Growing sweet potatoes in your backyard is a rewarding and simple process that doesn’t involve complicated seedlings. Instead, you can kick-start the journey by using cuttings from a mature sweet potato. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you cultivate your sweet potato garden without any fuss.

  1. Obtain Your Sweet Potatoes:
    Sweet potatoes don’t come from regular seeds; they’re born from cuttings. You can purchase plants online or, if available, from a local nursery. However, the most cost-effective approach is to use sweet potatoes from the store, preferably organic, or from your existing sweet potato garden. If you’re buying from a grocery store, check if your sweet potato is a trailing or climbing variety.
  2. Prepare Your Cuttings:
    Gather several healthy sweet potatoes, as each one can yield up to 50 leafy cuttings. Wash the sweet potatoes thoroughly and cut them into halves or large sections. Place each section in a pot or glass of water, ensuring half of the potato is submerged. Secure the potato in place using toothpicks. Put the cuttings on a windowsill or radiator for warmth. In a few weeks, you’ll notice leafy shoots on top and roots at the bottom.
  3. Root Your Sweet Potato Cuttings:
    Once your sweet potatoes have grown leaves and small roots, it’s time to separate them into plants. Carefully remove each cutting from the sweet potato. Place each sprout in a shallow bowl with the bottom half submerged in water and the leaves above the bowl. Within days, roots will sprout. When the roots reach about 3cm, the new plants are ready to be planted. Maintain fresh water and discard any cuttings not producing roots or showing signs of decay.
  4. Plant Your Cuttings:
    Use a small hand trowel to dig holes about 10cm deep and 7cm wide. Plant a sweet potato in each hole with roots facing down and the top half, covered with new leaves, above the ground. Gently fill the hole with soil to avoid damaging the fragile plants. Press down on the soil to settle the plant and remove air pockets. Repeat until all your plants are in place.
  5. Water Regularly:
    Water your sweet potato cuttings thoroughly after planting. Ensure the surrounding soil is moist but stop before erosion begins. Newly planted cuttings need daily watering for the first week, followed by every other day in the second week. Adjust the watering schedule based on the weather and soil moisture. Sweet potatoes can tolerate drought but thrive with consistent watering, especially during the hottest summer days.

By following these simple steps, you’ll enjoy a bountiful harvest of sweet potatoes from your own backyard garden.