How to Grow Sweet Potato Vine Plant
Have anyone of you out there eaten a sweet potato I’m sure everyone has, right? Silly question but I had run into some people who had never had sweet potatoes just regular potatoes. It’s common in mashed potatoes, french fries, and potato chips but sweet potatoes not so much. That gave me an idea to write this post.
We use sweet potatoes to make chips, french fries, sweet potatoes pies, and soups. This list goes on and on. What’s not to like a potato you can eat the tubers full with vitamin A and C and other many minerals?
Sweet potatoes vines are known in the Asian community as edible vines. My mom would harvest a handful, steamed it and dipped in homemade Thai chili pepper sauce so spicy and good. Oh, just thinking about it makes me salivate. Oh my goodness!
We used it as salad mix. It has a sweet-tart sour bitterness that just hit the spot. We used it like a tortilla to scoop up larb. What is larb? It’s Thai larb it’s a type of Thai salad with ground meat with minced, lemongrass, mint, Vietnamese coriander, kaffir lime leaves, mixed in with fish sauce and lemon juice. It’s really tasty.
Warning: Sweet potatoes grow just like the regular potato. However, they are not related in any way. Sweet potatoes are from the morning glory family like the yams and their leaves are edible. Regular potatoes are from the tomatoes, peppers, and deadly nightshade family and do not have edible leaves. Take care when planting.
How to Grow Sweet Potato Vine Plant
Things you’ll need:
- Sweet potato Slips
Now, these are optional if you already have them. However, the sweet potato slips are important. 🙂 Without them, you have no plants.
Growing sweet potatoes is like growing any tuber plants. Sweet potatoes will grow in almost any dirt without good fertilizers. Compost is great for the sweet potatoes to grow in. They are pretty hardy plants. However, if you grow them in tight or clay dirt the yield could be small, misshapen, or irregular tubers/roots. They grow well with loamy soil.
Watering the sweet potatoes from the ground and soak them once a week for better yield. Must keep the soil most down to 4 inches. I use my finger to dig into the soil if it’s moist then it is fine. If it’s too soggy let it dry out for a couple of days then water in the early morning so the afternoon sun can evaporate the water.
Now living here in Yuma avoid shallow watering or watering in the afternoon in the summer. That will only cook the vines off.
You can use the sweet potato slips from the local nursery or order from the internet. Sweet potatoes are warm season plant so the best time to plant sweet potatoes is in March and April. If the ground isn’t at least 70° F or 21.1° C It won’t grow.
Okay, this is where the containers’ come in. If you have a small place and or patio in apartments. Container gardening is great for you and sweet potatoes grow great in containers’ as well. They may be little weird looking tubs but they taste just the same way as planting them in the ground.
What’s great about it is that you can harvest the leaves for your salad and then when the tubers are ready you can have them as well. It’s all a win-win situation here.
Now there are many ways you can plant the slips. Slips are the growing shoots from the sweet potatoes. If you have one sweet potato with multiple shoots you may cut them and plant them individually as one about three feet apart. You don’t have to bury them deep only lightly cover them up so some shoots are showing.
You can either put one in the water like you would do an avocado seed. Put toothpicks around the sweet potato and submerge half of the sweet potato in. The slips will start to grow. When the slips roots are about 5 to 6 inches long take them outside to plant them.
Propagating Sweet Potato Vines
You can still get sweet potatoes from sweet potato vines as well. It really easy, take the older vine that you want to propagate did into some loamy foam soil. Lay the vine into the soil but leave the growing top showing for photosynthesis and soon you will get a line of roots growing to form sweet potatoes.
Depending on how lucky or how green your thumbs are you can harvest in 70 to 90 days just like planting slips. Mine takes a little longer to grow because my sand isn’t the greatest to grow sweet potatoes. This year I will be using the raised garden bed I use to grow carrots and grow sweet potatoes.
Until Next Time Have Fun in the Sun
I will be planting my sweet potato vine plant in March maybe earlier if out weather warms up a little. It’s 72° F (22° C) at the moment but as the day progresses it’s going down to 53°F (11° C) the ground will be too cold for the sweet potato to produce tubers.
Because I like to have greens in my meal. Growing them now isn’t a bad idea. I harvest the leaves for my consumption. So, how ever you like to eat this marvelous nutritious plant it’s up to you.
Here is a video I found on YouTube that does the same thing I do. Isn’t that awesome!
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This is based on where I reside and my own experiences.
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