Chicken Coop Chatter©
Sweet potatoes are nutritious, with essential vitamins and minerals. High in Vitamin A, Vitamin C and the B vitamins, and is an anti-inflammatory, high in anti-oxidants, and safe for diabetics to keep sugar levels under control. More studies are being conducted for a variety of health indications. Sweet potatoes can be considered one of the powerhouse vegetables that most people enjoy. Sweet potato fries and Sweet potato chips are easy to make and a nutritious snack, not to mention, sweet potato bread, sweet potato casserole or try my Sweet potato and Apple casserole or my Sweet Potato Chicken Soup also refer to my dehydrated Sweet Potato to add to soups, stews and other dishes or eat as a vegetable leather. You will find my recipes at the links at the end of this tutorial.
Sweet potato is easy to grow, either as a vining houseplant or as a garden plant. All you need is a Yam or Sweet potato with visible eyes, that can be purchased from your local farm market or grocery store. Cut the end of the tuber that has eyes, and poke toothpicks into the lower edge, near the cut. Place in a container of water until it begins to root, set in a sunny window and add water as needed to keep the lower end of the tuber wet. Once this has rooted, you can cut the tuber into section with roots and plant each section for several new plants.
Good Potting Soil
Large (deep) planting container
Yam or Sweet Potato with eyes
Small garden trowel
Bowl of Water
When the tuber has rooted in water, prepare a large, deep container with potting soil. With the trowel, scoop out enough soil so the rooted tuber has room for the roots to grow beneath the soil. These do not have to be planted deep like a regular potato. Remove the toothpicks and gently spread the roots, or cut pieces with roots and foliage for more than one plant. Just cover the roots and base of the tuber with soil, water well and keep in a sheltered area, away from wind, with full to partial sun. Water as needed. As the foliage begins to grow, add a bamboo stake and tie the vines loosely to the stake. A long stake will be needed as this plant does grow relatively fast. You can also plant this as a ground cover, or in the garden with a trellis.
Sweet Potatoes are a warm weather plant. If you wish to start the Sweet Potatoes early for late Spring outdoor planting, start in about February or March, then plant outdoors when the soil temperature is at least 50 degrees and the weather maintains consistent 70 degree or higher temperatures.
The tubers can be harvested before frost hits, typically when the leaves begin to turn yellow; though some wait until the leaves are hit with frost. The longer the tubers are in the ground, the more nutrients that develop, however if you do wait until after frost to harvest, you will risk losing the crop to rot unless you can harvest them all quickly. A potato fork or spading fork is ideal for removing the tubers from the ground. The sweet potatoes/yams you grow are eaten just as you would normally prepare them. They do keep well but are best kept un-refrigerated in a cool, dry, frost-free environment. If you choose not to harvest, the heart shaped leaves of the sweet potato make easy to maintain houseplants in a well lit environment. If growing outdoors, you will need to move to a frost free shelter for the winter months, though the leaves will likely yellow and if so, harvest the tubers, and start new plants in late winter or early spring for harvest in autumn. Don't forget the chickens, sweet potatoes and skins are a healthy source of nutrients and most chickens love them, and with the high vitamin B content they are benefical for shiny healthy feathers and the anti-inflammatory benefits will aid in keeping their tummies in balance and prompt healing of injuries or easily digested soft nutritious foods during outbreak of illness.
(For recipes using Sweet Potatoes please refer to my links: )
Please refer to link below for a nice digging fork that should last many years.
Chicken Coop Chatter© All Rights Reserved 2011-2017
CREDENTIALS: Certified Oregon State Master Gardener since 1999. Horticulture degree 2001. Study of Herbs and Horticulture Therapy, heavy research and study of all plants and herbs. Gardening a lifetime