HOW TO GROW SWEET POTATOES (part one)

Hi there gals and pals.

Big "grow your own food" lady here.

So today I'm going to show you how I prep my potatoes for planting.

NOTE : sweet potatoes take more love than just throwing a sprouted potato in the ground like regular spuds are capable of.

But I promise it's worth it.

It doesn't take much work at all, just need to remember to get started in mid March. 😁


STEP 1 : BUY YOUR SWEET POTATOES

Now, in an ideal world, I would have saved some of my harvest from last year.

But, do you know how hard that is when you love sweet potatoes as much as I do? Plus, I didn't have the biggest harvest.

My goal is to change that this year.

So, if you've never planted sweet potatoes or you didn't save any from your harvest, I HIGHLY recommend getting them at Natural Grocers if you have one available to you.

#1 : I can fully trust that their produce is organic. Organic is SUPER DUPER important. When they are laced with chemicals and preservatives, it often keeps them from being able to sprout slips. & the slips are what we need, so make sure your product is truly organic wherever you obtain it from.

#2 : I like natural grocers because they always have a wide variety of sweet potatoes to pick from.

The potatoes I chose this year are:

  1. Stokes Purple Sweet Potato - these are purple on the outside and on the inside and are the most starchy of the sweet potato world; similar to a russet.

  2. Japanese Sweet Potato - these are purple (with a hit of red) skinned and the flesh is white. They are creamy dream when baked and my second favorite kind.

  3. Garnet Sweet Potato - these have a red (slightly purple) skin and are bright orange on the inside.

  4. Jersey Sweet Potato - these have a white (slightly golden) skin and are white fleshed. These and Hannah Sweet Potato are my north star. Hannah is a bit creamier than Jersey, but they both have the same beautiful, sweet, creamy flavor.



STEP 2 : PREPARE TO GROW SLIPS

Unlike regular spuds, you will need to produce an environment for your sweet potato to produce slips, which are then removed from the potato, placed in water to create roots and then transplanted to your garden. Sounds difficult, but I promise it isn't.

Quick timeline : Buy and start your potatoes in mid March. The slips will take about 6 weeks to grow. Then we need an additional 2 weeks for them to sprout roots. Plant date will be around mid May and harvest will be anywhere from mid September to end of October.

Let's hit it.

  1. PREPARE YOUR JARS : You need to make sure all of your potatoes will fit into glass jars. I love to use ball jars with the wide mouth lids, but use what you have laying around the house. Designate one jar for each potato.

  2. FIND THE ROOT END : *see video* This isn't totally necessary, but will allow more space for the roots to grow in the bottom of the jar and more surface area on the potato to sprout slips. & we want a lot of slips so we can plant a lot of potatoes.

  3. WASH YOUR POTATOES : Just use your hands. Nothing abrasive, you don't want to puncture the skin. This is just to make sure all the dirt is off to avoid getting the water dingy.

  4. APPLY TOOTHPICKS : *see video* Lift the potato about an inch off the bottom of the jar and puncture the potato on all four sides with a toothpick to keep lifted up off the jar. This will allow space for roots to grow.

  5. FILL JARS WITH WATER : Fill the jars to the top of the jar with water. Make sure at least 1/3 of the potato is not covered. Do not use chlorinated water; use filtered, well or spring. Once your roots and slips start growing, it will soak up the water quickly. Check it daily to make sure it is full. Do a full refresh of the water every 10-14 days.


👉🏼 MAKE SURE TO DO AT LEAST TWO OF EACH TYPE OF POTATO.

Being submerged in water can promote rot and if that happens, you won't have any slips to plant. Which would be a total bummer. It is rare, but err on the side of caution. It has happened to one potato (out of about 10) of mine in the last two years.



FULL YOUTUBE VIDEO 👇🏼



HAPPY SWEET POTATOING!!! 🍠

I will be back when it is time to remove the slips with the next "how-tos".

In the meantime if you have any questions, don't hesitate to reach out.

Also, the video is in format for Instagram. I apologize for the layout. If you are interested, I have created a guide on my instagram profile for all things sweet potato. A place you can reference next year when getting started. Check it out.


Thanks for being here.

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I love having you around.


xoxo

Kirsten ☀️







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