The Best Way to Start Sweet Potato Slips

If you are my neighbor, specifically my neighbor on the south side of the house, I would just like to let you know that I am not, in fact, growing marijuana.  But I am worried that you might assume so given all the cords and grow lights and seedling flats so clearly visible in the window.

So let me just state it, for the record here: not marijuana.

Not that I would ever grow marijuana but, if I did, I would not be dumb enough to grow it next to a window with the blinds open, especially when the next-door neighbor is a retired cop.

It’s about this time every year when I do the most exciting thing a gardener can do in February: I start my seeds!

Last year I also decided that I would—for the first time ever—grow sweet potatoes and, not only that but I would grow my own sweet potato slips, too.

There were various methods recommended online so, me being a Virgo and all, I decided I would try them all out to see what worked the best.

I tried some with the toothpick-holding-the-potato-half-in-a-jar-of-water method; some I just buried in potting soil, and the other ones I just cut in half and stuck them in a bowl of water—similar to the first method, but sans the toothpicks and suspension (and tedium) part.

Well, I’m here to say that my experiment was a success and that I now know the best way to start sweet potato slips.  And unfortunately for us lazybones out there, the best way to start slips is with the ‘toothpicks suspending the sweet potato in a jar of water method.’

The sweet potatoes I did this way grew roots and slips more quickly than the other method, and grew more slips overall than the other two methods.

In fact, the ‘potato half in a bowl of water’ method was a dismal failure.  Not only did neither of them grow any noticeable roots, after a while they started to rot and smell funny, and never produced a single slip.

In case you’re wondering how these turned out in my garden last year well, Ha.Ha.Ha. Funny story.  I put all the slips out on the front porch in potting soil to harden them off and then…I never, ever got around to planting them because, since they are such sprawlers I couldn’t decide where best to plant them.  So I just…didn’t.

Um, whoops.  Sorry, little slips that never fulfilled your destiny of growing sweet potatoes.  Perhaps I’ll do better this year—

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