If you want a golden rule that will fit everything, this is it: Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.William Morris.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Sweet Potatoes

It has been a little longer than I was wanting, to get back to the veggie patch and show what progress has taken place. This unusually hot weather we are having has taken a toll on me. I am not use to it and it seems like I just do not have the stamina yet to stay out pass 10:00 -11:00 in the morning.

I have been able to get some more beds cleaned up and some of the summer crops in. I planted the sweet potatoes. Now I start my own slips. It is very easy to do and it saves you from spending each year for the slips/plants. Now it's advise that you do not start with a sweet potato you  purchased at the grocery store. So I have been making slips from those original plants I ordered from a seed company quite a few years ago. Then around end of March to the first of April is when I'll start.



So you take a potato (from last year crop) that has a good amount of eyes. The little bumps on the potatoes. (1). 
You will cut it in half and put each half in a container that can hold water and is big enough. You support the potatoes with toothpicks (2) 



You can see in picture (3) that they sprout and get long.
When the slips are about 6-7 inches you pinch or cut them off of the potato.(4)



You put those cuttings in another container of water (5)
And after about a week they will have developed a good amount of roots (6)
Now they are ready for planting. It's that easy. If you were like me, as a child you had done the first two step and had grown sweet potatoes vine in water like that.

two newly planted sweet potatoes

This is my bed of sweet potatoes
As you see from the picture, I mulch heavily with straw. I do this with most of the plants I grow in the garden. There are many reasons for it. No weeds will grow. Holds moisture in the soil so there less watering. Keep soil temps from getting too hot or too cold. Evenually the straw will decompose and add humus to the soil.
Before I do add the straw, I open the bale and spread it out in "the girls" yard. No matter how clean they tell you it is, there are still some seeds left on the stalks. So this way "the girls" will eat most of the remaining seeds.

"the girls" gleaning the straw and are so happy to do it.

Now I do lay a soaker hose under the straw. That is how I water the beds. This picture shows that process. This is the tomato bed. After the hose and the straw are down, then I'll put the cages on. I will add T-poles to secure the cages to with bailing wire (love that stuff). Here in Oklahoma that wind can be fierce
Here are a few more pictures of the garden.

Till next time

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