Growing sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes are probably some of the easiest vegetables to grow..They’re members of the tuber family, most people just eat the tuber part, but if you grow your own, the greens are supposed to be pretty tasty as well. At least that’s what I hear. In addition to being relatively heat tolerant (making them great for Florida), they don’t require a ton of irrigation, can thrive in a variety of soil types and are nutritious (loaded with vitamin A and C). On the downside they’re sensitive to frost, but we don’t have to worry about that much this time of year…

We had some old sweet potatoes that were headed for the trash, actually they would have wound up in the compost, so I figured why not try growing them? Remember the science experiment in school where you’d stick toothpicks in the sides and sit it in a cup of water?? Over time the roots would start to sprout. It took a few weeks, but after a decent amount of shoots started growing, I removed it from the water and cut it into sections to preserve the shoots (these are called slips). If you don’t want to grow your own you can buy slips (sweet potato plants) from George’s Plant Farm. He’s got a bunch of different varieties. While I don’t have any direct experience ordering from them, they were responsive to my questions, so I wouldn’t hesitate to buy my plants there.

Back in the “food forest” I created a small mound of dirt in a relatively sunny area, planted the slips, and lo and behold a few weeks later it’s growing like crazy.

Been reading up on when the correct time is to harvest, some suggest once the leaves start to yellow, or 4 weeks after they flower. Very curious to see what I’ll dig up when they’re ready.

Something occurred to me, and it’s one of the truisms of gardening, the things you care about the least, will often grow the best. The inverse is true for those thing in your garden that you lavish the most attention on..Or maybe that’s just my imagination.
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Anyway, this was completely done on a whim. I really didn’t expect it to work. However, if they do, I’ll be planting a much larger patch next year. I can already taste the sweet potato pie..

Happy gardening.

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