Sweet Potato Slips
Sweet potatoes are very easy to get growing in your garden. They are hearty, and pest resistant too. Sweet Potatoes prefer sandy soils, or soils with mulch and room to expand and place roots. They will grow in almost all soil types if given a little preparation. The growing season lasts about 130 days. You can start your own very easily.
How To Plant Sweet Potatoes
How to plant sweet potatoes? Very easy! Go to your local grocery store and find a handful of organic sweet potatoes. Organic sweet potatoes will give you a better chance of sprouting and producing sprouts. These tiny sprouts that begin to grow from the sweet potato are called sweet potato slips. To start you sweet potato slips simply place the sweet potato in a cool, dry area like a pantry or closet. When you see small slips starting then place the entire sweet potato in a jar of water. Place the end with no or the fewest sprouts into the water.
Planting Sweet Potatoes – Sweet Potato Slips
Allow several weeks for the sweet potato slips to grow enough to be ready to plant. Slips should be 4 to 6 inches long.That is the best length. Do not let them get too long before planting. If you do have longer slips, you can cut them into 4 to 6 inch long pieces and plant them. So timing is important. Make sure that you do not plant them until after the last frost. Best is to wait 3 weeks after the last frost of the season. Carefully take the sweet potato and use a knife or scissors to remove the “slips” or new sprouts from the sweet potato. You may want to cut the slips just below the surface of the sweet potato. Plant the clipped end into the ground and they will start to take root.
The soils should be prepared by digging or tilling the soil at least 9 to 12 inches deep. Sweet potaoes love compost in the soil as it allows the roots to travel easily. Place the sweet potato slips about 12 to 14 inches apart. Water often until you see that the slips are showing some growth. The moisture will help them with the transfer process and promote root growth. The leaves may fall of or brown but do not be alarmed. This may happen. They will be ok.
If you wish to get the sweet potato slips started indoors or in a greenhouse. You can place the slips into “six packs” or bedding plant flats. The roots will grow quickly in this warm and protected environment. And the plants will transfer well into your garden. While this may take more work on your part. The success rate is much higher.
Sweet Potato Plants – Water and Weed
Your sweet potato slips or plants will grow very slowly at first. But watch them to accelerate by mid summer. The sweet potato vines will go through a massive growth spurt and can take over a 6 to 8 foot area. That is why you need to keep your sweet potato slips spread apart when you are planting them. Are be aware of other plants nearby that can be overcome by the sweet potato vines.
Sweet Potato Vines and Pests
During the growth period of your sweet potato vines, you will want to keep an eye on the vines. Guiding and correcting them at times so that they have room to expand and grow. They can bunch up with no problems, but it is best to make sure the vines can get sunshine and water freely. Be sure to remove garden weeds regularly from the growing are until the vines form their own canopy over its personal growing and root area. This canopy will reduce the number of weeds that can grow under them.
Sweet potatoes are very disease and pest resistant. So you will likely need no herbicides or sprays at all. Sweet patotoes like water. So provide the sweet potato plants with at least 1 inch of water every week. More may be needed during hotter summer months.
Digging and Harvesting Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes in the groung are called tubers. Your sweet potatoes will be ready to harvest in about 110 to 130 days from the start. Dig up one or two at first and as you need them. The longer they grow in the ground, the better the vitamin content.
One sign that your sweet potatoes are ready is watch for the vine leaves to yellow. But do not wait too long. Frost will ruin your crop. The best way to save your harvested sweet potatoes is to place them in a cool dark place like a cellar or pantry. When harvesting, be sure to dig carefully so as not to cut or damage the tubers in the ground. After harvest, be sure to let the sweet potatoes dry in the sun for 3 to 5 hours before you begin to cure them. To cure sweet potatoes place the sweet potatoes in cool storage area for 7 to 10 days. This allows the moisture content to be reduced to about 60%. Best storage conditions are in dark place about 50 to 65 degrees.
There are endless sweet potato recipes to enjoy. Baked sweet potatoes are a great meal in themselves.
Here are a few great sweet potato recopies:
Sweet Potato Pie Recipe:
Directions for Sweet Potato Pie
- Boil the sweet potatoes with the skin on for 40 to 50 minutes. Then rinse the sweet potatoes in cold water, and the skin will remove easily.
- In a large bowl dice the sweet potato in to pieces, then add butter, and mix well. Now it is time to stir in the sugar, milk, eggs. Then mix in the nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla. Mix slowly until mixture is smooth. Pour the mixture into an unbaked pie crust.
- Bake the pie at 350 degrees F for 50 minutes plus or minus. To be sure the sweet potato pie is done, insert a knife into the center comes out clean. The sweet potato pie will puff a little like a souffle and then it will settle down as it cools.
Sweet Potato Pie Recipe makes 1 – 9 inch pie
1 pound of sweet potatoes
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup of white sugar
1/2 cup milk or cream
1/2 Teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 Teaspoon cinnamon
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 Pie crust in 9 inch pan. Buy or make from scratch