Thursday, June 10, 2010

Sweet Potatoes In Containers - My Pots Runneth Over

Earlier this week, EG put up some pictures showing his sweet potatoes in his containers. I decided to do mine in containers this year as well, but I didn't have his long ones. I only had large circular pots, but I decided to try it anyway.
Last year I let the runners go and only had a hand full of stringy potatoes. This year I had all intentions of cutting the runners so the plants could focus on the tubers.
All intentions aside. They just look so pretty trailing down like that. I'll cut them soon, but they're such a nice addition to the front walk and look so much prettier than the dying potato plants out there.
I noticed last year that all of the potatoes formed near the surface and not to the bottom which makes me worried since there's not a lot of surface area in those pots. I'm so curious as to how this is going to work out I can hardly wait to dig them up some time in October.


  1. Ribbit - I NEED YOUR HELP! I've always wanted to grow sweet potoatoes, but I have never successfully made these "slips" people always talk about. My son came home with a sweet potato plant he's been growing in Kindergarten (potato - toothpicks - cup of water) and it's big, green, bushy and healthy.

    How can I go from this plant on my counter to growing sweet potatoes in my SFG? Last time I tried cutting off the sprouting bits from the potato and putting them in water, I failed miserably.

    What's the key?

    Help me Obi Wan.

  2. Ahhh, Grasshopper.....the way to grow sweet potatoes from home grown slips is to...

    Cheat. I bought slips at the garden store. No making individual slips for me.

    Maybe instead of cutting the growing parts off, just plant the entire blasted thing and see what it will do.

  3. I didn't plant any since I don't eat many myself, but when hubby is back next year I am going to do this! He loves them and your beautiful pots convinced me to grow them on my deck so they don't take up space in my beds! Gorgeous!

  4. Kate,

    Follow the link below to see how I started my Sweet Potatoes. They rooted very well and are in the garden now. I will add updated photos of how they are doing later this week. Hope this helps.

  5. (at your comment to Kate & Crew) Cheater, Cheater, sweet potato eater!

    Kate~ When the "slips" that grow out of the top of the SP are big enough, gently twist them out of the SP and place in a new cup of water to root. You can keep the original SP in water to grow more slips.

    Ribbit~The plants are soooo lovely looking, and are making my mouth water. SPs are one of my favorites that I don't eat nearly enough of because the rest of the family isn't as appreciative of them as I am. I hope they produce well for you, and I can't wait to see the results!

  6. The sweet potatoes do look really nice in those pots.

  7. Hey, cheaters never prosper if they don't admit their loser status. ;)

    There are ornamental sweet potatoes that just have the beautiful vines, but these serve a dual purpose and I'm thrilled with them so far. I hope they work out well.

  8. Someday I really have to try sweet potatoes in the garden. I love them so much.

  9. The small amount of soil surface area of your containers could mean less tubers - at least I think....I'm pretty sure that as the runners make their way across the ground, roots will form in places - meaning more tubers. (At least I think) Someone please correct me if i'm wrong.

    Oh, and leave it up to Kate to completely become the focus of someone's comment section. Haha! Ya gotta love that crazy lady.....

  10. Kate's AWESOME! She just so supremely awesome and I know she'll bust that broody hen. Bust her, bust her, bust her!

    I assumed I'd get less, and yes, where they root along the ground they make more tubers. My problem last year was they rooted everywhere, and the energy was too spread out to make good tubers. I'm hopeful for maybe two or three LARGE tubers per pot, but you're right. It's the surface area that's going to kill me.

  11. Some sweet potato advise from James Underwood Crockett!

    The sweet potato likes poor, dry, slightly acidic soil with little fertilizer. It is subject to scab if grown in sweet or alkaline soil. Slips are easy to grow from the potatoes themselves. I sometimes bury the sweet potatoes in a hotbed in April (his garden was in Mass.) and have sprouts/slips by May. In May, when the soil is warm, I plant out slips that are about six inches tall.

    (He goes on to say 16" apart in the open garden)

    I've chosen not to plant them in my small garden. I do sometimes plant A SINGLE SPROUT (slip) in a bushel basket filled with soil. Oddly enough, those grown in such confined quarters are rounder and meatier than those grown in rich soil or in the open garden.

  12. Love Sweet Potatoes!! Don't have any growing this year but will next.

    Try SP soup. Fry some a few strips of bacon (cut in 3/8 inch pieces). Sauté some onion and celery in the fat until the onion is clear. Add sweet taters (1/2inch cubes), add some water (not much, enough to steam the SPs), cover. When SPs are tender add some milk to cover everything. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Amounts of ingredients vary by number of servings, but it's soup, be creative.

    Garden On

  13. DBO, I am ALL over that soup recipe. I still have some scraggly sweet potatoes left from last year that I haven't figured anything to do with and I bet this would be perfect. I'm smellin' lunch tomorrow!

    Good deal, Granny. I'm hoping for fewer, but fatter taters, myself.

  14. oh, they are pretty! Hope you get lots!

  15. They look really good, you'll be making the neighbors envious of vegetables :-)

  16. Now I have commenters' guilt. LOL. Thanks for all the great advice! I have two dying slips in a cup of water on my counter ready to die in my garden later this week!

    Thanks for ALL the tips everyone!

    And for Ribbit for putting up with a comment-taker-over.