|Start sweet potato slips for planting by placing a sweet potato in a jar of water. The bottom of the potato will start to root and the top will form bunches of leaves (slips). The slips are small vines that can eventually be planted in the ground.|
From everything I have heard, sweet potatoes are some of the hardiest, most easily grown, most versatal garden plants in the south. While I have grown sweet potato vines before I have never grown them for food. From my experience, the vines are extremely tough, so tough in-fact it can be difficult to kill them. The only thing that can kill them is a hard frost, which here in Phoenix only happens every three years or so. Late this spring I will be planting some sweet potato slips in hopes of producing some potatoes for next fall. Sweet potato slips simply are short vines that sprout off of a sweet potato. You can buy them through seed catalogs but they are also extremely easy to produce on your own. All you need is a sweet potato.
1. Set a sweet potato in a jar of water such as in the picture above.
2. The sweet potato will start to root in the water and form bunches of leaves at the top. These bunches of leaves will eventually lengthen and turn into vines. These short vines are the slips. The sweet potato can be left in the water and used as a house plant if you don't want to grow potatoes.
3. Once a slip is about 8 inches or longer, cut it off and plant it in soil. This slip will root in moist soil and form tubers. Tubers simply are roots a plant uses to store its food, in this case the tuber is a sweet potato.
4. It will take at least 100 days to form sweet potato tubers and after that time you can dig them up and eat them.
A possibly easier way to do this is to simply partially bury a sweet potato in moist soil. Eventually a plant will take off from this buried potato.