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LEAF TYPE:

PURPLE/PURPLE sharply defined tri-pointed leaves

WHITE/PURPLE softly tri-pointed leaves 

PURPLE/WHITE heart shaped leaves 

 

2013

Some time back Glenyth posted a pic of her sweet potato tower and a few of us thought it was such a great idea we tried it out ourselves. Not only would it give tubers but lots of edible leaves.

Below: Back in January, starting out with a few shooting bits of purple/white variety.

NOTE - I didn't keep a record of what was used for potting mix on the first occasion but feel it was Searles potting mix.

About a month later in February...

Again in May...

And in July....

I attended an Annette McFarlane talk yesterday about growing veg and she told me sweet potato should be ready to harvest 4 months from planting. Enough for me! My patience was running out anyway.  Annette also advised keeping the leaf growth contained with trimming to encourage tuber growth.

NOTE: Information from Yates: They are semi tropical plants that need at least five months of relatively warm soil to grow good tubers. Hence it’s best to get the shoots planted as soon as the soil has lost its winter chill.

I had another experiment going with swt potato growing in one of the raised beds in it's rich soil. Lots of plant growth, but the tuber that I harvested a few days ago lacked flavour. Perhaps it had life too easy!

Cutting back the growth with Hugo's help.

I wondered if the plant might have grown down into the soil, so enlisted the help of my strong son to empty out the bag.

All the growth removed....ready for emptying.

The crop. Not as much as I would have hoped but still a good haul of quality tubers with good colour.

All scrubbed up and ready for use.

NOTE: I no longer scrub tubers before storage. Encourages rotting.

Propagating sweet potato would have to be one of the easiest things, and can be done in a variety of ways using portions of shooting tubers or stem cuttings. Any bit of stem with leaf nodes should provide new growth but with so much material to work with I like to use these bits....

...as they provide such tidy new cuttings.

Potted in good potting mix (Searles this time) and dipped into the weed tea to moisten the pot.

The end result, Heaps of potential new plants for replanting or sharing.

Eleven days later the cuttings are putting up new growth already and growing well.

Below - Replanted with purple/purple variety (sharply pointed tri point leaf).

I have turfed out the contents of the two other regular potato bags and will do these up with different sweet potato cuttings - purple/white and white/purple.

10.08.13

Here's the crop out of an entire 4x1.5m bed full of good rich soil. Much the same as out of one grow bag of potting mix!

2014

Now May 2014 and I've just cropped two of the last grow bags of sweet potatoes. From memory I used some mushroom compost I had to hand mixed with potting mix, not a happy combination for the spuds who's leaves looked very sad in these last batches.

Still, the crops weren't too bad. Especially for the purple/white ones which produced big fat tubers this time. I much prefer the long skinny ones. Cuttings were taken from the plants pictured above.

Four of the tubers had rotted in the bag.

The white/purple are very pernickety growers and did not produce much crop, but what I did get was very good eating.

Both varieties have been replanted in a mix of Searles potting mix and 5 in 1.

2016

25.03.16

What a dismal failure today's crop was. I'd be dead of starvation if relying on this crop for sustenance.

Small crops and the potato weevil has made an appearance again. I've come to the conclusion that the grow bags need to be moved each time as the weevils have most likely set up a breeding ground in the soil under the bags. Finding suitable sunny spots for the bags isn't easy in a small yard like this with lots of fruit trees and veg beds.

Bags were filled last time with composted horse poo. Obviously not the right stuff for a good crop.

And I've definitely lost my purple/purple over time. I can only assume I planted up the bag incorrectly one occasion.

Below - The purple/white bag and crop. Heart shaped leaf CORRECT.

Below - White/purple and crop - one spud in the entire bag. Softly Tri pointed leaf CORRECT.
Below - what is supposed to be purple/purple with a sharply tri pointed leaf is INCORRECT. I've lost them somewhere along the line. These are in fact purple/white with the heart shaped leaf.

Crop is actually purple/white. Lots of weevil damage in this bag. Half of the crop had to be tossed into the weed tea bucket.

SUMMARY FOR CROP 25.03.16

I will try replanting with Searles potting mix which is a bummer as it's more expensive than the composted horse poo.

One purple/white bag did not have much leaf growth but reasonable crop.

The other purple/white (the one I had supposed was purple/purple) had lots of leaf growth and a reasonable crop half destroyed by weevil. Moving the grow bag.

The white/purple plant had little leaf growth and just one small tuber.

Lack of sunshine shouldn't have been a problem but I'm not home to check how much through the day.

21.07.16

All three bags this time around are growing exceptionally well using Searles potting mix. Bags were also moved to avoid the potato weevil. Lots of healthy leaf growth on all three varieties.

Ferreted around the other night looking for a spud for dinner and found this purple/white growing near the surface. Perfect inside. It made great oven chips.

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Comment by Lissa on August 25, 2014 at 5:13

You do well the toms. It's one thing I struggle to grow well though I have plenty for me to eat at the moment. I've given up on the Tomatillos :/ for the time being at least. The last attempt wasn't much of a success and I find I have limited use for them - would rather have something else that I am more likely to eat.

Photos Fisher! Where's the photos!

Comment by Fisher on August 24, 2014 at 16:43

Great thanks! I'm sure I'm missing something but I have a few varieties of leek, beet, chilli (actually about 8 varieties), tomatillo (of course!), cherry tomato x 4 varieties , large canning tomato x 3 varieties, cucumber, eggplant, zucchini, shelling peas, snowpeas, bush beans.

I'm pretty sure there's more..will let you know what's avail. in a month or so and if anything takes your fancy I can drop them off

Comment by Lissa on August 24, 2014 at 7:18

Hey Fisher :) They're called Grow Fresh Produce Bags and I probably did buy them from GARDEN EXPRESS.  It's been some years. They have retained their appearance and strength well. No sign of deterioration. I think they make a taller version now with a pull down flap for harvesting regular potatoes.

What are you thinking of donating to my collection of? Any donations gratefully accepted :)

Comment by Fisher on August 23, 2014 at 16:46

Wow first time I've seen this and would love to give it a go. Where do you buy those grow bags @Lissa?

Long time no talk either...we just got a place with some lovely little beds so I've been busy sowing and would love to donate to your collection if you have room? I'll drop you a message in a month or so :)

Comment by Lissa on August 11, 2013 at 5:50

Thanks Andy :) Glad you liked it - I learned such a lot from this little experiment.

I dug up the tubers in a 4m bed of rich soil yesterday and cropped less! than I got out of that little grow bag.

Who'd have guessed such a useful plant, providing both greens and tubers, would prefer to have their growth restricted to produce more. Much as I like regular potatoes this is far more productive and the way I will focus in future. I'm growing three bags now each with a different variety of SP.

Comment by Andrew Cumberland on August 10, 2013 at 18:53

Wow.  This is one of the best blogs I've seen for a long time Lissa.  Very informative. Tells the whole story.  Great work. 

Comment by Lissa on July 30, 2013 at 21:09

How long were yours planted for Tracy?

I'm going to dig all the plants out of the raised bed and try to get one more crop in there before winter ends.

Comment by Tracy Arnold on July 30, 2013 at 15:55

I dug mine up today, not quite as abundant as yours - I'll post some pics.  

Comment by Lissa on July 30, 2013 at 5:01

They sure are edible and the main reason that I've been growing SP up to now as I've never had much tuber crop from them. This is the first real success with tubers I've had.

I chop the leaves up (there's an abundance so I go for the tender un-bug-touched end shoot leaves) and add them to stir fry, stews and casseroles. Andy uses them to make pesto.

Comment by Matt Heng on July 29, 2013 at 20:26
Hi lissa,

Are the sweet potato leaves edible like the gold sweet potato?

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