Ottawa Valley Research Hub

Starting your garden.  

Planting and gardening information.  

Feb. 23, 2022 

here's a pretty good article on seed starting indoors.
The exception to this rule is sweet potato as I start sprouts by soaking sweet potato tubers in 3' of water (standing on their end) around Feb 10th -15th.Each tuber will sprout about 8-10 shoots. When they reach about 4" I break them off right where they grow from the tuber. This shoot I soak in about an inch or two of water until small white roots start. This happens mostly where a leaf and stem meet. When these roots are about 1/4 to 1/2" long I plant them in a small container of potting soil. Water often for a week to 10 days. Sweet potato is a member of the Morning Glory family and so one can eat the whole plant. Storage is easy. I use Rubber Maid containers with news paper between each layer of tubers. My basement stays around 60F give or take and I have successfully stored sweet potato for over 'one year' and they are still quite good. Sweet potato are not like regular potato -they don't send on long shoots which consumes the tuber. (By the way regular potatoes are part of the Nightshade Family and can irritate joints with arthritis.) Sweet potato does not and is actually considered a 'super food' ... therefore a must for anyone looking to be self-sufficient.
Given our current collapse of the matrix, I strongly urge any one with a garden to grow sweet potato. There is a type called Covington which has aprox. 105 day growing cycle making it perfect for our zone. Plant June 1st and harvest Sept 10th or so. I also grow Beauregard which is a good producer, straight tubers and I can get on the average about 2.5 -2.7lbs per plant yield. Space each plant about 14" apart. They can be grown in trenches as well. **Be sure to mulch... During its growing cycle I water each plant every other day unless we get rain. (I recommend everyone have a moisture tester). Sweet potato is a sub-tropical plant so it does not seem to mind a little extra water as long as your soil is not heavy with too much clay. Water is 'critical' in having a good sweet potato crop... They grow well in raised beds. A raised bed 3'x8' feet can produce aprox. 25 lbs. Vines can get 12-15 ft long. When harvest time arrives, after digging your sweet potato, let them sit in the sun for a day or so -gently remove excess soil and store. (No need to wash them). Small tubers an 1" to 1.5" in diameter should be eaten asap as they will dry out. Have you ever had sweet potato pie? Awesome.      

I think seed saving is another thing that we should do. This is done only with 'Heirloom' seeds as you probably know.. Hybrid seeds may not produce the same fruit because they are a cross between two or more different plants. I have an heirloom squash that I am saving the seeds -it's called Thelma Sanders. They a very good producers and the squash store well 6-7 months at least depending on temperature.  
I got long winded here :) Any questions let me know. Share this info if you wish.By the way, I have extra skids to give away which are great for making composting bins.
We are in the early stages here to start a Farmers Market. Perhaps consider growing more than you need this season so you can join us. Updates to follow. 
"The dogs of war howl the loudest when their end draws near."