Starting Sweet Potato Slips, Part 2

Back in February, I wrote about how to start your own sweet potato slips for planting. You put your sweet potatoes in water. Et voila! They grow roots and shoots. Now what?

This little sweet potato has two shoots, this little potato has one, and the middle potato has none!

The next step is to gently break off the shoots with the roots from the sweet potato. Put the shoots in water and let them grow until you’re ready to plant. ¬†You can pot up the shoots and have a gorgeous sweet potato vine plant, or plant them in your garden when the soil is warm. If you have a long enough growing season you will get many sweet potatoes from each slip you plant.

Because I didn’t have a very bright or warm place to let my potatoes sprout, it took two months for them to start growing vines (this photo was taken back in April). Now even the sad potato on the toothpick is sporting sprouts. You can still start your own slips, you just may not get any or many sweet potatoes from the vines. If harvesting sweet potatoes is the goal, then at this late date you should purchase started slips from many online vendors.

Sweet potatoes like sandy soil and warm temperatures. Since we have sandy, sandy soil and hot summers, I’m looking forward to a good harvest come fall. Happy gardening!

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6 Responses to Starting Sweet Potato Slips, Part 2

  1. wooddogs3 says:

    Hi, it was a pleasure to meet you in person at the Local Food Festival yesterday. I want to throw in a plug for sweet potato greens; they’re a highly nutritious and tasty vegetable enjoyed in much of the world, and they take our summer heat in stride as long as they get water. I have an old blog post about them: http://wooddogs3.wordpress.com/2008/11/17/sweet-potatoes/
    I look forward to seeing your place at your open house.

  2. It was great to meet you too! Thanks for sharing about the sweet potatoes!

  3. I read your post and decided to try it myself! its been 2 weeks but I have to keep changing the water every day because the potato seems to be breakingdown, its a soft on the bottom and leaking a gooey substance and it gets cloudy, and bubbles form at the top of the water. Did i do something wrong?

  4. If the potato is “breaking down” and leaking a gooey substance, sounds like it’s rotting, which leads me to think that there may have been a wound on the potato that caused it to rot when you put it in the water. Toss that one and get a fresh potato that doesn’t have any nicks. If there are any wounds, make sure they’re well-cured/healed. Also, make sure your potato’s in a bright light (doesn’t have to be directly in the window, I’ve found that helps with the sprouting. (note, when you’re starting these in season, I will also just put a few in the ground. They sprout when they’re good & ready and then you can take sprouts from it and pot it up. Good luck!

  5. Deb says:

    I started one, just for the vine, and I only added water up to the bottom of the potato. It is doing great.

  6. Great! Aren’t they pretty vines!

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