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Gareth

By my reckoning its time to start chitting Sweet Potatoes

Experience gained during the past 3 years has made me bring forward my attempts to chit Sweet Potato Slips by about 6 weeks.

I am again attempting chitting viable slips from (supermarket bought) Sweet Potatoes, to be grown on in pots ready for planting out in the vegetable patch next season. When you get good long and strong looking slips with at least two leaves growing out from your donor Sweet Potato tuber, you gently rub them off with your fingers and pot them into fresh compost. We normally have between 4 and 8 and sometimes up to 10 or 12 good strong slips from each donor tuber. When the plants become established in their pots you can then begin to harden them off for planting out in their final positions. It is a relatively simple process but does require 3-4 months to establish strong healthy plants.

We have found that it is best to start chitting Sweet Potatoes in-doors during mid December so that you have really strong hardy plants available to plant out at the end of April and beginning of May. The very best results and heaviest crops are obtained by planting out into a well manured (but not freshly manured) free draining sunny position, you will then have to keep up with regular watering, and they do benefit from being fed with Comfrey/Weed/Manure teas or in my case a combination of all 3. This season I will also experiment with earthing up or ridging the Sweet Potatoes grown in the open ground level Vegetable beds in the same way you would for main crop spuds. I am also going to attempt to grow several Sweet Potatoes using the currently fashionable continually topped-up Potato bag method.

Presently I have 4 of my desired 8 Sweet Potatoes for chitting on the windowsill of the back bedroom. A smallish Sweet Potato is supported by impaling it on a bamboo skewer so that the bottom 1/4 of it is immersed in water:



Here are 3 photos of last years progress:








rhino

Nicce one I'm having a go at this.
bodger

Me too, we've been eating a lot of those recently.
Gareth

Sweet potatoes 1 & 2 on our windowsill have been there for 10 days now, and small roots are beginning to be put down by the tubers into the water, so hopefully within the next couple of weeks the slips should begin showing.

Sweet Potatoes 3 & 4 have only been there for 7 days so far and nothing has happened yet.

I'll pick up another two small Sweet Potatoes from the local shops in the next couple of days and start Numbers 5 & 6 chitting on the window sill along with the others. That will leave numbers 7 & 8 for me to start off during Christmas week.
flipance

I have always wanted to have a go at this, but I read somewhere that if the potato was stored below 10 C then it would not chit. I wondered if gareth  has had this occur or not?
Gareth

I am chitting my Sweet Potatoes on the window sill of the back (south facing) bedroom.

I don't know about them not chitting below 10*C, but ours will remain on the window sill as either as chitting tubers or potted up slips until at least the end of February when they will then be transferred to the conservatory window sills for hardening off before planning out.
Gareth

Apologies............ I now realise what you meant.

I am unsure about the chitting capabilities of Sweet Potatoes that have previously been stored below 10*C.

I really do not know if they are stored and transported in temperature controlled environments such as ships holds, cold stores and refrigerated lorries, and neither do we store our Sweet Potatoes in the fridge. Last year I did have a single tuber that failed to produce even one slip, but the reason for this failure is unknown to me.
flipance

Thanks Gareth.  Great reply all info is good, I must try this !
Gareth

Sweet Potatoes 1 & 2 are beginning to put down roots; I wouldn't be surprised if the first slips begin chitting before the end of the first week of the new year.


captainhastings

Where do you get your sweet potatoes from ? I may get a few from lidl later on today
rhino

I've tried this and failed I think my house is too cold for them to chit.   I might get a warm pad to sit them on.
Gareth

All of my sweet potatoes have failed this year.

Apparently you need to use Organic Sweet Potatoes that have not been sprayed with Chloroproham, which is better known as Bud Nip www.youtube.com/watch?v=exBEFCiWyW0

It is not too late yet, so I am off to buy some small Organic Sweet Potatoes from Sainsbury's and Waitrose.
Christine

Gardeners learn by trial and error don't they? Sadly enough.
Gareth

I have been to my local Sainsbury's this afternoon and have bought 5 Organic Sweet Potatoes.

They are now residing on the windowsill in the spare bedroom, sat in soup containers full of fresh water and will hopefully begin chitting within the next 7-10 days.

captainhastings

is that how long they normally taken then in which case I better do the same
Gareth

It should take 7-10 days for them to begin chitting, and about another 3-4 weeks before the slips are then large and strong enough to be removed and repotted.
rhino

Right I'll try again
Gareth

rhino wrote:
Right I'll try again
 

Next time I am over the other side of the city I will call into either the Waitrose or the Sainsbury's there and buy another packet of organic Sweet Potatoes and set them of chitting on the windowsill............. I till have very big plans for home-grown Sweet potatoes this year.
captainhastings

Well I had one sweet potato that did me proud and I have half a dozen slips potted up and looking good on the window sill.
Not sure how long to keep them there or what happens next will have a read up on the net.
Bit concerned about what variety they are too for all I know they could be some heat loving variety from spain or some thing.
Got them from aldi
But it will be interesting to see what happens when they eventually make it out onto the allotment

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