I love sweet potato vines trailing out of my hanging baskets in the summer and fall. (See my hanging baskets.) Rather than buy them this year, I thought I would grow my own. After all, it’s easy.
All you need is a sweet potato, some toothpicks, a jar, and some water.
Stick some toothpicks on one end of the sweet potato and stick it in a jar of water. You only want the bottom of the potato in the water. I made four. I was ambitious.
Put your jar(s) some place with light and wait for roots to appear. Once you have roots, cut off slips and put them in some soil to grow.
Only I never got that far. Six weeks of waiting and changing the water and keeping the cats out of it and even replacing one jar when the cats dumped it over and broke it and–
NO SWEET POTATO VINES. Nothing. Nada! It should work. But, for me, alas, no.
A reader took pity on me when I wrote about my sweet potato vine tribulations in the January CITR newsletter. Art from Winfield, West Virginia, starts his sweet potatoes this way:
“Cut your sweet potatoes in half lengthwise and lay the pieces cut side down in aluminum cake plates (or any low shallow pan) filled with moist peat moss. Put a shallow covering of moist peat moss over the potato pieces and wrap the whole thing in a plastic bag. As soon as the slips appear take off the plastic bag and place container in a sunny window. When the slips get a few leaves just pull it off the slips and stick them in some soil. Each slip makes a separate plant.”
Of course, I have no peat moss. However! I decided to attempt Art’s method with some moist potting soil, using a tin foil loaf pan.
I even bought a new sweet potato.
By the time I get some sweet potato vines going, I’ll have spent so much I could have bought twice as many sweet potato vines already started at the garden center. But. I’m on a mission! I can’t be stopped! It’s winter, and this makes me feel like I’m gardening.
Here we go.
I hope none of the hungry people around here mistake that for dessert.
P.S. See how my sweet potato vines using Art’s method turned out here.