Advice – Sweet Potatoes

And a reader writes:

I’m thinking of trying my hand at growing sweet potatoes…a friend had one that has sprouted so she gave it to me…so i’m wondering; can one grow sweet potatoes in the PNW??

Unfortunately, doubtful. Sweet potatoes want a lot of heat and sunlight for their growing season. They also have a 4-5 month growth cycle that requires the heat and sunlight. That in combination without the copious amounts of rain we receive here would make me think you’d receive less than satisfactory results.

The possibility does exist of a variety that has been bred over the years to make it a suitable veggie variety here in the PNW, I just haven’t seen one, or been able to find one.

If you were to find a great variety here are simplified growing instructions (starting from a tuber).

Cut tuber in half, perch overtop of a cup containing water, being sure that a portion of the potato touches the water. To produce slips, the potato will require warmth, so place in a sunny window or near a heat source. Roots and sprouts will grow on the tuber.

After the sprouts have grown, gently twist those off the sweet potato and place into water, roots will grow from these. These are called slips. You can also buy slips from a store or via the internet. When these roots are about an inch long, you can plant them gently into the loose, well-drained soil in your garden.

Once all these slips are planted in your garden, water them thoroughly each day for a week, the next week every other day. Each week the watering will get further apart until you are watering about once a week. Sweet potatoes don’t like to be continuously watered. Allow the soil to dry before watering again.

So, there are the directions to growing sweet potatoes – although I doubt they’ll produce well here in the pacific northwest.

Is there anything you’ve tried growing and succeeded with when others said that it wouldn’t work? Leave your comments below for us!

2 responses to “Advice – Sweet Potatoes

  1. wow…sounds like a process but the end result would be sweet potatoes; for fries! I LOVE SWEET POTATOES AND SWEET POTATO FRIES. so, what if one had access to a greenhouse…could the sweet potatoes perhaps be grown in that environment? Also, if the potato has already sprouted, are those sprouts my slips and should i be twisting those off and putting them in water??

    • A greenhouse might work here in the PNW for sweet potatoes, but only in the summertime. Yes the sprouts are your slips – twist those off, gently, and place in water. You would need to start the process all over again in the spring though to get the growing season that sweet potatoes like.

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