There are differing schools of thought on sprouting your own sweet potatoes. I am always one to question, why do I have to go the traditional route? About three or so years ago I heard that you don’t have to buy slips from a garden center or mail order. WHAT? YOU DON’T? NO WAY? Apparently, you can expand your options by simply purchasing your own ORGANIC sweet potatoes at a local grocery store and sprout them yourself, in a jar, filed with your own water. Imagine that?
What I found was many articles saying it doesn’t work, while others were very encouraging saying, “Go for it!” I went with the latter. I went to my local natural food store which had a slew of varieties to select from: Stokes Purple, Japanese, Garnet & Jewel. I came home, pulled out my stock of old pickle, salsa, salad dressing and mason jars. Then I grabbed some masking tape, a couple different colored Sharpies and some toothpicks. In less than 10 minutes I had windowsill full of sweet potatoes suspended in water. Now all I had to do was wait, and wait, and wait. This is not a quick process folks. And don’t forget to label each jar with the date started as well as the variety name. It’s super helpful to gain a better knowledge of how long things take in the plant world when compared to our world of instant gratification.
I had to wait a couple months but the slips did start to grow and once they were at least 6 inches long, I would snip them off the potato and put them in a separate jar (labeled) to root. One tip, save yourself the slime and remove all the leaves on the slip that will rest below the water line. And take the time to change the water in all the jars about once a week. I mean would you want to drink water that’s been on the counter that long?
Once the soil is warm enough (at least 60 degrees) and the slips are nice and rooted out, it’s time to plant! Make sure your soil is nice and loose. And did I mention that sweet potatoes love water!