Saturday, March 14, 2015

How I Grow My Sweet Potato Slips

Dear Family & Friends

In countries where we get a share of  winter season, growing sweet potato is not as straight forward as in the tropics. Our family enjoys eating sweet potato, but it is not common stuff in the market and a bit pricey in the supermarket. So, growing your own has become my goal.

My sweet potato buried in moist compost for the purpose of growing 'slips' to plant out.

Sweet potatoes are started from slips (rooted stem). You can purchase slips or start your own. Starting slips using sweet potato bought from grocery store may be problematic. There may be varieties that do not grow well in your area, and/or the roots may have been treated with sprouting inhibitors unless they're grown organically.

Sweet Potato sitting in the water inside a bottle cloche to grow some slips

At first, I was so anxious about the process of growing sweet potato slips, that my husband went and found a distributor in the UK who sells ready slips for £2/slip!  No, I'm not paying that!! I insist on growing my own and refuse to be defeated!  I did had my share of failure in the past. I tried placing the sweet potato in a bottle of water to start with...but after a few days, I've noticed it starts getting I quickly changed my tactic and half buried it in a tub of moist compost...and gave it a lot of tender loving observation, and kept it warmth by placing it inside the warmest room, even sat the tub in a heated paving stone placed on top of the log burner at night. In 3 weeks time, I got my success! It's still growing more slips... so far, with two sweet potato I can see 10 slips...£20!! Ha! Ha! I can just see pound sterling!!
Another half buried sweet potato growing it's first two slips...more to come!

If you want to grow your own slips, start 6-8 weeks before planting time. Select 1 1/2 inch diametre sweet potatoes. Soak the sweet potatoes in water for two hours, then place them in a flat or pot half filled with soil or screened compost. Cover with 2 inches of lose soil. Keep the soil consistently moist in a warm and sunny spot indoors. When you are ready to plant, cut your slips an inch away from the  "mother sweet potato" to avoid transferring any plant diseases. Slips should be 8-10 inches long when pulled.

Weather is unpredictable.. started some direct seed sowing last week, but this week, it's snow building fun!

Our next process would be the planting side of it. I will post again later on once the weather warms up for us to get things going in the garden.

Hope you have a happy gardening day today too:)




  1. It must almost the time to dig out sweet potatoes in your area.

  2. Wow, I've been planning to plant sweet potatoes too. Glad I found your blog. I love gardening as well!