Gardening 101: My Sweet Potato Saga

sweet potato in jarOk, people – I have a potato problem.  A sweet potato problem, to be exact. You see, I love sweet potatoes, and I love gardening,  so I assumed growing my own sweet potatoes would be quite rewarding. But nay, on the contrary, it has become  quite distressing.
Who knew a sweet potato could be so high maintenance?  I ordered an adorable little orange gem from an experienced gardener in North Carolina who has been growing sweet potatoes from the same seed family for years. He even took time to send specific instructions to me, which I have carefully followed.  But North Carolina is not Ohio, especially in March and April.  I didn’t know  sweet potatoes like to be warm. Seriously?  I like to be warm, too, but that doesn’t mean I can sit around doing nothing until it hits 70 degrees!

But alas, sweet potatoes require a long growing season yet can’t be planted outside till the soil reaches 70 degrees. This means starting the rooting process indoors.  Remember those 4th grade science experiments with the potato in a jar of water,  being held up by toothpicks? Yep, you got it. For the last month my sweet potato science experiment has graced the front table in my living room, the only sunny spot I have.  And one month later all I have to show for this project is one root- one measly scrawny thread of a root- dangling from the bottom of my sweet potato, so thin it could break off in a weak breeze.

Lucky for me,  the weather has warmed up here the past few days and SW  has been able to sun bathe on my back porch. But this requires my remembering to bring him in each evening, as the nights are still too chilly.  Tonight,  as I retrieved SW from the porch to again tuck him safely inside for the night, I commented to my daughter that maybe I should just crochet him a blanket so he could  stay outside all night!

According to expert gardeners,  if I take care of SW properly, green vines will emerge from the potato’s top, which can then be planted outdoors in warm soil, resulting in an abundant harvest of sweet potatoes in the fall.  Pinterest even has a picture of a large wheelbarrow filled with stunning sweet potatoes grown from just 3 tiny seed potatoes.

So far I see no signs of green vines emerging anywhere on my sweet potato.  I’m just hoping that’s not mold on its pale orange skin. And I think I will be needing a smaller wheelbarrow.