Recently I visited my dad and he gave me a gift: An old sweet potato from the very back of his fridge. It was sprouting and looked mostly unsalvageable.
“Ummm… thanks… dad…?”
He pushed it into my hands, “You should plant it.”
I assumed this was another one of his harebrained ideas, but I googled it and was surprised to find that it’s a thing. There’s a bit more of a process to it than just digging a hole and chucking in your sprouting sweet potato though…
1. Grow the slips
Slips are long, vine-like and leafing growths near the tip of a sweet potato – and it’s these that sprout baby sweet potatoes for you to enjoy (you can actually grow up to 50 slips per half). To grow slips, use a new sweet potato or one that’s already begun sprouting by itself. Cut it in half and place each cut side down in a bowl, glass or jar half submerged with water (pictured below). Leave it in a warm place and change the water daily to keep it fresh. I left mine for 2 weeks.
2. Let the roots grow
Once the slips have developed nice and long, it’s time to separate them from the mamma potato so they can grow on their own. Carefully twist the slips off where they connect to the sweet potato and place them in a shallow container with a little water to cover the bottom half of the stems.
The roots will begin to grow and sprout leaves within a few days. When they’re 2-3 cm long they’re ready to be planted.
3. Plant the slips
This step’s pretty straight forward. Dig 10cm deep holes and 7cm wide holes for each slip to be placed into. (P.S. I know this soil is suuuuper dry – but I’m going to try these tips here to rejuvenate it: https://soiltosupper.com/simple-ways-to-fix-dry-garden-soil/ ).
Soon I’ll never have to shop for sweet potatoes again – well at least that’s the plan. Stay tuned for updates on my sweet potato babies!