Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Starting Sweet Potato Vines

We started a sweet potato growing in my class this year as part of the curriculum, and while I don't expect to be able to harvest any actual tubers from it, I do want to try to grow it as part of our summer garden. Even if I don't get any tubers, it turns out that sweet potato leaves are edible and nutritious, and I bet I can grow enough to make it a worthwhile green.

Back in the fall, this project was started by putting a sweet potato in a jar half filled with water. When it eventually grew roots, I planted the whole potato in a pot, with half of it sticking out. By the time spring break came around, I knew I needed to take it home because one of it's vines had grown to about 2 feet in length and was falling over.

So, I brought it home, and took section cuttings off of each of the main vine. After removing them from the mother plant, each cutting was stripped of it's bottom-most leaves to prevent any chance of them rotting once they were submerged. And, here they sit in a jar of water, in the next phase of this experiment.

And this is an experiment- I don't know how it will turn out. I don't know anyone who grows sweet potatoes outside here in Washington state, I don't know what variety I'm using, and I don't even know if I'm going to like eating sweet potato leaves, or if any of these will root and eventually form tubers. Too many uncontrolled variables for sure, but I look forward to learning from the experience, if nothing else.

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