Sweet Potato Saga…

June 11, 2014

This truly is a saga…I’ll start at the beginning (giving dates and everything)…

Friday, May 16th…

My sweet potato experiment seemed to be doing well…until I transplanted some this week. My ‘slip-growing patch’ is extremely healthy-looking. I read to transplant them when they are 6-9″ long.

The Nieto Family - May 16 14 - 0144Mine are about 5″ long but I thought I would give it a try. I nicked 5 of the longest starts off of the sweet potato, planted them up to their leaves (what is recommended) in the sweet potato patch with some chicken compost, and put some mulch around them. I then watered them. This was around noon.

By 4pm, we had a BIG rain storm come through so they got a GOOD soaking. After the storm, they still looked good. The next day, WILTED.

I had hoped it was just transplant shock and they would bounce back but they remain wilted. I am glad I only transplanted 5, not all of them. I will wait until the rest are longer before transplanting those. I would hate for such gorgeous sweet potato starts to turn into nothing 😦

Wednesday, May 21st…

After researching a bit more, I think the problem was the slips did not have enough roots. I read they do not need a ton of roots but mine barely had any. We’ll see how the next set of slips go. By the way, the slips are not DEAD yet, which is interesting. I wonder if they will ever bounce back completely…

_DSC9599(1)(Over a week after transplanting. Wilted. Sun-scalded. But not dead…)

Monday, May 26th…

_DSF9063More than a week later and…looks like they have officially bounced back! Now to start planting the rest of the slips in earnest, as they all need to be planted out by the end of June in order to have enough time to mature…

Saturday, May 31st…

Planted some more sweet potato slips today. Dug holes. Pulled off slips this time instead of cutting them (left more roots on). Filled hole with compost and dirt. Covered with mulch. Watered WELL. Maybe leaving more roots on will help them get over transplant shock more quickly this time…

I can see I have more slips than I have space. A good problem to have, in my opinion. I only put seven or so itty bitty sweet potatoes in the raised bed to produce slips. I was thinking we would not have enough slips to fill up the sweet potato patch. Ha! I am now thinking I will grow sweet potatoes in the sweet potato patch, in the raised bed where I am growing slips, in the raised bed next to it, in the overflow garden, and in the place where I am growing peas (whenever they get ripped out). We can never have too many sweet potatoes! Truly…just ask my children!

Sunday, June 1st…

Finished planting slips in the sweet potato patch. Those from yesterday’s planting are bouncing back already!Nieto Family - June 02 14 - 0001(still droopy but starting to get over transplant shock) Nieto Family - June 02 14 - 0002(bounced back already! in one day!)

Monday, June 2nd…

Planted sweet potato slips in the raised bed next to the raised bed where the slips are growing.

Nieto Family - June 02 14 - 0003(right after planting)

Tuesday, June 3rd & Wednesday, June 4th

Planted the last of the slips (that are long enough) in the overflow garden. Nieto Family - June 06 14 - 0004I have read that if you leave the sweet potatoes in the ground, they will continue to produce so I am going to further my experiment by doing that. We’ll see what planting earlier/later does as far as production…Nieto Family - June 02 14 - 0004(This is the slip-growing bed (halfway through planting slips). By the end of planting, there were only 5 or so slips left in the bed and they are all 3″ tall.)

Slips in the raised beds are suffering transplant shock but I’m sure they’ll bounce back in a day or two…

Nieto Family - June 06 14 - 0003Slips in the sweet potato bed have just about fully recovered, a couple of days later. Having a few roots really makes a difference! Now, to work my patience muscles for the next four months…not my strong suit πŸ˜‰

Nieto Family - June 06 14 - 0001I covered the sweet potato patch with chicken manure and mulch a year ago to prepare the soil (compost tea as it rains!). I also planted some carrots (which did well) this past fall to loosen the soil. The soil was moist but still, the holes for the slips were INCREDIBLY difficult to dig! I am not expecting very high yields in this area.

Not surprisingly, the raised bed has fluffy soil so I am expecting a good crop from this area.

The overflow garden has been covered with mulch for the past year and for the past four months, has been covered with horse manure. For some reason, the holes were very easy to dig (other than a huge rock I hit in one of the holes) and the soil looked good. I am not complaining πŸ˜‰ just curious as to why there is such a difference between the sweet potato patch and overflow garden soil. The overflow garden was covered with A LOT more mulch, so that is a possibility as to the difference. However, I know that soil is different in different places so maybe there is just more clay over by the sweet potato patch?…

I am still learning a lot about growing sweet potatoes (start to finish) but for anyone who is unable to grow sweet potato slips in their windows and has a pot or raised bed, I think my experiment has shown this is a REALLY easy way to grow your own slips! With all of the toys and what-not in the house, it is nice to keep all of the gardening OUTSIDE! πŸ™‚

So from start to….well…now, here are all of the posts regarding sweet potatoes, if you want to know how I did/am doing it:

I am looking forward to the fall…seeing what kind of crop(s) we have, which plots did the best, etc. Stay tuned! πŸ™‚ I am linking up with Green Thumb Thursday today. Check it out for some good gardening tips!


4 thoughts on “Sweet Potato Saga…

  1. Dave

    Sweet potatoes are amazingly tough, aren’t they! FWIW I don’t give my sweet potatoes much fertilizer. I found that too much nitrogen made for lush vines and few tubers.

  2. daphnegould

    I’d be less worried about your yield in that spot and more worried about digging the potatoes up. I’ve had sweet potatoes really jam themselves into spots that were hard to get out of (like my brick path that has an amazing foundation, or the path between my raised beds – yes they escaped the bed underground and set tubers in the path). Good luck.

  3. Pingback: Calling All Sweet Potato Growers!!! Indulge Me One More Time… | Gardening Without…

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