Growing sweet potatoes this year was really just an experiment and unfortunately one that I did not document. While I regret that I don’t have exact dates, time frames and pictures, I was so impressed with the results that I wanted to share the process.
Below is a photo of our sweet potato harvest.
It might not look very impressive until I tell you that all of those sweet potatoes grew in that pot (approximately 3 gallon).
I think it was late February or early March when I noticed a sweet potato that I had bought at the grocery store was beginning to grow roots. Rather than send it to the compost heap I decided to let it live.
I poked a toothpick into each side of the sweet potato at about the halfway point then put one end of it into a large mouth jar filled with water where it continued to grow more roots. The toothpicks held the top end above the lip of the jar. It was important to keep the jar filled with water and in a couple of weeks it began to sprout leaves.
I kept adding water and the leaves grew into vines. Once the vines were over 12 inches long I cut six to eight inches off and put them in a jar of water to root. I think it was early April when I planted 4 of them in the pot filled with potting soil. I also gave some to my cousin so she could grow her own.
I kept the pot near a sunny window and kept them well watered and they continued to grow. I think it was mid to late May, when the weather warmed enough and the threat of frost had passed, that I moved the pot to our deck.
From there it was just a matter of keeping them watered. If we did not have rain the soil dried up quickly and the leaves would begin to droop.
It was the first week in October, when we were having cooler overnight temperatures, when I noticed that even though the soil was moist the leaves were drooping. I decided it was time to harvest them. Harvest was as simple as dumping the whole pot out then breaking up the soil and picking the sweet potatoes out.
Doing It Again
Since this variety grew so well I decided to try to keep it growing. The vine was not dead so I cut some slips from it and have them rooting in a jar right now. Soon I will need to plant them in a pot of soil.
Sweet potatoes are a great source of many of the nutrients that our bodies need to stay healthy. You can learn more about that here. While searching for a link to provide you with those benefits I discovered something I did not know. Sweet potato leaves are edible. They can be prepared and eaten like other leafy greens (think spinach) and are very high in nutrients. This article explains more.
We usually eat sweet potato baked but sometimes cut it up and add it to soups or stews. I am now planning on adding sweet potato leaves to our diet as well.
Do you have a favorite sweet potato recipe you would like to share? How you ever eaten sweet potato leaves?