Summer is fast approaching (in Florida, anyway) which means it’s time to get your slips in the ground and growing. They require a long growing season and they require warmth. But they don’t grow from seed potatoes, rather the “slips” created from your sweet potatoes. How does one create a sweet potato slip?
The technique is easy. You simply cut your sweet potato in half, perch it upon the mouth of a jar or glass (suspended by toothpicks works well) submerging the bottom half in water. Voila!
Place in a sunny location and keep the water level high enough so the bottom half remains wet and watch your potato sprout.
After a while — times vary, but you can expect to wait days, even weeks in some cases — shoots will form on the top of your potato. You can gently remove these and place them in water, again half-submersed, and roots will develop.
When they reach a couple of inches, you simply transplant them to your garden and water them in.
Sweet potatoes like loose sandy soil and don’t need a lot of fertilizer or water, which makes them especially kind to the novice Florida gardener, such as myself. You can amend the soil with some compost to add nutrients, but don’t worry if you can’t. These girls are pretty hardy.
Depending on the variety, potatoes can be harvested from 100 – 140 days. I planted my first crop last June and began harvesting in October but continued through December. They don’t like the cold, so we cleared the remainder out and collected them for storage before the temps dipped too low.
Good thing we did. Florida was quite nippy this last season!
As with any tender transplant, take care with your new rootings and they will grow fast and furious. Wonderful news, because sweet potatoes are not only easy to grow, but they’re as healthy as it gets. Roasted, mashed, baked or broiled, these babies will keep you healthy and happy and hoppin’ ready for a new crop come fall!