20 May 2013 No Comments
Wow. It’s finally happened. My sweet potato slips have sprouted!
Aren’t they wonderful? Now mind you, not all of them have sprouted. As with humans, you have your early bloomers and your late bloomers and so it goes with these little beauties. But don’t dismay–Mother Nature has a plan! By allowing only a few to sprout, she’s encouraging you to “stagger” your planting.
“Stagger my planting? What the heck does that mean?”
Simply put, you plant a few slips this weekend, a few next weekend and continue until all your sprouts have been planted in ground. While it’s great fun to reap a HUGE harvest at once, who’s going to eat all those sweet potatoes? Seriously, I like sweet potato pie and sweet mashed potatoes with maple, brown sugar and OJ as much as the next gal, but we must set limits. And these gorgeous goldens will last longer in ground than in your pantry.
Trust me. The kids and I have seen this with our very own eyes. Besides, they get bigger if you leave them in ground and who doesn’t enjoy a big, fat sweet potato drenched in cinnamon butter? Mmmm. This is why we grow them.
To plant, place entire potato and sprouts in ground and water well. Speaking of wells, do create that “well” around your new sprouts to retain the water and keep them moist. It will ensure a strong start on their rather long growing season. Sweet potatoes take about 3 – 4 months to fully mature. Can you say fall delicacy?
You can also pluck the sprouts from the potato body and plant them alone. If you go with this method, wait until you have a well-developed root network (it will be stringy and hairy) before you plant in your garden and moisture is a must.
But only in the beginning. Once established, sweet potatoes will be fine if you forget to water a day or two. They also prefer a sandy soil versus deep, dark and moist. Another reason this Florida gardener loves them so much!
If you haven’t started your slips, it’s not too late. Check this earlier post for how-to instructions.