You’ll probably get tired of my gardening posts but I blog about what’s going on in my life and for a while, it will be non-stop gardening. To be quite honest, I’m usually a little bit happy and a little bit sad when that first frost arrives. I love having fresh tomatoes, and peppers and okra but the first frost ends it all and it’s nice to not have to be outside so much watering, pulling weeds and even canning, freeze drying and dehydrating! But, for now, it’s so exciting.
When I harvested the sweet potatoes last year, there are a lot of little potatoes. I should have left them in the ground but honestly, I was ready to be done with them. The vines had taken over so much of the back yard, I knew we had enough sweet potatoes that we’d probably never eat them all. I still have freeze dried sweet potato pie filling from previous years so . . I just pulled them all up. Vince asked if we should toss all the baby potatoes and I told him no, I was going to try to replant them next year.
Buying sweet potato slips is expensive. I figured I would either make my own slips by putting one end of the potato in water or I would just let them sprout and then cut them up like I do regular potatoes.
Last year, I bought slips. I think they were $16 for four slips and I bought eight slips. It was a good investment because they made a lot of sweet potatoes but if I could grow my own, that’s $32 I could have saved.
I planted the slips last year and after they were all up and growing, I found a sweet potato that was mixed in with my regular potatoes in the potato bin and it had sprouted. I pulled it out, took it outside to put it in the compost pile and left it sitting on a plate outside, forgot about it and after about a week, it had sprouts everywhere so I dug a hole in one of the beds and stuck it in there. That one potato made more nice big sweet potatoes than I think the others did combined. And, it was the first one to make potatoes. I pulled out 8 really large sweet potatoes, only because I saw something orange sticking up out of the dirt. Some of those were so big that Vince and I split them but yet, they weren’t stringy or pithy like some big sweet potatoes in the grocery store. Not quite a month later, I couldn’t stand it any longer and began digging around under that potato and dug up about 12 more potatoes and thought I had them all. They were all big so I figured I’d better them all out. Then, right before it got cold, I thought . . I’m going to check . . just in case, and I think I found almost 20 more potatoes. I have canned sweet potatoes, baked sweet potatoes, made several sweet potato recipes and we still have sweet potatoes.
I had thrown the little ones in with the big ones in a box filled with shredded cardboard and left them all in the downstairs garage where it stays cool and dark. Yesterday I dug around to see if any of the small ones might be sprouting and they are!
I’m not sure if you can see the little sprouts forming near my fingertips.
Down near the right end on top . . can you see those little sprouts?
I had hoped some of the purple potatoes were sprouting. Yep . . see the sprouts at the bottom.
I think I counted 20 that have sprouts. I kinda mashed them down just a little into the garden soil, will bring them into the garage on the coldest nights by I think by the end of April, when it’s safe to plant these, I’ll have lots of slips. I can probably cut some of the longer potatoes in half, depending on how many slips they produce and where they’re located.
I’m really excited about being able to grow sweet potatoes from last year’s crop . . if it all works out.
Granny and Papa sold potato slips back whenI was young . They put a mesh over the potatoes and would pull the slips. Maybe research this. You will have more slips than you want as they will keep sprouting.
If all 20 of the potatoes have sprouts, some will be able to be cut in half so I’ll probably have 30 potatoes to plant. That will be more than I need and probably more than I have room to plant.
Cindy F says
I love your gardening posts! I appreciate them even more as I sit at the window and look at all our snow! Last year I had unwanted potato plants from bits I hadn’t completely pulled the year before. They didn’t grown much because of our water situation and then I didn’t get around to digging them all out. I will likely pull them out this year though as I want to grow something else there. I haven’t fully figured out what I’m growing yet until we get our water forecast.
Don’t get too excited about my garden projects. We have snow predicted for Friday, possibly tornadoes Thursday or Friday (though our chances are way less than some folks), lots of rain and wind. Mother Nature appears to hate me! 🙂