Providing practical knowledge for market gardening in the Southern United States.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Starting Plants Inside

My plan this weekend is to start two plants indoors. The first is sweet potatoes. The slips, or small cuttings of the plant which grow directly from the sweet potatoes if exposed to water and sun, can be grown on a south facing window sill. I have had success with cutting a bag of sweet potatoes bought at the store in half and placing the cut sides in shallow pans of water. The pans are placed on a window sill and exposed to full sun. The slips grow fairly rapidly from the cuttings and are removed from the cuttings and placed in a jar of water once they are large enough. I do not plant them until it is warm enough outside and the roots of the slips are robust.


This method is reliable and cheap, but it is not the only method. People who grow lots of sweet potatoes often prefer to start them in shallow beds in the ground. There are quite a few YouTube videos which explain this process in detail. I grow my sweet potatoes mostly for home use. They are not an ideal product to sell at the farmers market. They take up a good bit space in the garden and have a lengthy date to maturity. However, they tolerate poor soils and can sooth a green thumb in late winter.

The second plant which I intend to start indoors this weekend is garlic. I have never grown garlic, but similar to sweet potatoes, I am looking to sooth my green thumb while also growing some for personal use. It is best to start garlic in the fall. However, it can be started in late winter for a smaller harvest. Garlic, unlike sweet potatoes, has some potential as a product for the farmers market. It can be grown effectively in dense spaces. Garlic does have a long date to maturity.

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