Posts Tagged ‘Rooting Sweet potatoes’

Extra Early Sweet Potato Starts

Sunday, January 13th, 2013
Sweet Potatoes and Cuttings

Sweet Potatoes and Cuttings

I had two sweet potatoes left over from last year.  I had used them to grow cuttings for last year’s garden. They were starting to shrivel up but both had put out numerous long sprouts.  The sprouts were rather anemic and one plant had an aphid infestation, but I thought I’d give a try to saving cuttings from both to get a real head start on having lots of good rooted slips ready to go into the ground in late May.

Sweet potatoes are tenacious at hanging on to life and almost any part of a plant, if given good conditions, will root and produce a new plant.  Sprouts, especially, are very easy to get to root.  A long sprout can be cut into smaller sections and each of those sections can also root.  So I removed all the sprouts from the potatoes, cut them down to manageable lengths and potted them all into a large box.  I also planted the old sweet potatoes into potting soil just to see if they would survive and put out more sprouts.

Before I planted the sprouts I rinsed them with cold water to flush away most of the aphids.  After I potted them, I sprayed them lightly with a neem oil, soap mix, which I hope finishes off any remaining aphids.

A Simple Frame

A Simple Frame

Indoor Sweet Potato Greenhouse

Indoor Sweet Potato Greenhouse

 To construct my simple green house, I used some plant markers and lengths of PVC tubing to create a frame over which I just laid a folded large piece of thin poly.

Sweet Potato Sprout Leafing Out

Sweet Potato Sprout Leafing Out

I haven’t checked the temperature under the plastic but it’s noticeably warmer than room temperature.  Our sun room gets pretty chilly at night and sweet potatoes like it hot.  The sprouts are leafing out nicely.  The task now will be keeping the plants alive and healthy until they are ready to plant.  I only need 18 plants and I already have 21 cuttings, so my chances are good.  And I’m sure I can find some gardeners eager to take any extra slips I end up with.