Thursday, April 14, 2011

Experimenting with growing Sweet Potato Slips

I have never grown sweet potatoes. Last year I wanted to buy some slips, but first the many varieties and growing needs gave me too many options, and my timing was off anyway.

Last week a friend gave me some sweet potatoes from NC that are not supposed to be stringy, so I decided to try and grow my own slips from some of them. I DO remember my grandma putting a sweet potato in a glass bottle on the windowsill, and it produced a lovely plant. However, I was too young to know if she was starting slips, or just a pretty indoor plant.

So I dinked around the internet for how to start my own slips and decided to go for it. Shown in the photo above is a shallow pan, and a seed starting mix with an equal amount of sand mixed with it. Optimally, I'd have a box outside like a cold frame, and some fresh manure in the bottom to generate heat. Since I do not, this is my best idea for a substitute. 

I read that sweet potatoes need temps above 80ºF to germinate... and I can't remember if any of my sweet potatoes ever grew roots when stored in the kitchen bin the way white potatoes and onions do. I think I might remember if they did. Of course many potatoes, including sweet potatoes, are treated against germination before they hit the grocery store shelves.

I covered the sweet potatoes (a deeper pan would have been better), wet the soil down thoroughly, and brought it into the house where I placed it on an electric seed starting heat mat, and covered the top with plastic wrap and a towel to contain the heat and moisture.

I have no idea whatsoever if this will work, but I will be sure to report any success or failure!


  1. Darius,
    Good luck with your sweet potatoes. I've never heard of starting them in soil, so I'm curious to see how they turn out for you. I just posted about the ones that I started about a month ago.

  2. Thanks, Mike. Makes me think of my grandmother and her SP vine(s) in the window!


I'd love to hear what you think about my posts! We all learn together.