How to Care for Your Sweet Potato Starter Kit
Hi guys! If you’ve picked up one of our Hayman sweet potato starter kits this spring, we’re here to let you know how to care for them. We’ll be updating this page as time goes on, so you know how to care for you starter kit at every juncture. Please remember – if you have questions, call us or email us at 252-473-6500 or at email@example.com
We are always here to help out as you grow these amazing potatoes, right here on the Outer Banks.
The sweet potato starter kits most of you all have in your possession were lovingly created on Island Farm on Roanoke Island. We took our Hayman sweet potatoes from last season and planted them in small pots to share with you all! When you receive your starter kit, you’re probably wondering… why was I given a pot of dirt? Don’t worry. The pots that you were given are filled with small Hayman sweet potatoes that will sprout in the next month. To care for your starter kit, place it in a warm spot outdoors, or inside on a sunny window ledge. Give it water when the soil surface seems dry. As with all plants, too much water isn’t good, and too little doesn’t work well either. Touch the soil, and you’ll get a sense as to when it might need a drink, and when it might not. Within a month, with consistent care, you should see your Hayman sweet potato starter kit start to sprout. The sprouts are called “slips,” and these slips are the plants that will produce your sweet potatoes that will be harvested in the fall.
We’re going to be updating you all on what happens next, but for now, care for your pot of Haymans and get in touch with us for any questions.
Two important things… we recommend that you all read up on the history of the Hayman sweet potato, and why we’ve chosen to grow it on Island Farm. You can follow the link to that story here: https://obcinc.org/the-hayman-sweet-potato/
And, we’d love for you to check out our Hayman sweet potato activities that we’ve crafted for those younger folks that are choosing to grow this great ‘tater. For free access to our activities, click here: https://obcinc.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/Sweet-Potato-Book-of-Activities.pdf
Time to Plant!
The general rule of thumb is that your sweet potato slips are in the ground by the fourth of July at the latest. If you got a kit from us, it’s time to plant your slips! It might seem confusing to take a plant and plant it again, but the starter kits that we gave you will be producing these “starter plants” or “slips” that will grow Hayman sweet potatoes this summer, to be harvested in the fall. And, the cool part about this particular process is that these potatoes that grew your slips were started on Roanoke Island, where a lot of these Hayman potatoes were grown in the mid 19th century.
To plant your sweet potato slips –
1. Gently work an area of ground in your garden, free of grass or weeds, with a digging fork or spade. The soil should be loose enough that you can easily push your finger into this newly formed sweet potato “bed.”
2. Carefully grab hold of your sweet potato slips (growing from the starter pot) near their base, at the soil level.
3. About 1/4″ below the soil, gently cut each slip’s stem with a sharp knife.
4. You should see little white roots at the bottom of each cut slip. These slips will be transplanted to the permanent sweet potato bed that you just prepared to grow until they are harvested this fall!
5. Lay out your slips about 1′ apart across your sweet potato bed. To push them down into the loose soil of your bed, you’ll need a forked stick, or a scrap piece of wood with an end about 1″ wide.
6. Go along where you laid out the slips placing the fork of your stick at the root end of each slip. Carefully push them down into the soil so that the white roots are below the soil surface, and the tiniest baby new leaves near the top of the sweet potato slip are above the soil.
7. Keep these guys watered and weeded and you’ll be sure to enjoy some wonderful Hayman sweet potatoes this fall. We’ll be updating this page with harvest instructions when it’s time.
It’s really that simple! And remember – any questions at all, just give us a call or email.
Thank you to Lowe’s Home Improvement in Kill Devil Hills for supporting this project!