Sunday, May 1, 2011

The OH SO Sustainable Sweet Potato!

Have you ever grown sweet potatoes in your veggie garden?
Do you have any idea how wonderfully EASY they are??
My first crop were grown from slips that I ordered from a well known plant company, online.  The slips (or starts) I received were pale and spindily, but took off just fine, once thier little roots hit soil.  I had a lovely crop of full sized sweet potatoes at the end of the Summer.  Sweet potatoes do like to burrow far and deep, so it can be hard to find them all, come harvest time.  My solution is to plant them in bins, which confines them to a smaller area, but also tends to reduce your harvest.  The thing I like best about sweet potatoes (aside from thier nutrition packed goodness) is that once you have them, you can grow them year after year, without purchasing starts!

See this really ugly thing?

This is my "Mother Potato" this year!  She is really big, gnarly and not very appealing, so didn't get baked and eaten like the rest of last years harvest.  She was buried in the bottom of my root veggie storage bin and made it nicely through our long Michigan Winter.  When I noticed the beginnings of sprouts on her gnarly surface, I plunked her into a large glass of water.  Roots developed almost overnight, and the sprouts sprang to life!

Now it is simply a matter of snapping off the starts as they get big enough, and plunking them into a second glass of water, to form roots of thier own.  This one ugly sweet potato will continue producing sprouts long after my sweet potato bed is planted, as long as I give her fresh water from time to time.

After only three weeks, I already have over a dozen slips rooting in water.  These babies really want to grow!  I'm thinking of increasing my number of bins this Summer, to increase my harvest.

Here are a few of the beauties I harvested last Summer.  Lovely, aren't they?  Delicious, too!

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