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From: Charlotte Mann (dsl-65-240-167-248.nehp.net)
Subject:         Re: growing red garnet yams
Date: October 4, 2007 at 8:45 am PST

In Reply to: growing red garnet yams posted by william douglas-douglas diggitt on April 26, 2007 at 6:01 am:

I grow my own sweet potato slips. Slips that you grow, will grow better than what you buy and be fresher.

The growing process is the same for all types of sweet potatoes.

Poke a toothpick about an inch from the bottom. Then cross another toothpick. Put sweet potato in a glass or jar with the toothpicks on the ledge, holding the potato upright. Make sure you fill the glass or jar with water to the top. I then put this jar in my kitchen window. Fill with water as is needed, to keep the bottom of the potato in water. Once a week, dump out water and rinse the jar and potato roots off. Then put clean water in the jar. The plant will start putting on runners (on the part of the potato that is not in water). Once these runners get to be about 4 inches long, snap them off right next to the potato (a little bit of potato usually comes off with these runners). Put these runners in another glass jar with water and roots will soon form. Keep doing this until you have the number of plants you want.

I've been doing this for years. I always have a bumper crop of sweet potatoes.

But, sweet potatoes are a warm season crop. Usually, you start your sweet potato in the kitchen window around the end of February. By May, you will have enough plants ready to grow.

I live in Alabama and sweet potatoes are usually planted in the ground around mid May. The ground has to be good and warm. I hill up a raised bed. Plant my slips in the center of the bed about 2 feet apart. I dig a hole, fill it with water, put slip in the hole with leaves just barely sticking out of the top of the ground. I then mulch my plants. I put a doubled sheet of newspaper on top of the ground and put mulch about 4 to 6 inches deep around plants. I mulch the entire sweet potato bed. You have to make sure the bed is good and wet before you put the mulch down. The mulch will keep the plants wet enough. You do not want the ground soggy or the sweet potatoes that are growing, will rot. Rarely do I have to water them again. Just check occasionally to make sure the ground is still moist...especially if you are having drought. During drought times, you will probably have to water them again several times, until the ground stays wet enough. You will have to dig the sweet potatoes before it frosts. Frost will make them rot. So, they have to be dug before frost hits the plants. I dig them up and let them air dry for a few days in the sun. Then, store or put up, however you choose.

Sounds complicated but they are easy to grow!

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