Harvest Monday, March 27, 2017 – Growing sweet Potatoes Slips + New Varieties + More Seed Starting

Last year at Locust Grove Heritable Vegetable Garden we planted six (6) varieties of sweet potatoes – Purple, Ginseng Red, Garrens Red & White, Ivis White Cream, Jersey Yellow and Georgia Jet.

This past week I started all 6 varieties for this year’s planting.

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Every year Mary N, also a LGHVG volunteer, and I grow the sweet potatoes slips for LGHVG. Between the two us we grow enough slips for LGHVG and our own gardens.

Last year Mary N grew Wilma’s SP as a replacement for Georgia Jet SP in her garden. She had great success and has offered to grow slips for LGHVG. Susan MacAvery, LGHVG horticulturist, accepted the offer and has agreed to plant Wilma’s in place of Georgia Jet this year. I will still keep the Georgia Jet I started just in case it is needed.

In my own garden, I am planting only Purple and Ginseng Red. Purple is a vigorously vining variety, during the growing season I harvest the tender leaves that are delicious cooked. Ginseng Red is a semi-bush variety, if you are lacking garden space, this is a good choice.

NOTE: Wilma’s SP is also a semi-bush variety, may be I will grow 2 plants if Mary N has extra.

Click here to learn which end of the sweet potato should be immersed in water.

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I like to try new vegetable varieties, besides the Red Winter Kale I mentioned in last Monday’s Harvest Monday post, the following are the ones I am trying this year.


Summer Purple Broccoli is a sprouting broccoli that produces shoots rather than one large head and is supposed to be easier to grow than regular broccoli. Too bad it turns green when exposed to heat.

Sun King Hybrid Broccoli produces large heads and is heat tolerant, but I bought it because of the 2 words “container friendly” at the lower right hand corner of the seed packet. As I mentioned in last Monday’s blog I am focusing more on container planting this year.

Atomic Red Carrot, with a name like that I had to buy it. It is a high lycopene variety that intensifies in color and sweetness after cooking, cool, can’t wait to taste it.

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Not sure why I bought the White Stem Bok Choy, I still have lots of left over bok choy seeds, could be because it was one of the end of season clearance item at the garden center and I could not pass up a bargain.

Toy Choi Hybrid Pac Choi, this is another seed that I bought because of its name.

Monstrueux de Viroflay Spinach is a variety we grew last year for the first time at LGHVG. A French heirloom variety with big smooth leaves. I liked it a lot cooked so decided to see if it will do well in window box.

Winter Light Daikon Radish is a compromise between the short stubby Korean type and the arm-length daikon. Planning to grow it in a deep container.

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Started more seeds: Oak Leaf Lettuce, Large Prague Celeriac, King Richard Leeks, Chinese Celery, Summer Purple Broccoli, Sun King Hybrid Broccoli, Toy Choi and Kolibi Kohlrabi.

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A lot of the snow from the March 14 Nor’easter have melted away but there is still much left.

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Photo taken yesterday (March 26 2017) afternoon.

Was able to dig a path from my back door to my shed door, now I have access to my garden supplies.

Hopefully all the snow will melt away by the end of this week and I can open the garden gate. (The snow piles left by the snow plows on the side of my driveway and the sides of the roads will stick around a bit longer.)

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Copyright © by Norma Chang. All Rights Reserved. Do not use/repost any photos and/or articles without permission.

Do visit Dave at Our Happy Acres for more Harvest Monday

About Norma Chang

I am the author/publisher of 2 user-friendly Chinese cookbooks: "My Students' Favorite Chinese Recipes (updated edition)" and "Wokking Your Way to Low Fat Cooking" A gardener who enjoys cooking and eating and loves to think outside the box A garden volunteer at Locust Grove Heritage Vegetable Garden Conduct hands-on cooking workshops for teenagers Conduct cultural programs for children and family Conduct healthy cooking classes for adults
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24 Responses to Harvest Monday, March 27, 2017 – Growing sweet Potatoes Slips + New Varieties + More Seed Starting

  1. You are always such an inspiration Norma. I didn’t actually realise there were so many varieties of sweet potato.
    Have a wonderful and happy week.
    🙂 Mandy xo

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Mandy,
      There are dozens of varieties of edible sweet potatoes, flesh colors just as varied – purple, yellow, red, white, orange, etc. most people are familiar with the orange flesh variety, my favorite is the purple. A wonderful week to you too.

  2. Angie@Angie's Recipes says:

    Gosh..still so much snow?? Happy Gardening, Norma.

  3. The Wilma’s SPs are rooting fast – I put them in water 6 days ago. Two of the 5 have roots and I’m wondering if a couple of the others are upside down. I haven’t gotten any numbers from Susan, but I hope to have enough to give away so you are first on my list.

  4. It sounds like Wilma’s SP would be a good one for gardeners with shorter seasons. There are so many sweet potato varieties there is no way I will ever try them all. Sand Hill has such an enormous selection of them!

  5. When I lived in Tennessee and Florida I had veggie gardens and Georgia Jet was always the choice. I envy your green thumbs – both of them.

  6. Phuong says:

    Planting seeds is always enjoyable, even when it’s cold and dreary outside. I hope it warms up for you soon.

  7. Margaret says:

    I love your sweet potato selection! Other than it being Ontario grown, I have no idea what variety of sweet potato I am growing (as I picked it up at the grocer), but it’s a slowpoke when it comes to developing roots so I started mine back in February. One is well on it’s way but the other is taking it’s sweet time with only one tiny root on it so far. Great tips on knowing which end is up, btw – I think I have it right with the slowpoke potato, but sometimes, it’s still hard to tell.

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Margaret,
      Can Sand Hill Preservation Center ship SP slips to Ontario? Even if the company cannot ship to Ontario it is worthwhile to visit their web site for the wealth of information offered about SP varieties. Of the 6 varieties we grow at LGHVG 4 are early varieties 2 are mid-season. If your SP is Ontario grown most likely it is an early variety.

      • Margaret says:

        The potatoes I have are Ontario grown, but I have no idea what variety they are – I was thinking the same thing in that if they grew here on a farm, they should be good for me. Unfortunately, we can’t get plant material other than seeds into Canada from the US (without a photosanitary certificate)- always makes me sad as there is so much variety of everything there! But I’ll take a look at the Sand Hill site. I’m always up for learning something new.

      • Norma Chang says:

        Hello Margaret,
        Perhaps there is a Canadian company that sells SP slips.

  8. Hi there Norma! Happy Spring to you. It looks like you are ready to go for a super harvest this year. Each one of those sweet potatoes has a different sweet potato leaves and these all taste slightly different too. What one is your favorite?

  9. Bill says:

    Showing my ignorance, I didn’t know sweet potatoes would grow in the north. Another way to start the slips is to bury the potatoes under some rotted sawdust and keep them moist. I’m envious of all the different varieties you’re growing!

    I’ll be curious to see what you think of the Toy Choi. We’ve grown it and it grew well and tastes great. But we preferred the larger varieties so we haven’t grown it in a while.

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Bill,
      I have always started my SP slips by rooting the SP in water but I read about rooting in soil so am giving it a try this year. Placed some SP in moist pro-mix and others in water on the same day. Anxious to see if there is any difference. The early season SP grows well in the Hudson Valley, the mid-season not too bad the late season definitely not. That’s why my Okinawan SP did poorly 😦
      I too am curious about the Toy Choi, seeds germinated and are doing well under grow lights.

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