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HOW TO START SWEET POTATOES

The recommended planting dates for sweet potato slips in the Tyler area are April 1 to May 15. About 6 to 8 weeks before slips are to be planted, bury mature sweet potatoes in boxes or containers. Use a very light soil mix or sand. It should be easy to pull the slips out of it when they are ready. Potatoes should be covered with about 2 inches of soil mix and kept between 70 and 80 degrees F. Keep soil evenly moist. Covering the box with glass helps to keep in the moisture. Remove glass once sprouts start peeking through the soil. About 10 days before planting, move the potatoes outside to harden off. When it is time to plant, slips can be twisted off the old potatoes. Each slip should be about 6 to 12 inches long and have some roots. If some slips have no roots, they can be stuck in a jar of water for a week or two to root and then planted out or plant them in the garden and keep them well watered for the first week or two. Space plants about 12 to 18 inches apart in rows about 3 feet apart.

Kathy Nelte, Smith County Master Gardener
Texas AgriLife Extension Service


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