‘One potato, two potato …’ I was thinking of the children’s rhyme today when I compared two sweet potatoes that had been languishing in my larder since Easter.
One looked much like it did when I bought it, while the other had several sprouts jutting from it — purple sprouts. And, what’s more, a closer examination revealed what looked to be tiny purple leaves extending, in turn, from them.
The garden is great for awakening a sense of wonder. Even if it’s a long time coming. I’ve used sweet potato vine in my planters for several years now, but only recently started to ponder their relationship to, duh, sweet potatoes.
A little online research gave instructions on how to grow vines from potatoes. And, since it was a gray, dreary day in Chicago — the kind that makes you want stay inside and curl up with a good book or dvd — I figured why not use some of the shut-in time for a quick, rainy day project: starting a sweet potato vine. (After all, this particular potato was just begging to fulfill its potential.)
It was almost too simple: I cut the bottom portion off my potato (meaning the portion that didn’t have as many sprouts), suspended it using toothpicks over a jar filled with water, then sat it in a sunny location. And, voila, in a few weeks, according to what I read, I should have the beginning of sweet potato vines.
Many of you may have experimented with this as a kid, but my posse didn’t do gardening. (I did grow some mean sugar crystals on a string, though… And in college I think I tried sticking toothpicks into an avocado seed in hopes of growing a houseplant; It didn’t work.)
My internet research also confirmed what I had always suspected: sweet potato vine is related to Morning glory (they have look-alike leaves). What I didn’t know was that in some climates it produces a flower similar to Morning glory. Alas, not in Zone five.
Since I’ve already purchased my two sweet potato vines for the season, the fate of my container garden doesn’t hinge on the success of this project.
But it’s great for a day’s diversion.
[Please leave a comment telling me about your experience growing sweet potato vines, and if yours has flowered.]