Sweet Potato Cultivation


Thanks, Bart. My memory said that there was a supplier with many varieties named Sandhill something or other. I was just too busy to go looking for it. Not that I’m ordering sweet potatoes this year. I’ve too much going on as it is right now.


Great advice from all of you thank you very much.


The slips you do yourself are FAR better quality than what you can buy anywhere. And they are almost free when you use last year’s harvest. This is from my garden notes (I do this every year with reliably good results in z7B)

Sweet Potatoes
Sowing. Around Mar 1st, find a good mother potato - one that may already be sprouting. Then, take a small slice from the stringy root end and make sure flesh is uniform (no streaks, pale spots). Then plant tuber in pot with light soil and water. Keep in a warm, moist, light place. Fertilize lightly after slips begin to form [4-6 weeks]. Harvest slips when ~6” w/4-6 leaves by pinching them from the mother potato w/some skin, removing some of the bottom leaves and placing them in water where they will grow roots. After ~ a week and sufficient roots, xplant to deep flats.
Growing. Grow on in flats 3-4 weeks until mid May. About 10 days before planting begin hardening off. Plant when soil temp is >65 deg. Loosen the soil for better yields, add compost for drainage, and side dress w/ 1 tsp S of P. Plant into damp soil – set slips vertically for large roots and horizontally 2-3” deep for average roots and higher yields. Place 3-5 leaf nodes underground and keep plants damp. Secure tomato cage over plant and encourage vines off the ground. Little growth occurs 1st month as roots form. 2nd month vines form. When vines stop growing, roots are forming for the 3rd and 4th month. Count 4 weeks after the first flowers appear to determine harvest time. Harvest before soil temp goes below 60 deg or potatoes become hard and do not soften w/cooking. Dig roots w/hands only to not damage skin.
Protecting. Bunnies love the leaves. Planting root crops in bins/pots seems to work ONLY if sparsely planted and sufficient P included along with other nutrients. Sowing must be 50% less dense than when sown in the ground.
Storing. Do not wash – some dirt on skin is good, just remove excess dirt by lightly brushing. Cure sweet potatoes by holding them for about 10 days at 80-85°F and high relative humidity (85-90 percent). If the warmest temp is lower, say between 65-75°F, the curing period should last 2-3 weeks. To maintain the required high humidity (85-90 percent relative humidity), stack storage crates or boxes and cover them with paper or heavy cloth. Packing in perforated plastic bags will also keep humidity high, yet the perforations will allow excess moisture to escape. During curing process the skins thicken, the cuts heal over and the starches turn to sugars. Curing is complete when rubbing 2 potatoes together does not damage skin. Once the sweet potatoes are cured, move them to a dark location where a temperature of about 55-60°F can be maintained during storage. Sweet potatoes are subject to chilling injury, so keep them out of the refrigerator. Outdoor pits are not recommended for storage because the dampness encourages decay. Good results can be obtained by wrapping cured sweet potatoes in newspaper and storing them in a cool closet. Set several in plastic bags not touching each other to prevent drying out

Keeping sweet potatoes for next year’s slips

Thank you Anne really great information!


I disagree. It might be true in your location but not mine.


Richard it sounds like you have a lot of resources available in California. Anne is right in my location good quality plants are hard to come by. Makes me wish we had sources like California does to purchase slips. You cannot find slips very easy here. Mail order experiences with sweet potatoes never goes great. It would be wonderful if I could go to a neighbor and ask advice but there are no resources like that here. Makes me appreciate forum members like the ones that commented on this thread a lot because the advice is unknown in this area. We grow long horn okra and Clemson spineless and most people do not eat that here. We grow yellow meated watermelons and in my area they have never heard of those. My mom and Dad are not from here and when they moved here they brought ideas with them like growing these things. The help on growing those slips helps more than you know. My uncle grew the families sweet potatoes way back when. My uncle is older now and can’t do it anymore and no one else learned in my family. He told me about using the sand and I remember him saying they scrubbed them. My mom was excited when I told her the advice about rooting them in water it all made sense then.


I just bought slips from the local Amish green house, They charge $.30 a piece, I don’t know if that is a fair price since this is only my second year growing them.


What a great price! Sounds like you did great!


My mom used your tricks and they are growing like weeds. They look rough from the cold rainy weather but are rooting like you said they would


I’m glad to hear they are doing well! It takes so much less work and space.


This will be my second year buying from George’s Plant Farm. He offers a nice selection, good service, and the prices are excellent – $1.13 each for 12 slips ($13.50) to as little as $0.23 each for 200 ($44.50), and shipping is free. You can also mix and match varieties and still get a quantity discount. I’m expecting delivery of 25 Red Japanese within the next day or two.


Can I ask where you buy the slips locally? :slightly_smiling:


For retail, check with Pearson’s Gardens in Vista.


Clarkinks, That is the same way I do mine in a jar of water, Now if it ever warms up here in PA then I can get them in the ground.


Thanks Jimmy!


The row of potatoes is still in shock from the transplant but they seem to be recovering


Just keep them watered well for the first couple of weeks and they’ll take off on their own. Those first few weeks in the ground are critical. :slightly_smiling: They’re lookin’ good right now!


Well I think she wound up with 10-15 sweet potatoes plants thanks to the great advice. Here are a few of them but they all look about the same.


Yes If you wondered those are volunteer tomatoes we did not plant them. Cherry tomatoes just come up every year here and from seed you can see they produce a tomato or two before the 4th of July.


Wanted to thank you all again for the excellent sweet potato propagation tricks