Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Sweet Potato Slips; Simple Method

Potato about 3 weeks after starting
You are probably wondering why I am posting another Sweet potato slip post.  Well I wanted to better explain the steps in a simpler way, I learned a more surefire way to get them going. 
In effort's to save money I set out to start my own Sweet Potato Slips, I have had some mixed luck starting out. I now have narrowed down the best way to start your sweet potato slips for home garden use.  I had some troubles along the way leading me to this method.  I am still using a jar of water to get it started.  The first one I tried with this method had roots and slips starting in just 2 days!

Same Potato as above only "Eye" side sprouting

South Side window sill
Break off Slip, root in water and then plant
  1. Store bought sweet potato; no bruising or soft spots. (local varieties have done better for me)
  2. Cut sweet potato in half.
  3. Insert tooth picks to keep at least 1/2 above water.
  4. Put potato on top of jar and fill with water.
  5. Put in a sunny warm spot (I used an outside window sill on the south side of our house)
  6. Make sure water stays up in contact with potato (change out water every week or so)
  7. It will sprout roots and eventually slips.
  8. When slip is 4+ inches tall break it off at the potato and place in water.
  9. When small roots appear on slip.  Don't let the roots become too large to avoid transplant shock
  10. Water daily for the first week and regularly week 2 on.  After it is established it can handle some dry spells.

 It turns out that one end of the sweet potato has eye's that will produce slips.  On some of the sweet potatoes it was not obvious which end had the eyes, so cutting them in half ensures you are not dunking the wrong end in the water.  (I believe this was my error before with the Okinawan and garnet's in my first Sweet Potato Slips post).  My latest trial with the Garnet I still used a whole potato because, the eyes were pretty obvious. And I have small but reluctant roots starting.

After you harvest off your slips, put your potato back in the water, it will keep producing slips.  Keep it going until it gives up producing more. On my first one, I have already harvested off 8 slips and there are about 8 more under way, nearly ready to harvest off again.  I plan to share my extra slips with gardening friends.

The issues with grocery store sweet potatoes are: you don't always know the variety you are buying and some are treated to prevent sprouts (slips) from growing.  So it can be a gamble, one I have lost on a few.  I hope still to start slips on the Garnet (the darker colored one in the picture above), I just might have to buy slips next year for some other varieties like the Okinawan (purple) variety.

Sweet potato plant in the ground about 2 weeks.
Remember you can plant these in your "flower gardens" as an ornamental that will later give you some good food.  Most variety produce vine and create a very pretty ground cover.

Editorial note:  The "non eye" end did eventually sprout slips but after we had planted the slips off the other side, so don't throw it out. --Jacob

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your encouragement. I will try growing slips this spring! Appreciate you sharing this knowledge!