Saving Sweet Potato

If you would like advice from the Kitchen Garden editorial team, ask here. Steve, Emma or Tony will pop in with their best advice.

Moderators: KG Steve, Chantal, Tigger, peter

Westi
KG Regular
Posts: 4823
Joined: Thu Oct 30, 2008 4:46 pm
Location: Christchurch, Dorset
x 863

Re: Saving Sweet Potato

Postby Westi » Wed Oct 21, 2020 7:35 pm

Thanks for the quick response. I think (well maybe not very well), but comparing to potatoes the drier flesh ones crisp up more so the white could be worth a try. Although I am partial to the sticky caramelised bits on roasted orange ones, the Mr is so/so & diabetic. Sweet potatoes are low GI so I could convert him! He can't say No to just a couple or roast spuds then moans about his blood sugars. I do realise I am setting myself an unlikely successful challenge trying to find them but you never know.

Cheers again!
0 x
Westi
giaur500
KG Regular
Posts: 101
Joined: Wed Sep 04, 2019 12:51 pm
x 60

Re: Saving Sweet Potato

Postby giaur500 » Wed Oct 21, 2020 7:52 pm

Definitely white are worth a try. Even if you find them not as tasty as orange. Because they grow much better in temperate climate zone. Btw, purple is more difficult to harvest, because they grow much deeper than orange or white - longer roots and need to dig deeper. Maybe that's the reason of higher price, as they are more problematic.to lift
1 x
giaur500
KG Regular
Posts: 101
Joined: Wed Sep 04, 2019 12:51 pm
x 60

Re: Saving Sweet Potato

Postby giaur500 » Thu Oct 29, 2020 6:05 pm

How do you store tubers for long time? I keep mine in the dark, 13-15 degree. Oranges and white ones look fine, but purples are soft and withered, especially, smallest ones. It seems purples are not only problematic to lift, but also problematic to keep fresh. I think I'm not going to grow purples next year. Tubers look soft and withered after only 10 days.
0 x
Westi
KG Regular
Posts: 4823
Joined: Thu Oct 30, 2008 4:46 pm
Location: Christchurch, Dorset
x 863

Re: Saving Sweet Potato

Postby Westi » Thu Oct 29, 2020 8:02 pm

That is interesting as well, so they are very much a seasonal crop not a keeper. I dry off completely then they are stored in wooden slatted bamboo trays that slip into a potato paper sack & stored in the cool porch. As I've only grown orange it was probably more luck & their tough nature than my storing.

This is my very last one from the 2019 crop which is just in the veg tiered thing in the kitchen & has been for several weeks. I went to take a pic & note it is growing slips, so I may have to start early on creating next years crop so they are healthy proper plants like yours. (Had a Thai curry in mind for it as well), but shall sacrifice my meal for next years crop & potential meals.

I know I've asked you loads of questions but I would really appreciate your opinion & suggestions to take these wee slips on to eventual proper crops growing. I have had mixed success with the avocado growing technique with the toothpicks & glass of water & funnily just last week saw a post that suggested just laying them in a tray of compost on their side about a 1/3rd buried, but not much detail on watering the compost or just leaving or even basics like light or dark, although I did get some good slips from one that fell into the cupboard when I was putting my allotment shoes in there, so that was dark.

I'm a wee bit excited finding these wee slips!
IMG_5622.JPG
IMG_5622.JPG (1.99 MiB) Viewed 1000 times
0 x
Westi
giaur500
KG Regular
Posts: 101
Joined: Wed Sep 04, 2019 12:51 pm
x 60

Re: Saving Sweet Potato

Postby giaur500 » Thu Oct 29, 2020 9:11 pm

Some people say there's a need to cure them first (2 weeks high temperature and humidity), then eat after 6-8 weeks (not earlier). And keep wrapped each tuber in paper. Some others says there's no any special treatment required, just store similar as potato, put into cotton sack or plastic crate all of them together and keep in dark cool place. So I am confused a bit. It looks like I will not able to overwinter purples. But I don't want to lose oranges and whites as well.

Regarding to your question. Slips as on your pic is a good start, but it may be too early to start now. Ideally, you should start to grow slips at the middle of February or begin of March. Otherwise, you will need to overwinter your plants.

To let to grow mine, I put bottom of tuber into water to get new roots, then let the roots to grow, but keep only roots underwater, tuber should be dry to prevent rotting. Keep indoors on direct sunlight. Roots grows very quickly and slips a bit slower. 10-15 cm slips are ready to put to water to get roots on them, when roots are 2-3 cm long, put into very wet soil in smal container (mine was actually a mud). Then let soil to dry and become firm, in the meantime roots grow while soil becomes more firm and dry. After a week, when small container is full of roots, either move to garden or (if it's still too cold outside), to bigger pot. Watering should be morderate and pots should be moved outdoor to direct sunlight always when possible, then moved indoor again when it's cold. Instead of throwing away bulb used to to grow slips, keep one slip on tuber, then also put tuber with roots to ground, but soil should by dry, only put big amount of water at the bottom of the hole, then cover tuber with dry soil. Only roots should be placed to wet soil, tuber needs to be covered with only dry doil. Tuber planted this way does not need any watering at all during season. When planting, choose most sunny place. Hot soil is most important. I am not experienced with greenhouse or tunnel, but in solid ground, direct sunlight all day is recommended.

Btw I've heard it's even better and less problematic to grow slips from tuber placed not in water, but soil in pot instead as you wrote. It may be true, but I've never tried this way. Produced slips are going to be the same I think, but it probably grows slower at the first stage and less risk to root the bulb, so probably you can get more slips.

Put to compost... well, I don't think that's the best solution. I assume you are not located in tropical climate zone, but rather temperate as I am, so if you put it to compost, you are going to get more compost only. Too cold to grow outside.
0 x
Westi
KG Regular
Posts: 4823
Joined: Thu Oct 30, 2008 4:46 pm
Location: Christchurch, Dorset
x 863

Re: Saving Sweet Potato

Postby Westi » Fri Oct 30, 2020 7:14 pm

giaur500! Thank you! That is a lot of different ways to experiment with. This is the only tuber I have at the moment and as it is well cured I shall use your rooting & potting on technique with it. I've not harvested this years as they are still going strong so that should give me another couple to try the other methods.

In the same vane it will also allow me a few weeks to get the potted ones started off a bit earlier & the light in the tunnel is pretty good as I have one of those covers with the bubbles like the Eden Project that refracts any light, but if too much cloud then they can go home & be put near the propagator which has lights to boost the meagre sunshine & right beside a south facing windowsill. They will be grown in the tunnel, moments of nicely temperate climate here but can't be guaranteed on, so the plan is they go in where the winter salad crops are & the soil will be a lot warmer than outside ready for them.

Thanks again for sharing your knowledge, very much appreciated & I have noted how many readers are also popping on this thread so lots of growers benefitting. I shall share my progress.
0 x
Westi
giaur500
KG Regular
Posts: 101
Joined: Wed Sep 04, 2019 12:51 pm
x 60

Re: Saving Sweet Potato

Postby giaur500 » Fri Oct 30, 2020 9:19 pm

Well, as yours will be grown in tunnel, it will be easier to grow. When growing completly outdoor, any single small mistake causes very poor results when harvesting. Maybe I should buy greenhouse to make my life easier, but satisfaction from success without any greenhouse/tunnel is even bigger :D

Last 4 plants white variety will be lift tommorow. We'll see how it looks. Leaves are almost dead, it's time
0 x
giaur500
KG Regular
Posts: 101
Joined: Wed Sep 04, 2019 12:51 pm
x 60

Re: Saving Sweet Potato

Postby giaur500 » Sat Oct 31, 2020 12:44 pm

White variety:

Image

Image

Planted: June 15
Harvested: October 31

Planted outdoors, slips 10 cm long. The best variety to grow outdoors in cold climate. I'd suggest to try.

I've also noticed something inteteresting. If you plant from tuber, old tuber grows and only a few new tubers are created. Instead, old tuber keeps growing and new tubers are very small. That's actually not what we want
1 x
User avatar
robo
KG Regular
Posts: 2514
Joined: Wed Oct 24, 2012 10:22 pm
Location: st.helens
x 823

Re: Saving Sweet Potato

Postby robo » Sun Nov 01, 2020 12:40 pm

My coworker planted two in the poly tunnel early in the season neither of us has grown them before ,today was the day of the unveiling,I like a clown put the fork to near the first one and speared a big one right through the centre I pulled back aways on the second she got quite a few for her effort and was more than happy , now folks what’s the best way of cooking them
0 x
Westi
KG Regular
Posts: 4823
Joined: Thu Oct 30, 2008 4:46 pm
Location: Christchurch, Dorset
x 863

Re: Saving Sweet Potato

Postby Westi » Sun Nov 01, 2020 5:55 pm

Cook them like a jacket spud & when out melt garlic butter into the flesh, (or just butter & pepper), wonderful roasted, makes fab soups, with plain sweet potato or pimp it up with some Asian flavours. Basically anything you can do with a pumpkin you can just substitute sweet potato but they cook quicker.
0 x
Westi
giaur500
KG Regular
Posts: 101
Joined: Wed Sep 04, 2019 12:51 pm
x 60

Re: Saving Sweet Potato

Postby giaur500 » Sun Nov 01, 2020 9:01 pm

I preffer roasted with olive oil, add some garlic, fresh rosemary, and toasted sunflower seeds + raisins, a bit of salt and hot dried ground chilli pepper.

In my opinion purple variety is best for roasting and orange best to boil. Also, leaves can be used as spinach substitute. But I'm not spinach fan, so never tried that
0 x
giaur500
KG Regular
Posts: 101
Joined: Wed Sep 04, 2019 12:51 pm
x 60

Re: Saving Sweet Potato

Postby giaur500 » Wed Nov 25, 2020 2:13 pm

Tiger slugs have attacked my sweet potato tubers. I found storage clamp looks to be good way to store tubers. It's indeed good way so far, but apparently I have not protected it enouch and I found 5 slugs inside, eating my tubers. They don't attack carrot or potato though.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Limax_maximus I am unable to desttoy them, they keep making damages in my garden every year.
0 x
Westi
KG Regular
Posts: 4823
Joined: Thu Oct 30, 2008 4:46 pm
Location: Christchurch, Dorset
x 863

Re: Saving Sweet Potato

Postby Westi » Wed Nov 25, 2020 7:18 pm

Interesting, well probably irritating is more correct. I just dry & bag mine in those paper potato sacks & keep them in the wee shed at home. Mind I should be saying I did just dry & bag as I have none. When I dug them on the weekend there wasn't one without a rat nibble, well 1/2 eaten to be more accurate. In fact one vine had none at all just the hollow shape outline of the tubers in the soil with a neat little tunnel running off from it & a few dried bits of the tuber as evidence there had been tubers.
0 x
Westi
giaur500
KG Regular
Posts: 101
Joined: Wed Sep 04, 2019 12:51 pm
x 60

Re: Saving Sweet Potato

Postby giaur500 » Wed Nov 25, 2020 9:59 pm

Rats are irritating, but house martens are even worse. What they don't eat, they will pee on. Smell is terrible
0 x
Westi
KG Regular
Posts: 4823
Joined: Thu Oct 30, 2008 4:46 pm
Location: Christchurch, Dorset
x 863

Re: Saving Sweet Potato

Postby Westi » Thu Nov 26, 2020 10:16 pm

Glad I don't have them but 'rat' is a pretty distinctive smell that you recognise when visited often by the gits. I have done what you recommended with the last tuber from last year & amazed with the root growth but now the slips are growing as well, not by much for those already present but more slips. I'm afraid I am hacking this post, but really like them.

This solo tuber is still in a pint glass growing roots & slips in the kitchen. Now I believe you indicated I could get a crop from a big root growth as well. They are not there yet, but can you confirm that good root growth can be get crops in a season, when do you know it's time to pot on, do you still rescue the slips before you focus on the roots? Do you pot on into compost or a special medium? I have a heated propagator if needed but can you do an idiots guide?
0 x
Westi

Return to “Ask the team”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest