My Sweet Potato Project

June 13, 2008

In mid-April I was given some Georgia Jet sweet potato seed roots from Ottawa Hortiphilia. Georgia Jets are the most productive variety for northern climates as it has the shortest growing period of 80 – 90 days. Of course I had no idea how to grow them and promptly potted them in soil with a drink of water.

I found out later that was the completely wrong thing to do. I emailed Ken Allan, author of “Sweet Potatoes for the Home Garden”, who told me to stand the seed roots up in containers using toothpicks, fill with water to the 1/2 to 3/4 mark on the tuber and to keep in warm place (window sills are not good because they are cold at night). So I did that while I waited for his book to arrive. This photo, taken on April 17th, shows the correct way to prepare your seed roots:

I would move them to the windowsill during the day for warmth and then move them onto the dining room table at night so they wouldn’t get chilled. On May 1st, the seed roots looked like this:


Everyday I would check the water level, topping it up when it got below the 3/4 mark of the seed root. Sometimes I would change the water when it got kind of yucky-looking.  It wasn’t a very satisfying task until mid-May when I spied my first slip shoots:

You can clearly see two little shoots on the top left and right of the seed root. Woohoo! It was working! Over the past month, these little seed roots sent up so many slips they had to be given bigger containers to hold more water and give more room for some of the side slips. Here’s how they looked about 4 days ago:

They’re huge!  Now I have to figure out how to plant them!


12 Responses to “My Sweet Potato Project”

  1. Nancy Bond Says:

    I didn’t know that about sweet potatoes! I thought they were planted the same as a regular potato…silly me! Thanks for the info.

  2. CityGarden Says:

    thank you for sharing these photos and informations

  3. irena Says:

    okay…that is very impressive. good luck with the planting stage.

  4. Amy Says:

    This is so interesting. Like Nancy, I thought you would just stick them in the ground like potatoes 🙂 I look forward to seeing how much success you have planting these.

  5. Raceytay Says:

    Yum E. sweet potatoes! Put me in the ‘I thought they went in the ground camp’.

    As always, informative and fun, Kathy 🙂

  6. khalid adawi Says:

    Thank you for sharing these photos and informations about Sweet potato

  7. Doretha Says:

    I love sweet potatoes, they are good for Diabetes also. Let me know how to set the plants out.

  8. Don Says:

    I pull off the shoots and plant them in cups of potting soil. I grow them in the window until it’s early summer. I hill up a row in the garden a foot high, and plant the shoots every 2 feet. Google a fact sheet on sweet potastoes.

  9. Farmfresh Says:

    Now that you have actively growing slips. Break them off of the main potato and place them in another water vessel. The slips will then root. When they have plenty of roots they can then be planted into the garden or a deep patio pot. Be sure all danger of frost has past before planting.

    The sweet potato will take about 100 days until harvest. They should be harvested before a hard frost. Cure the potatoes before storing them by washing them well them allowing them to dry well for several days in a shady spot. Tender leaves of the sweet potato vines are also edible as a green.

    For more gardening info please come visit my website I have lots of information for gardeners and homesteaders.

  10. Francis (Ottawa) Says:

    Hi Kathy,

    Can I borrow you sweet potato book?

    p.s. It’s 2009, how did your potatoes grow?

  11. Diane Says:

    Do you know where I could order tubulars or cuttings for Sweet Potato.
    I would love to plant some, now that I know a great way to start them.
    Thank you, all the best to you.

    • Kathy Says:

      Hi Diane! I’m getting mine from Mapple Farms, I’ve heard good things about them. Last year I decided to go with a new start-up in Ontario and they totally bailed on sending out any slips. It’s Mapple Farms for me this year all the way.


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