Time to Start Sweet Potato Slips


Sweet potato is a hot weather plant, but to be able to plant them when the ground is warm the slips need to be growing now. I start them indoors with potatoes grown the year before in our garden. The potatoes store very well in my basement in a laundry basket all winter. Even now I still have potatoes that are firm and fine for culinary enjoyment. I really love eating sweet potatoes and we have a lot of fun in the fall digging them up to see what treasures have been growing underground during the hot summer months.sweet potatoes 

To start slips it is good to use potatoes that are free from any mold or shriveling. If there are any potatoes that have sprouts already coming out, then you have a head start. Place the potatoes in a jar or container vertically and fill with water. Their bottom ends should be wet, but at least one to two inches of the tops need to reach above the water. Place this in a warm sunny window or a shelf in the kitchen that stays moderately warm. Be sure to add water when necessary. Changing the water occasionally is important, too, because rot can occur. If you notice a potato rotting, remove it and either dispose of it, or cut off the rotten part. Soon vines will start to grow. They will grow out of many different nodules on each potato. When any of these vines grow to about 5-6 inches, pick it off at the base and place in a jar filled with water. It is amazing how quickly these little guys will root. When a potato starts producing slips, it usually becomes very prolific and many slips can be picked off of one potato! Once the ground is warm and the slip has a good set of roots you can plant them. We usually get all our sweet potatoes out the last part of May.

Other methods exist to start slips. I have a friend that remembers that her mom started slips in a box of horse manure. The heat from the manure helped the plants get started. I also have another friend starting them in potting soil on a heated bed with florescent lights.

Slips can be bought in bundles from nurserys and online as well. They need plenty of room for growing. Their beautiful dense green vine takes up at least a five foot wide area, but can be set out as close as two feet apart in rows. We occasionally grow giant football sized sweet potatoes that can fill 3-4 pies worth (though were prefer a good baking sized potato). They are so good to eat so many ways. Sweet potato pie, fried sweet potatoes, sweet potato fries, candied yams, sweet potato casserole, baked sweet potatoes with sorghum...

4/4/2019 3:34:43 AM

Hello 👋 i live in Australia & I’m looking for some sweet potato seeds 🍠 ... I lived in New Zealand 30 years ago and loved this veg, but iv not seen or heard of the kiwi variety here, seemingly it comes from Polynesia ... From my research it’s called an Onikawa sweet potato, we just called them kumera 😁 They have a red skin with a creamy to yellow white flesh inside & purple veins running through the flesh from end to end & they don’t taste nothing like the purple or golden ones that we can purchase here in Oz 😢 any help I’d be great full ❤️

2/16/2019 10:35:33 PM

Hi Don- don't worry, all you need to do is pinch off the ends of the vines until they're only about 3-4" long. They'll start to grow back pretty fast and you'll have to do it again a few more times. Make sure they're in good soil and not water when you start pinching so they can get some nutrition. You can either root the parts you pinched off in water and start more plants or eat them as greens. Either way you win! Hope you have fun :)

2/13/2019 3:15:08 PM

I started my sweet potatoes slips to early caint plant until may and they are already 8 to 10 inch's long what do I do

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