I have read on many blogs about growing Sweet Potatoes, but I have never tried it myself. Inspired by the efforts of blogging friend Daphne over at Daphne's Dandelions I have decided to give it a go this year. I reckon that if she can grow Sweet Potatoes in Boston (currently under about four feet of snow!), then I ought to be able to do so over here in the milder climate of the UK. We shall see...
Since I'm not confident of success I didn't want to spend much on my initial stock, so I am using some Sweet Potato tubers left over from a bag we bought from a supermarket some weeks ago. For some reason we have never got round to using them, and I recently noticed that they were beginning to sprout. Ideal for my needs!
Having learned that the usual way to prepare them is to sprout them in water, I carefully selected glass jars of just the right size for each tuber, so that their bottoms would be able to sit in water without submerging the whole tuber.
They are now sitting on the windowsill of our spare bedroom (with a lovely view out over the garden, you will notice!). Within a few days they had started to produce roots. Not many yet, but growing rapidly:-
At the other end, the leaf sprouts are looking very strong. They are just like the "chits" on a conventional potato at this point. Eventually these will go green and start to produce leaves. These long slim shoots (aka "slips") are what you plant.
My plan is to plant them into a very big tub of compost and then just let them do their own thing. I expect their foliage will trail all over the place, but I believe it can be quite attractive, so that's no bad thing.
Since Sweet Potatoes are really warm-weather plants, I suppose that success depends mostly on what the weather is like this year. If we get a warm sunny Summer then they will probably do well. Otherwise not.... Anyone else in the UK growing (or has grown) these things?
Thompson and Morgan have a good basic guide to growing Sweet Potatoes here.