The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Starting Sweet Potato Slips

Starting sweet potato slips.Irish potatoes can be cut into chunks to plant, but starting your own sweet potatoes requires a bit more TLC.  Tubers are generally sprouted in either water or moist sand, beginning at this time of year.  Each tuber can create a dozen shoots, which are then broken off and put in water to grow roots.  These "slips" are then planted in the garden after all danger of frost is past.

Last year was our first attempt at creating our own sweet potato slips, and it was pretty much an abject failure.  We put tubers in jars partially full of water and watched as the tubers slowly rotted into gelatinous blobs.  Then we went to the feed store and shelled out far too much cash to buy slips.

This year, I've resolved to do better.  I think our problem last year was that the trailer is very chilly at this time of year as we move out of wood stove season.  We wear sweaters, but sweet potatoes are unthrilled by sweater weather and instead require warm room temperature for sprouting.  So this year, we've put a car seat heating mat under the tubers and a space heater beside them.  The space heater only goes on at night when it's really chilly, but I've had the heating mat on constantly since Monday and already a quarter of the tubers have started to sprout!  I'm keeping my fingers crossed, but so far the experiment seems to be doing well!

This post is part of our How to Start Sweet Potato Slips series.  Read all of the entries:

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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I just wanted to tell you how much I am enjoying your blog posts. I found you by accident looking for info about bees. My husband and I just recently began keeping bees. You have an amazing site and I'd love to be able to share it with others. I've also just recently began my own blog and I'm still learning the way around, but when I do I would like to somehow show something about you blog so that the ones who visit mine can see all the awesome things you guys have going on your. Anyway, thanks for all the incredible info you guys pass on, I for one(and I'm sure there are scads more) really appreciate it. Take care and God bless. Heidi

Comment by Heidi Pickels Thu Apr 9 12:24:18 2009
Thanks for stopping by! It looks like we're in exactly the same boat with bees --- ours are arriving early next week. Looks like it'll be an educational year!
Comment by anna Thu Apr 9 13:42:32 2009

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