How to Grow Sweet Potato Slips

When was the last time you gave thought to sweet potatoes? If you’re into sustainable farming, it should be a vegetable that is on your mind. Anyone who wants to get into growing their own crops, especially the ones that create an ecological balance, should be aware of the small but mighty sweet potato slips and everything associated with it.

Today, we’ll be looking at the process of growing sweet potatoes so you can do it all on your own. We’ll share techniques and tips that empower you to move deeper into your sustainable farming efforts. From choosing the right plant variety to taking care of the young slips, each step offers a way to nurture your body through growing nutritious plants while also nurturing the earth below you.

Join us to talk about the connection between sustainability and agriculture and how it relates to the sweet potato slip.

Sweet Potatoes: What to Know About Nutrition and Health

Many people only nosh on sweet potatoes around the winter holidays. However, these nutritious tidbits are worthy of the dinner table no matter what season it is. Something many people don’t realize is that sweet potatoes aren’t exactly a form of potato. Instead, they’re part of the morning glory family of plants. Sweet potatoes have been around for ages, too. There’s evidence that they may have been a common crop as early as 750 BCE in Peru.

A single serving of this delicious food will provide you with a huge amount of vitamin A, which is used to boost the immune system, maintain good eyesight, and support many functions of your organs. Sweet potato also contains several other nutrients, such as vitamin B, vitamin C, iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, and several useful minerals.

The bright colors that characterize sweet potatoes come from something called carotenoids, which are a form of antioxidants that are also good for the human body. These combine with other things like anthocyanins to create additional health benefits, such as improving heart health, combating obesity and inflammation, regulating blood sugar levels, and reducing the risk of cancer.

Step-by-Step Instructions for Growing Sweet Potato Slips

If you want to grow your own sweet potatoes, one of the best ways to do that is through the use of slips. Not familiar with sweet potato slips? That’s okay. The term might seem strange, but it simply means a small sprout that you take from a grown sweet potato plant. The sprouts are the foundation for new sweet potatoes in your garden.

Below, we’ll go over all the steps to gaining slips and using them to create your own plants to nourish you any time you like.

Starting the Slips

  1. First, choose a sweet potato. The best option is a mature and healthy sweet potato from a grocery store or another trusted source. Varieties like Beauregard, Porto Ricos, and Centennials can often be easily located and work quite well for creating slips and moving forward with the process.
  2. Consider the climate. Sweet potatoes do best in warm locations, especially USDA hardiness zones 9, 10, and 11. Make sure your own climate works for proper growth.
  3. Next, prepare the sweet potato. This is as simple as washing it and cutting it into halves or even thirds. It depends on how large the original potato is.
  4. Take a glass or jar of water and submerge part of the potato chunk inside. Make sure it stays stable when you insert toothpicks across the edges.
  5. Place the jar into a sunny window where lots of warmth and light are available. This is the best location for slips to mature. Within two to four weeks, expect to see small slips (which look like leaves) come out of the top of the sweet potato.
  6. After the slips are sprouted, twist them off and put them into a bowl with a small amount of water. After a few days, roots will grow and that means the slips are ready for you to plant.

Preparing the Garden

When creating a spot for the garden, choose somewhere with good drainage and lots of sun. Till the soil to about a foot and make sure it’s loose and ready to go. Planting soil or compost is a good choice to increase nutrients. Test the pH of the soil and adjust as you need to for the best sweet potato growth. You should wait a month or more before planting the slips to ensure the soil is in the best condition.

Planting the Sweet Potatoes

  1. Dig holes about one to two feet apart so the sweet potatoes have room for the vines to grow and spread.
  2. Place the slips into the holes and cover the stems with soil. Vines will move outward while the actual potato will grow under the dirt.
  3. Consider adding mulch as it can protect from the cold and prevent weeds from growing.
  4. Water the plants a lot in the early days. You can cut down on this some as time goes on. You’ll want to continue to water them at least once a week, however.
  5. The potatoes will mature in around four months. Make sure you weed and water them to support their proper growth.
  6. Before the first frost, make sure you harvest the sweet potatoes. Cure them somewhere humid and warm for the correct skin toughness and flavor.
  7. Store the potatoes in a dry and cool spot with no direct sunlight and good airflow to keep them fresh.

Join Our Free YouTube Gardening 101 Class

Growing sweet potatoes is a great way to connect with nature while creating nutritious food. At Stoney Creek Farm, we make this an accessible option for everyone with affordable garden plot rentals for those of all skill levels. You can also join our free YouTube Gardening 101 class, also taught locally via Zoom. You can receive all materials by emailing us at From mentoring to instructional videos, we will guide you on your way to growing sweet potatoes and other fantastic produce.