Tag Archives: slips

Calling All Sweet Potato Growers!!! Indulge Me One More Time…

June 26, 2014

One last conundrum I need some help on:

To get caught up on all things ‘sweet potato experiment’, check out this post

Baby woke me up at 4:30am Saturday morning so I decided (as soon as the sun came up) to go ahead and plant the rest of the sweet potato slips before it got too hot and before the rest of the kids woke up.

I lifted all of the slips out of the ‘slip-growing bed’ and planted them in the patch where we ripped out the peas earlier this month.DSC_4561

Here is what was left.DSC_4565

On to the conundrum…

  1. I don’t know exactly how many sweet potatoes I laid in the box to grow slips. I think it was 6 or 7 maybe. It was NOT 14 (how many I pulled out)! (I actually pulled another one as I was planting some broccoli seeds in there the next day so 15 sweet potatoes — and I didn’t dig around so there may be more!)
  2. And check out those sweet potatoes on the right. They are rotted like seed potatoes are after growing a plant but the rest (those on the left) are not.DSC_4566
  3. I did NOT plant only 3 (those rotted) and did not plant as many as 15…so what happened?

I planted the sweet potatoes at the end of April. It is now the end of June. Surely those sweet potatoes did not grow in the course of two months?! They are small but…

Opinions? Experience?

If sweet potatoes planted in the ground can not only grow slips but those slips can grow other sweet potatoes…what is the point of ripping off the slips? Seems like extra work to me. Maybe another experiment for next year?…

I will try to remember to make better notes next year (how many sweet potatoes EXACTLY I bury in the ground to grow slips) but until then, I would REALLY like some insight from others.

Thank you in advance! 🙂

I am linking up to Green Thumb Thursday…hoping someone can help me out!


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 😉

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 😉 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! 🙂

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! 🙂 I am linking up with Green Thumb Thursday today. Check it out for some good gardening tips!

Harvest Monday and a Sweet Potato Question

February 10, 2014

I harvested the last of the carrots this week. I have started some more but it will be awhile, that’s for sure. They were all pretty pitiful; one was eaten up pretty badly and some were pulled up completely.

Nieto Family - January 27 14 - 0136-2 Nieto Family - January 27 14 - 0135-2One day this week, my daughter forgot to lock the gate of the run and the chickens got out and ate most of my kale 😦 I am hoping, as long as we can keep the chickens away, the kale will bounce back when it warms up.

Our only harvest these days are our eggs. As the days grew longer in January, we were getting about 16 eggs/day from 19 chickens! And then it got really cold for a couple of weeks, snowed, etc. This, apparently, put the chickens in shock and we are down to three a day again 😦 The weather has warmed up slightly (staying above freezing at night) but we still are not getting very many eggs.

(frozen egg — gave it to the kitty) (trying to get the chickens out of the coop. putting down hay later really helped) Nieto Family - January 22 14 - 0371(only harvest for the next couple of months)

Working on the February TO DO LIST:

  • Picked up some horse manure from the stables and spread it in a couple of places (hopefully one more load will be enough to cover the rest of the garden)
  • Made our last Square Foot Garden bed into a BTE bed (cut out 4 layers of tarp & weed cloth). whew!
  • Continuing to make greenhouses. Planted some warm-weather seeds in half of them one day when it got into the 50s but still have some more planting to do!
  • Any day the wind dies down and it is at least in the 40s, I spread some more mulch around the blueberry plants & garden. Because the mulch in the walkways and between the blueberry plants is on top of tarps (to keep the bermuda grass at bay), the rain tends to wash some away every year.


I was going to go ahead and start some sweet potato slips indoors but as I did more research, I am now thinking I may wait and start the slips outside. The only way I had ever heard about starting slips was in a glass jar, in a window. I have never had success growing things in our windows because ours are energy efficient windows but I was going to try anyway this year.

While researching, to make sure I had all of my information together, I ran across a blog post in which this lady grows her slips right in the ground. Then, I was looking in Rodale’s All New Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening for information on when to transplant the slips (how long they need to be) and I saw they recommended starting sweet potato slips in the ground as well.

Has anyone ever heard of this? Has anyone every tried it? What do you think? I definitely love the simplicity of it and the fact that everything stays outside (we don’t have a lot of extra room in the house). The ‘scary’ part is, you put the roots in the ground later (warmer weather), which means if it doesn’t work, it’s too late to grow the slips the other way — so I am putting a lot of faith in a method I have essentially never heard of.

Any insight is more than welcome! And check out what others are harvesting this winter over at Daphne’s Dandelions 🙂