seem luxuriant, below you've just got skinny potatoes that resemble fingers, and these need another 2 months at least to fatten up.
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: rainie on July 02, 2011, 07:59
Hi all, my leaves look like JayG's too. What the best thing to feed them with. I put comfrey in my water for tomatoes, will this be sufficient?
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: Trillium on July 02, 2011, 19:37
Anything is fine to feed them with, they're not fussy. I didn't even feed mine last year, just put them in some well prepared soil mix.
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: Thephoenix572 on July 09, 2011, 11:52
When do sweet potatos get dug up?
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: mumofstig on July 09, 2011, 12:03
Have alook here........info from last years thread
http://chat.allotment-garden.org/index.php?topic=50097.msg736783#msg736783
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: Carollan on July 13, 2011, 22:09
I have 3 slips rooted and potted on.....is it too late to put them outside in bigger pots? they don`t seem to keen to grow very fast and the mummy sweet potato has rotted and died in the water ,should I have raised it so only the roots were in the water? :(
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: Trillium on July 14, 2011, 03:16
You could try planting it in a cold frame or greenhouse. Its a bit late to plant outside.

And yes, only half the sweet potato should be in water so the sprouts can shoot at the upper dry end. I've had one going for almost 2 years but it finally petered out.

Sometimes they root very slowly, like mine did, so this year I'll start one in December and perhaps I'll have shoots for April. Others, like Jay, get them sprouted right away  :tongue2: Perhaps its all the threats that do it  ;)
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: JayG on July 14, 2011, 10:17
You could try planting it in a cold frame or greenhouse. Its a bit late to plant outside.

And yes, only half the sweet potato should be in water so the sprouts can shoot at the upper dry end. I've had one going for almost 2 years but it finally petered out.

Sometimes they root very slowly, like mine did, so this year I'll start one in December and perhaps I'll have shoots for April. Others, like Jay, get them sprouted right away  :tongue2: Perhaps its all the threats that do it  ;)

The only thing I might have done differently was to soak the potato in a bucket of cold water for 24 hours in an attempt to remove any anti-sprouting chemicals it might have been sprayed with, but it seems that didn't work for some who tried it.

No secrets and no threats involved on this occasion (there aren't that many different ways of sticking cocktail sticks into a spud and suspending it in water!)

The potato had a "produce of Portugal" sticker on it if that's any help (I daresay there are many different varieties out there; maybe this just happened to be one of the easier ones.)
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: Thephoenix572 on August 03, 2011, 11:25
Something seems to be eating the leaves on my sweet potato plant from the root outwards.  What could it be and how to I get rid of them.  The sweet potato affected is in the greenhouse
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: Trillium on August 04, 2011, 21:15
No idea what pest is eating the leaves, but if you have any sulfur powder, dust it with that, or any sort of soapy water which is what I do. Check often for any pest return.
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: Thephoenix572 on August 05, 2011, 17:34
I'll try some soapy water. Thanks
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: Thephoenix572 on August 13, 2011, 14:16
Should sweet potatoes poke through the soil? One of mine is doing
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: Thephoenix572 on August 14, 2011, 11:18
Trillium can you help me. I can see sweet potatoes sticking through the soil in my greenhouse. Mine were started from plants, do I need to earth up?
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: Trillium on August 14, 2011, 16:33
There should be adequate leaf cover for them but since yours are showing, earth them up only enough to just cover the tubers. Light actually doesn't harm them, but pests might.
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: Thephoenix572 on August 14, 2011, 21:50
Many thanks Trillium
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: moam1 on August 22, 2011, 07:25
I START MY SWEET POTATOES IN MARCH.in a heated propagator with about half inch of water.i find they root well in about two weeks.try this its a good way to grow them
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: SusieB on August 29, 2011, 08:11
Moam1 - What do you start in a propagator in March?  An upturned sweet potato or some sort of slip? 

Early start does seem to be the key.  I bought well established plants from B and Q, which have worked well, but I want to avoid the cost next year.  I want to try and overwinter a slip or start really early like you are suggesting.
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: Trillium on August 30, 2011, 16:23
You could always start a sweet potato in water now, Susie.

Simply push in 3-4 toothpicks in a circle around 1/2 the potato, and let the toothpicks suspend one end of the potato in a jar of water. Place in sunny, draft-free window. Keep jar topped up with fresh water. By early spring you should have many nice, large slips ready to pinch off and pot up.
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: mumofstig on August 30, 2011, 17:08
Trillium, we are having nights hovering around 10C & 16/18C during the day  :( and it's not much warmer in the glasshouse where my plants are.
The leaves are beginniing to yellow and die back, is it harvest time already or will they still carry on growing in these low temps  :unsure:
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: moam1 on September 01, 2011, 07:26
SUSIEB .i cut my sweet potatoes in three or four bits place in heated prop with little water they root and start to grow very fast.i hope this helps susieb
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: Trillium on September 01, 2011, 19:12
Sadly, the plants can't continue to grow in low temps. I'd let the leaves finish dying off then harvest what's there.

Next year, you might consider making a portable cold frame with say clear plastic 'walls', then line it with the plastic bubble wrap for more insulation. I think that might extend your growing time a few more precious weeks. It's what I'd do.
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: mumofstig on September 01, 2011, 19:32
If I need to do that even inside the greenhouse  :ohmy: then I doubt I'll  be trying to grow them again :(

We'll see what's there when they've died back
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: Thephoenix572 on September 06, 2011, 19:59
When should I be digging up my sweet potatoes? I've already had to earth them up a couple of times and how are they stored?
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: Trillium on September 07, 2011, 02:53
I'm surprised you're earthing them up as they're not regular potatoes. On storage, here's some repeat info from an earlier posting on this thread.

This bit from Iowa State Univ. covers it better than I can:

Sweet potatoes should be harvested just before or after a vine killing frost. Dig roots carefully to avoid skinning or bruising the roots. Before storing cure the sweet potatoes to promote healing of wounds and improve flavor. Place the sweet potatoes in an area with a temperature of 80 to 85 F and high relative humidity for approximately 10 days. A high relative humidity can be provided by placing the roots in storage crates or boxes and covering them with paper or heavy cloth. Packing in perforated plastic bags will also keep humidity high. Roots can also be cured near a furnace for 2 to 3 weeks. Once cured, store roots in a dark location with temperatures of 55 to 60 F. Good storage results can be obtained by wrapping cured sweet potatoes in newspaper and storing them in a cool closet. Freezing or canning are other storage alternatives.

Note that it doesn't say anything about needing to cure in the sun, just high humidity. One no-no is to store them in cellars or outdoor sheds which are often too cool. Closets should work just fine.
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: fiano60 on September 11, 2011, 09:58
Hi everyone hope your crops turned out well or if not dug that they will be great.
Have been doing a lot of research into sweet potatos came across this post thought
 might ask a question or put my 2 pennies worth
Im going with organic to produce my slips only because im assuming they will have no growth inhibitor on them not allowed I would have thought.
I also discovered that you can cut the really long stems into 6 or 7in length and as long as you plant them the right way up in a pot with compost in
 Sorry to be long winded
                                                                ;)Fiona
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: JayG on September 11, 2011, 10:24
I'm still waiting for the forest of foliage to die back, which doesn't seem likely to happen anytime soon!

Will post a pic of the results (embarrassing or otherwise!)  :unsure:
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: Bing on September 22, 2011, 17:29
mine were under plastic sheet since early April digged two out and they were finger sized! not worth to try again
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: Thephoenix572 on September 23, 2011, 20:28
Thry grow really well in a greenhouse, I can see where the plant centre is, that it is riding up and sweet potatoes are poking through the surface
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: mumofstig on September 27, 2011, 20:12
As I said at the end of August my plants were dying back, so I tipped them out of the basket they were growing in.

I can't do a pic, cos I've lost the camera cable!  ::) but they weighed in at 4lb 3oz. from 2 plants.

3 were like decent sized jacket spuds (but not enormous ones  ) the rest are like skinny and knobbly like Pink Fir Apple spuds, so I'll probably cook those like wedges with a touch of spice
I think they needed a deeper container, though cos they were making roots out of the bottom of the basket, and better watering, as the compost was like dust at the bottom :(


Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: gillian62 on October 17, 2011, 11:23
My bought slips haven't come to anything this year.  Is there a way of preserving them - they only have very short length of leaves, probably 12" - so that I can use them for next years slip?
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: Trillium on October 17, 2011, 20:19
I haven't done it before myself, but I can't see why potting up the slips and keeping them in a cool but frost free place wouldn't work. Heat makes them grow, cool weather keeps them stagnant, so this should work. Just give a bit of water from time to time to keep up growth, but no fertilizers, manures, etc as you don't want to encourage growth right now.

And I can't stress enough that their resting place must be frost free.
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: gillian62 on October 18, 2011, 18:24
Thanks for the advice.  I've really nothing to lose so it's worth a go I think.
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: drizabone on October 19, 2011, 09:12
Great advice, I grew some this year as an experiment, bought as grown slips from Sutton's, put in a largish rubble sack June time, they had been growing fine until yesterday when it got cold enough to blacken the tips. I will pour them out this evening and report back on success or not.
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: JayG on October 19, 2011, 17:05
Decided today would be the day of reckoning for my sweet potatoes.  :unsure:

Total weight 5lb 12oz (about 2.6kg) from 2 slips grown using re-used multipurpose compost with added Growmore in 2 rolled-down compost bags.

A few of decent size, but none as large as the original potato, and most only about thumb thickness (quite a big thumb though!)  :tongue2:

Am I impressed? Dunno, never grown them before, although at a cost of 50p for the potato and next to nothing otherwise I can't be too disappointed!

What do they taste like? Ditto (I've clearly got to try and find a way of cooking them in their skins and I think Trillium has said something about maturing them first, although they might be a bit small for that!)

Thanks to Trillium for her efforts at trying to keep us all pointing in the right direction, although I think the jury is probably still out regarding whether I somehow wandered off in the wrong direction at some point!  :lol:
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: stompy on October 20, 2011, 08:32
It looks like a bowl of baby rabits.  :lol:  :lol:  ::)
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: Vit on October 20, 2011, 09:04
One night without playing tunes - wild pigs took best ones from one plot  >:( so had to dig out rest :tongue2:. Lucky, they started meal from the side, which i planted later. I want shotgun  >:(
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: drizabone on October 20, 2011, 15:05
Poured them out, three or four decent sized tubers (from five plants) and lots of finger diameter roots, so if August had been better who knows, won't bother again. Looks like a greenhouse plant to me.
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: MichelleC on October 20, 2011, 18:24
Not having any room in the greenhouse I decided to plant some bought slips into two potato bags and 1 large tub and two in the ground. Here's how they did. Lots and lots of foliage from the bags but just got lots of fingersize tubers. The tub which only had a scattering of foliage and produced not so typically sized tubers but quite fattish 4cm tubers so at least I can cook with these. The slips in the ground produced diddly squat. Not sure if I'll try again.
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: redhat on October 22, 2011, 01:07
Though I covered my sweet potatoes(some fleece, some in cloches) a few of them got blackened leaf edges in the frost on the 20th. Those plants with 20% damage I cut the leaves off. Will the tubers be affected or are they ok to grow on til all the foliage is frosted later on?
Title: Re: sweet potatoes 2011
Post by: Trillium on October 24, 2011, 21:18
The tubers are protected by the soil but if cold weather has settled in, then the tubers really won't grow much as they're tropical plants and need heat to fatten up.

You might want to try furtling (digging around without disturbing) around one area and see what you have...or haven't, then decide what to do.