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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 Linda Brennan on July 29, 2013 at 17:24

Well done Glenyth! What a success

Comment by Matt Heng on July 29, 2013 at 9:42

wow.!!!

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on July 28, 2013 at 14:35

Must be the only taste you and I agree on so far ;-) The Beauregards don't taste like Sweet Potatoes.

Comment by Lissa on July 28, 2013 at 13:23

The gold ones are my least favourite. I have some growing in the raised bed but won't be going to any great effort to produce more.

I like this purple skinned/white centred one and the white skinned/purple centred ones best. Yet to try the purple/purple one that Anne gave me cuttings for. That one is very slow growing.

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on July 28, 2013 at 13:09

Good result for the cooler months Lissa. And the varieties which are more traditional don't produce the volume of tubers that the Beauregards do (they being those orangy ones seen in the shops - called 'gold' sometimes).

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