Apr 18 2011

Sweet Potato Project

sweet_potato

We are planting sweet potatoes in the community garden this year for two reasons.

We eat a lot of them and growing sweet potatoes is a fun project.

I found this great sweet potato project on ehow. I remember doing this in first grade and thinking it was so cool, but we didn’t have a garden so I never saw the final project. My kids are going to love it!

1) Begin about a month before the last frost or before you plan to transplant the slips in the garden. Sweet potatoes are not grown from seeds, but from vine cuttings called slips.

2) Choose a couple of nice sweet potatoes from your local grocery store. You can grow several bushels of sweet potatoes from the slips taken from just a couple of sweet potatoes.

3) Grow your slips from the sweet potatoes. There are several ways to do this. Bury the mature sweet potato halfway into moist potting soil and keep the soil moist. Or put enough toothpicks in the midsection of the sweet potatoes to hold the potato up in a jar of water.

4) Cut the slips off the mother sweet potato when they are six to eight inches long. Remember to handle the slips gently at this point because they are easy to damage.

5) Transplant the slips in the garden when the soil is at least 70 degrees and there is no danger of frost. Lay the slips on their sides with most of the slip buried a half inch under the soil.

6) Plant the slips 12 to 18 inches apart in rows that are three to four feet apart. Sweet potato vines will cover the ground; therefore, they need a lot of space in the garden.

7) Place black mulch around the young sweet potato slips to help retain moisture. Black mulch will also draw heat from the sun.

8) Harvest sweet potatoes before the first frost. Sweet potatoes are ready to be harvested after four months in the ground, no later than five months.

9) Dry the sweet potatoes on the ground two or three hours after harvesting. Then allow them another 10 to 14 days of curing in a warm room with moderate humidity. Afterwards, they should be placed in a cool room for storage until ready to be cooked.

 

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