Love sweet potatoes? Easily grow your own by starting sweet potato slips from that potato you have lying around!
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
I love sweet potatoes! Sweet or savory, sweet potatoes are packed full of vitamins C, A, niacin, potassium, and are high in fiber antioxidants. Sweet potatoes are rich in beta-carotene which gives them that beautiful orange color. Although both are considered root tubers, sweet potatoes belong to the morning glory family as opposed to regular potatoes which belong to the nightshade family.
Sweet potato vs white potato
Both types of potatoes grow in the ground but starting sweet potatoes is very different than starting a regular white potato. With a white potato, you simply take one that is sprouting, cut it in half, and plant each half with the sprouts in the ground. Sweet potatoes grow from a “slip”, which is a sprout off of the potato. Starting slips requires some actions on your part to get them started.
I don’t know if you have ever shopped for sweet potato slips in a garden or seed catalog, but they are pricey! This year, I have decided to try and grow my own. A big part of my self-sustaining journey is to rely less on purchasing garden seeds and plants and starting my own. Come along with me and let’s see how it’s done!
Types of sweet potato
There are many different types of sweet potatoes and come in colors of orange, purple, and white. Many times, they are labeled as yams in the grocery store, but very doubtful that they are in fact as such. I am starting with a sweet potato left over from last year’s Amish farmers market, but you can use a grocery store one. Just either purchase an organic potato or wash it thoroughly, as many times they are sprayed with a sprouting inhibitor.
How to sprout sweet potato slips
Growing sweet potatoes takes longer than my growing season (zone 5B-6a) fully allows. Therefore, sweet potato slips should be started around March or April indoors. Cut your sweet potato in half. Place toothpicks around the lower third of the potato to use as support for the cut side in water. Set the potato, cut side down, in water enough to cover the bottom and place in a warm sunny location.
Soon you will see slips growing from the upper end of the potato pieces and roots in the water.
Growing sweet potato slips
When your slips reach around 6 inches in length, remove them at the base where they are attached to the potato. Place the slip in a container with water covering the bottom.
Soon you will see roots forming on the slips. Continue to collect slips from your sweet potatoes and place them in water.
Planting sweet potato slips
Sweet potatoes do not tolerate cold weather. Plant your slips in the ground when the outdoor temperature does not fall below 50 degrees at night and the soil is thoroughly warm. I am going to try these potato grow bags this year. Plant the slip about halfway under the soil leaving the upper half exposed. Keep watered thoroughly. Sweet potatoes are ready to harvest when the foliage dies off.
Although my harvest was small, I dug up some really nice tubers from the grow bags. Of course, if you are looking to grow a huge crop you will need to have a dedicated amount of garden space for them. However, my three grow bags gave me enough of a harvest for several meals!
How was your sweet potato harvest? Let me know in the comments how your sweet potato slips are growing!