sweet potatoes 2011

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JayG

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Re: sweet potatoes 2011
« Reply #45 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!)  ::)
Sow your seeds, plant your plants. What's the difference? A couple of weeks or more when answering possible queries!

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Trillium

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Re: sweet potatoes 2011
« Reply #46 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.

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gillian62

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Re: sweet potatoes 2011
« Reply #47 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.

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Trillium

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Re: sweet potatoes 2011
« Reply #48 on: February 25, 2011, 01:29 »
Everyone is welcome to join.

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PLecostrum

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Re: sweet potatoes 2011
« Reply #49 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

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Trillium

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Re: sweet potatoes 2011
« Reply #50 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.

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Snoop

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Re: sweet potatoes 2011
« Reply #51 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.


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Trillium

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Re: sweet potatoes 2011
« Reply #52 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.

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Snoop

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Re: sweet potatoes 2011
« Reply #53 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.

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alibean

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Re: sweet potatoes 2011
« Reply #54 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  ;)

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Bing

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Re: sweet potatoes 2011
« Reply #55 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?
Rain at night, sunshine all day long!

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Trillium

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Re: sweet potatoes 2011
« Reply #56 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.

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johnfh

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Re: sweet potatoes 2011
« Reply #57 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.
John

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Trillium

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Re: sweet potatoes 2011
« Reply #58 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.

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rainie

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Re: sweet potatoes 2011
« Reply #59 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?
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