Sweet Potato Fun

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In October we harvested sweet potatoes that we grew in a pot on the patio. The plant was started from an organic sweet potato that sprouted in the pantry around February.

The sweet potato plant wilted with the first frost in mid-October so we decided it was time to harvest. The kids turned the pot over onto a tarp so they could search for the tuberous roots. There were so many roots cramped into that tiny pot that it completely held together even after attempts to smash it up.

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Of course if a person wants to grow a lot of sweet potatoes, they should not plant them in a small pot like this!  I had used up all my big pots (and potting soil) on tomato plants and this was the next biggest pot available. The foliage grew quickly and looked very pretty. It was a good conversation starter about sweet potato leaves being edible as well as a lesson in patience for the kids.

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The pot was not very big, and the patio is not very sunny, so the yield of food was small–but the yield in terms of having a fun activity for the kids was pretty high!  We ate the smaller ones cut up in a soup that night. It was really cool for the kids to see food that they found in soil turn into part of dinner minutes later.

My son wanted to eat the biggest one, but I thought it would be better to use it to grow some more sweet potatoes. A couple of weeks later, I took that big one and set it in a glass container with a little water. I kept watering it and by the end of December we had several sprouts coming up from it and a mass of roots.

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I gently pulled off the two biggest of the sprouts, called “slips” and discovered that all those roots came from the two of them and one smaller one on the other end, and they were all hopelessly intertwined. The lesson here is not to wait so long. But hey, it was the holidays and we were busy, so the sweet potato had to wait.

IMG_1853These roots are getting serious about growing, so I brought one of my big 10 gallon planters indoors for them. I’ll keep them growing until Spring and move them outdoors until next Fall.

IMG_1854There was a lot of rain water accumulated in the planter and I had to remove the”self-watering” attachment at the bottom to drain a lot of it out before moving it indoors. Quite a bit more dripped out into my drip tray (repurposed lid of a plastic storage bin).

I have concerns about whether the sweet potato plants will get enough sunlight indoors to survive until then, since we started them more than a two to three months earlier than normal. They have been in the planter since Dec. 28th and have grown several more leaves already. I’ll let you know how it turns out!

Who else is growing sweet potatoes in pots? Any luck?

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2 thoughts on “Sweet Potato Fun

  1. Sweet story! Congratulations!

    I switched from growing several varieties of regular potatoes to growing Beauregard sweet potatoes when a series of heat waves hit Southern Maryland a few years ago.

    I learned to put a sweet potato upright in a glass of water in the fall to produce slips, then break off the tallest ones, and put those in a different glass of water to grow the roots. The slips kept coming up from the potato, and I had to start a third and fourth glass of water for the root growing!

    In spring I transplanted all the slips into green grow bags which I interspersed in the sunny front flower garden. Unlike the regular potatoes, the sweets loved the heat & humidity and took off! Our front garden was lush and green with the vines spilling over the sides and spreading everywhere. It really is a great groundcover. We saiteed a lot of leaves over the summer. And what a great harvest in the fall!

    But when I tried it in 2014 & 2015 my harvest was less impressive. I think they need the heat waves. I will plant them again in 2016 but just in case it is another cool summer, I will include seed potatoes in some grow bags.

    Like

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