My Piece of Dirt

Zone 8 Gardening

on September 16, 2015

SWEET POTATOESSo, way back last May, I asked the question: How many sweet potatoes would I get from one slip. The picture shows my answer. Plus more, growing off to the sides. Tada! Digging them up without puncturing them is definitely the hardest part and a learning experience.

I did not start the slips until May, because I did not have an open plot and then it was kind of an experiment. I could have started in April and maybe have gotten more.


Feb-March: Get plot ready by loosening soil. Add plenty of fertilizer and compost. After plugging potato slips, no more fertilizer.

Feb-March: At the same time that you are getting plot ready, half bury 2 or 3 sweet potatoes in a large pot of potting soil and place in a sunny spot. (Sweet potatoes that are shaped like boats are best, and put the pointy ends up.)

When slips are 6 inches tall and leafy and pretty, snap off the best ones, dip in root grow, plug in plot, water gently with drip hose until strong. The ‘mother’ potatoes can be left in the pot and more slips will grow. You might even get a few potatoes right out of the pot at the end of the season.

The tubers, themselves, do not seem to take up that much room.  But those vines….oh my gosh….everywhere and out of bounds.

Remember: Plant potatoes out in the open. Not near fences or house. Nor squirrel runs nor chipmunk trails……I always say: the best place for a garden is right smack dab in the the middle of the yard. I have also noticed a benefit to adding props for birdies to land on around the garden.

garlic nuggets???

garlic nuggets???

As a bonus: Previous to planting the sweet potatoes I had garlic growing in the plot and thought I got them all. When I dug up the potatoes, I found these little garlic nuggets–more like garlic cloves than a whole bulb. The amazing part is that the garlic survived the summer, growing under the shade of the vines…..and probably helped in keeping critters away. Still scratching my head on that one.

Now….if I could only have that much success with white potatoes, I’d call myself smart….But whole different ballgame. Whole different time of year.


green is my favorite color

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