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Grow sweet potato vines while you're trapped inside this winter

10:07 AM, Feb 20, 2013   |    comments
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Triad --  Obviously, winter isn't the best time for gardening.  There are still things you can do in preparation for summer.  Plus it's fun to have something growing inside your house right now.  Here's a project to keep the kids occupied for a little while. 

Sweet potato vines are easy to grow.  Here's the thing.  You don't know what it will end up looking like.  It may end up with yellowish-green leaves- or purple ones.  If you're really lucky, you may end up with actual sweet potatoes.  Each sweet potato is a different variety.  If you go to the grocery store and pick one out, you have no idea what variety it is.  That's why you won't know how it will turn out.  If you have a garden vision and plan in mind, this might not be for you.  Otherwise, give it a try!

There are two ways to do it.  Here's the first:

  • Pick out a sweet potato and get a glass jar
  • Put toothpicks in the bottom to support it
  • Place it in the jar with water, pointy side down

The eyes should begin to sprout in a few weeks.  You can plant those inside now and then take them outside in early May. 

The other method involves dirt from the start.

  • Pick out a sweet potato and get a tin pan
  • Put dirt in the bottom of the pan
  • Cut the sweet potato in half and put the halves on the dirt- upsidedown
  • Cover the rest up with dirt and cover with plastic wrap or put it in a plastic bag
  • When you begin to see shoots coming out of the dirt, take the plastic off and put it in a sunny window
  • In early May, you can plant the vines outside

Many people put the vines in containers.  They look nice spilling over the side of the pot.

University of Illinois Extension Office

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