It has been a very hard summer here, a lot of weather, health, and chaos going on. I forgot some huge sweet potatoes that were stored someplace not near other things (space is an issue here.) Checked them, this is what I see:
They are a good variety, I'd love to grow them next year (they sprouted so slow this spring that only a few made it into the ground, very late)
Can anyone think of a good way to hold them till next spring when I can plant them?
I do not have space for growing plants in this house, or a good root cellar. The sweets I tried to overwinter under mulch 100% rotted, at all depths (2 to 12 inches deep.)
Don't know, hate to just eat them, when I'd LOVE to have them growing next year. Hoping someone has a clever idea.
I had the same situation last year. I ended up planting out the whole sprouting sweet potato in late summer. I let a bit of frost get to the leaves and dug up the tiny roots that had formed. I plunked them into soil in a pot, quite crowded, and hung it from the ceiling in an out of the way spot in the kitchen. Once it started growing again, I watered it a little bit occasionally, just enough to keep it alive. I'd trim back the vines if they got in the way. It had almost no light.
Once it warmed up this year I planted the roots in the garden to grow as usual. There's a lot of gopher and vole activity in that bed this year, so I don't think I'll have my much to report back on as far as end results go :D
I would also plant them and see if you can get some tubers. My experience is that even in mild winters and even with heavy mulch they will rot outside. I don't think they can limp along once sprouted until next year indoors. All from very limited experience.
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Do you have an aquarium? I suspect you might be able to overwinter one by rooting a cut off top in water, then dropping the roots in the fish tank to get it out of the way. I'd keep the rest above the surface. Some terrestrial plants don't mind going aquatic, but I don't know if that includes sweet potatoes. I'd let the vines grow as high as they would grow upright, but cut them off when they tried to lay down. That way they could gather light, but with a minimum footprint.
T Melville wrote:Do you have an aquarium? I suspect you might be able to overwinter one by rooting a cut off top in water, then dropping the roots in the fish tank to get it out of the way. I'd keep the rest above the surface. Some terrestrial plants don't mind going aquatic, but I don't know if that includes sweet potatoes. I'd let the vines grow as high as they would grow upright, but cut them off when they tried to lay down. That way they could gather light, but with a minimum footprint.
This definitely works - I have aquariums and use a terrestrial plant like sweet potato or Malabar spinach to help consume excess nutrients in the water & the leaves are great as a cooked vegetable.
I also just grow sweet potatoes in a container of soil & can either just use the greens or plant some out in the late spring if I want to try and get tubers from them. Sweet potato vines are beautiful, so they’re truly a multi-function plant.
For what it's worth, I'm kinda in the same area as you* and I had a beauregard volunteer this year. Don't know if you can count on it, it may have been a microclimate thing. It was in a raised bed, middle of the garden, covered by a weed "jungle".
*Draw a triangle with Springfield, Joplin and Branson at the points. I'm just about in the middle of that triangle.
Decision made: I cut off the part of each one that had the sprouts, and I'll plant the chunks and hope for the best. Rest will get eaten. Absolutely no space for growing things in the house.
Hope I get some off them!
If you have enough space on a window sill for a glass of water you can root a few pieces of vine and keep them in the glass. When they get too big just prune them and throw away the cutting or root them too. You can keep several rooted cuttings in a glass of water, just change the water every so often.
"To do good, you actually have to do something." -- Yvon Chouinard