YUMMY SWEET POTATOES ARE ON OUR MINDS
My little family loves sweet potatoes. They are so yummy, sweet and just all around healthy for you.
Sweet potatoes do not last long in my house.
It does not matter if they are baked in the oven, smoked on the grill or air fried, they will be eaten fast.
Which brings me here today. I became very curious as to whether I could grow sweet potatoes in my own backyard garden.
After researching I first thought there is no way something like that would work for me.
I had to gather some courage and decide to not let the fear of failure take hold of me.
I took action and started to research everything I could about how to grow sweet potatoes in a small area.
So here’s the skinny on the how to grow sweet potato slips in a 20 gallon container.
My research on google led me to find that the time to plant sweet potatoes in my growing zone is June.
So I gathered all of my research and meshed my findings together to create my own sweet potato growing plan to fit my backyard garden needs.
Plus I wanted to figure out how to do this on a small scale utilizing items we already had on hand so I did not have to spend a bunch of money.
Frugal farming at its best right.
I was nervous, I had no idea how this experiment would turn out, but figured I needed to just jump in and begin the process.
Plus I was able to receive cool mom points from my son, because it took on a science approach.
FIRST WE HAD TO GET THE SLIPS GROWING
Facts about sweet potatoes:
- Sweet potato slips are shoots that grow from a mature sweet potato.
- Each sweet potato can produce up to 50 slips.
How to grow sweet potato slips:
- I took an organic potato I purchased from the grocery store, cleaned it up and put 3 tooth picks in it about a 1/3 from the top and placed it in a wide mouth glass jar submerged in water
- I decided to keep the jar in the greenhouse because it provides a warm area to help the production system move a little more rapid
- After about four weeks in water the roots system at the bottom of the potato started to sprout
- By weeks five and six I had slips growing, they looked like vines and the bottoms were connected to a larger root system forming at the bottom of the potato
- Once the slips were longer with multiple leaves, it was time to pick them off the potato and place them in a jar of water of their own
- By weeks 7-8 slips in all jars were more defined with root systems and ready to plant
I really could not believe it. It was amazing that one potato could produce multiple slips at such a rapid pace.
It was like raising rabbits, these slips would multiply and grow literally over night.
I soon found myself running through the house, opening every cabinet looking for as many tall jars as I could grab in order to keep growing more slips so they could form their own root systems.
They loved the warmth of the greenhouse and the shoots stretched out in search for the sunniest part they could find.
They took on a life form of their own.
TIME TO TRANSPLANT THE SLIPS INTO THEIR NEW HOME
Soon I started to run out room, and knew it was time to graduate these fine fellows into their next home which was to be planted outside in a 20 gallon bucket.
We chose the bucket route because we have small area in our backyard to grow in, and this bucket is the perfect size in to have in close quarters.
See our video on how we transplanted the sweet potato slips into a 20 Gallon Bucket.
Steps taken to plant sweet potato slips in a 20 Gallon Bucket:
- Repurposed a tall trellis frame we had on hand and secured it where wanted to grow the potatoes
- Purchased a cheap 20 gallon bucket from Lowes, that a was around $7.99 and drilled 6-8 holes at the bottom
- Placed the bucked on top of a old frame from an electric box so it would be able to drain a little more proficiently as we watered
- Prepped our soil, mixing manure with garden soil
- While pouring the soil into the bucket, we sloped it towards the top, almost like a skateboard ramp or a mountain side of a ski slope.
- Watered the soil to a consistency that made it caked up and muddy
- Sprayed a mix of fish minerals mixed with water all over the mass area of the soil so that fertilizer would have a slow release over time for the slips as they grew
- Lined up the slips with their root systems towards the bottom of the slope and top leaf portion towards the high end of the slope
- Covered the bottom portion of the slip up with the rest of the soil mix as though we were tucking them into bed
- Added more water so they could begin their next growing phase
They have loved their new environment.
We are watering them twice a day, early morning and late evening.
Since the potato slips were use to being in water to keep their root systems alive we have been keeping them very saturated.
As the slips continue to grow we will use the trellis to help them grow straight up instead of flat on the ground.
Working with them through these processes has been like taking your child to enter into kindergarten, it is nerve racking but so exciting to see them spread the wings and grow even more.
So if I can do this, you certainly can. If anything it is just good knowledge to have.
We will keep you posted on their growing behaviors and progress. It is going to take several months before it is time to see our first potato arrive.
We will for sure keep you in the loop.
Fingers crossed that in several months we will be celebrating with a happy dance of potatoes rolling out of the bucket.
A girl can dream can’t she, ( I say with a big sweet potato sized smile on my face).