I’ve already started growing some sweet potato vines that I will use to take cuttings, more commonly know as slips. It’s not always easy to find sweet potato slips to plant when you need them. In years past I’ve had to visit several garden centers before finally tracking them down. Calling ahead doesn’t always seem to help either.
The best way to be sure you have sweet potatoes to plant is to grow your own. It’s really a very simple process.
I’ve seen all kinds of contraptions that people have come up with to grow sweet potato slips, most of them involve suspending a sweet potato root over water. All you really need to do is to place a sweet potato root into a container of damp potting mix about two inches deep. Keep the container in a warm spot — 75 degrees F and be sure it stays moist. An electric heat mat may help if you don’t have a warm spot.
After a couple of weeks, the sweet potato will begin to root and produce sprouts. Pull the new sprouts off of the sweet potato once they reach eight inches or so in length. They should have a developing root system at that stage and are ready for planting.
Using this method you can grow your own slips year after year.