Subscribe with Bloglines At last I've got my plot!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

The heavens opened this afternoon....I was struggling to find a window to walk the dogs even. gardening of any kind! But tomorrow promises to be ok.......we'll see!

I did watch to see if the gutters were working on the tunnel.....Bingo!

Dentist tomorrow morning....then hopefully an afternoon at the plot! Metcheck gives a good forecast. Watching the rainfall animation on Metcheck shows what an awful day we have had, but now the UK is almost clear of rain! Temp should not go below 4deg C...good!

And I almost forgot....I asked a friend in the US (Arkansas) who has had success growing sweet potatoes, how to do it.....and here are her very specific instructions.......

"You buy sweet potatoes from the grocery store and slice them in half, lengthways, placing the skin/eyes side down in enough water to half cover the potato. The new 'eye's have to be in the water to sprout.
Once sprouted, place them in potting soil in a tray box for them to finish growing sprouts with roots, Then you gently break each plant off of the mother potato plant and plant in regular garden plot. It takes several weeks to do this. Each sweet potato should make a dozen, or more, plants depending on how many eyes they have to begin with. I think I planted 2 whole rows off of 6 potatoes last year.
Be sure to let the new plants grow on the mother potato until they are big enough to safely separate and grow on their own. I usually wait until they are at least 6 inches tall, but did plant a few smaller ones when I was running low at the last row and wanted to get the rows finished.
I originally planted sweet potatoes that were already beginning to sprout in some garden potting soil, but they took a long time to grow big enough sprouts to transplant. A lady at Wal Mart told me yesterday that she always put hers in water to sprout so that's how I'm going to do mine this year.
Of course, if you can buy some older sweet potatoes that's already starting to sprout, they'll work much faster. They sure taste good fresh from the garden. The ones that only made long finger-like potatoes and didn't fill out like the larger ones, I scrubbed and steamed them with skins on in my veggie steamer and peeled them just before I ate them. I don't care for the skins.
You'll have to try your hand at growing sprouts and transplanting them in your garden this year. They're really easy to tend to and we didn't have a problem with the bugs as we do with white potatoes.
BTW, if you have really good luck with sprouting them, you'll probably find someone who would love to have some for their garden but didn't know how to get them started."

So....I am going to try that tomorrow!


At 12/4/06 2:56 am, Blogger Jooles said...

Hi - up 'ere in yorkshire I don't think it will be warm enough for them. Would love to try some though. How big do they grow? Do you think they would grow in compost bags (like I do new pots) and be ok in the green house? Would that then make it too warm for them? Really like your blog - really interesting and looks great with photos!!

At 12/4/06 5:20 am, Blogger lilymarlene said...

I really don't know the answer to that. I'll try asking my friend, but as she has never gardened here I don't think she'll know either. I will ask.
Anyway, I think your suggestion for doing them in the is a good one. I think I'll do a barrel in there and some outside, to see how I get on.

At 12/4/06 3:54 pm, Blogger she who digs said...

Thanks for the tip on sweet potatoes. I love them, but they are more expensive than white ones, so will definately have a go once I've got my beds organised on the allotment. SWD

At 12/4/06 4:19 pm, Blogger lilymarlene said...

I've been thinking about this today (funny how digging frees up the mind for thought....almost meditative!) and was wondering if it isn't a bit late this year for doing them outside. I haven't even started on this special chitting they require, and if it takes 6 weeks it might be quite late before I get them in the soil. So....I propose that this year I'll do them in big pots, then I can move them into the tunnel if they need a longer season than we get here.
What do you think?

At 12/4/06 9:46 pm, Blogger lilymarlene said...

I've heard back from my friend in the US. She says....
"I've never tried to grow any except in my outside veggie garden,
but I don't see why they wouldn't grow as well, or maybe a little faster, in
the grow bag in a greenhouse. It would be worth it to try both methods to
see which one does best. While they pretty much grow just like white
potatoes, they have more of a low growing vine than a bush tho, so each
plant might take a little more space. As long as the soil is staring to
warm up and there's no danger of frost, they should grow outside just fine.
I think they take the same amount of time to mature as white potatoes.
I also used a soaker hose to keep the sweet potatoes watered when
the rains quit. Out summers get hot a dry quick some years and the veggies
just don't have time to mature."


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