To grow sweet potatoes we first have to nurture ‘slips’ from our kitchen leftovers. Slips are small sprouts that are grown from pre-existing sweet potato plants.
Here is how we can do that in 8 simple steps:
Step One: Give your sweet potato a good wash in the sink, then cut the last 2 inches or so of the sweet potato.
Step Two: Use a jar or a glass cup with an opening large enough to fit your potato, and fill the whole thing with water.
Step Three: Stick 4 or 5 toothpicks into the sides of your potato, like a spokes on a wheel. Place the potato into the jar or glass of water with the cut side down. The toothpicks will act as a handy scaffolding to hold half of the potato out of the water by balancing it on the rim of the glass.
Step Four: Sweet potatoes are a tropical plant so they love the warmth. Pop your cutting in a bright, sunny spot near a window in your home.
Step Five: In 2 – 4 weeks the small leafy slips will begin to sprout out of the top of your potato. When the top of your potato is covered in slips, carefully twist each one off individually. The slips won’t have roots yet. They will look like small leaves with a short stem at this stage.
Step Six: Fill a shallow bowl with a bit of water and set the slips in the bowl so that the stem is submerged in the water.
Step Seven: What’s next is the waiting game. You’re going to want to leave these for about 10 weeks in a sunny, warm spot indoors. You will see shoots begin to develop within a week, and by the time they’re ready to go, the roots should be around 10-15 cm long.
- Add fresh water once a day or so to keep the slips healthy.
- If any of the slips are not forming roots or begin to wilt, throw them out.
Step Eight: Once your sweet potato roots are about 10-15cm long, carefully move them out of the water and into pots with soil. Give them three or four weeks to generate roots in the soil, then they will be ready to be planted outside.