Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Is my slip showing?

Meet George and Gracie. They're the sweet potatoes that live on top of my bread box in the kitchen. I desperately want to grow sweet potatoes in the garden but I can't find anywhere to buy a handful of slips for cheap. I've trolled the popular seed selling websites and they all want to sell them in bulk or are charging an arm and a leg for something I'll inevitably kill.

So I spoke with EG at Our Engineered Garden to find out how to start my own slips. I read that a slip is a single plant (with small roots) that is sprouted on the sweet potato root and then slipped off so that you may plant it in the garden to grow a sweet potato plant. EG said to stick some sweet potatoes in a glass jar and then when the tops sprout I can remove them and somehow plant them in the garden. Granted I am still not 100% sure what a slip looks like, but I gather that I'll recognize it once I grow one.

I'm convinced this will all make sense once George and Gracie begin to grow. They've been sitting on the bread box for over a week and have started to grow roots, which is promising. I assume at some point we'll have sproutage on the top of the potatoes and then it'll all make sense.

This isn't my first time growing a sweet potato. Back in my working days an entire group of us decided to grow sweet potato plants on our desks. Mine was a hermaphroditic sweet potato appropriately called Hermie. He was the only one that didn't grow. This should tell you a lot about my gardening skills. Every other cube rat grew a sweet potato plant. I ended up making a dunce cap out of a post-it note and putting it on Hermie's head so that it didn't look quite so bald compared to the other blossoming plants. We actually potato-napped a co-worker's wonderfully-blooming sweet potato plant and sent her daily ransom notes showing a gloved hand holding opened scissors on the plant. She ended up getting quite upset and we had to give her plant back. So I held on to Hermie until his dunce cap fell off and he went moldy.

Let's hope George and Gracie turn things around for me.


Dani said...

Good luck! We grew them last season, but the nematoads did a lot of damage. Hopefully, your outcome will be better. :)

Anonymous said...

You are so weird.

Anonymous said...

I hope they grow! Sometimes, we just have to make some mistakes first before we actually perfect hte process. Trust me. I've been there. :)

Kate and Crew said...

Dani - Nematodes? Blech. I have a bit of a worm phobia. Not a good phobia for an aspiring gardener, huh? LOL

JL - Those who have lived in yurts should not throw stones. LOL.

NatCan - yeah - I'm aaallllll about the mistakes here!

Corner Gardener Sue said...

I'm glad you got the information you were looking for. Was it you who asked me how I grew my sweet potatoes, and I forgot to reply? I am on the scatterbrained side. I get mine at a local nursery that sells them in clumps.

I'm curious to see how yours grow. I plan to experiment with different ornamental sweet potatoes to see how they taste, too.

Anonymous said...

Hmm...Hermy must have been a genetic potato freak ,hopefully that nice couple will provide you with lots of offspring. My Sweet slips should be coming within a couple of weeks, if you want I can take a pic and e-mail it to you.

Anonymous said...

Kate - Yep, that's how you do it. When the sprouts on top get 2-3 inches tall, cut them off at the surface, then stick the end of each stem in some water. They will start growing their own roots then. Just take the tiny seedlings, and plant them in the garden just like any other plant.


Kate and Crew said...

Sue - yeah I'm pretty sure I did as a sweet tater question on your site. No worries though!!

Kelly - I'd LOVE a pic of your slips - then I'd know what mine should look like.

EG - thanks! As always, I'll be coming to you for advice.

Daphne Gould said...

Oh dear, it looks like George is sweet on Gracie right now and I know the ending to that story already. So sad. I guess it is what I get when I read blogs backwards.

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