How to grow sweet potatoes in your African kitchen (www.africanepicure.com)

(Flickr: Tony Buser)

Sweet potato plants don’t need a lot of sun, so they make great indoor plants and additions to your balcony or terrace garden. Especially when space in limited, sweet potatos are an essential additon to your African garden. They’re very easy to grow yourself from any sweet potato you buy in the market. Of course, it’s best if you pick an organic one that tastes delcious, ideally an African heirloom variety. No matter what you find, here’s how to sprout one.

How to Easily Grow Indoor Sweet Potato Plants

1. To start your own African sweet potato plants, take a whole sweet potato and suspend it with toothpicks over a wide-mouthed glass. You want the bottom part to be just touching the water: we like to submerge about 1/4 to 1/3 of the vegetable.

2. Then you leave it for a few weeks. The trick, at this point, is not to forget about it for so long that the water dries up. Keep adding water to maintain the level, every few days. This is easier than it sounds, especially if you put it near the sink. The sweet potato at this point does not need sunlight, although we’ve seen that it doesn’t hurt either.

3. Basically, sweet potatoes are not fussy plants. If you’re growing your own from a vegetable, it might take a month or two to sprout, but when it does, you’ll have baby sweet potato plants.

4. As soon as a sprout has three sets of leaves, break it off gently and plant it in nice potting soil, full of homegrown compost.

5. You want to plant two sets of leaves and leave the top set of leaves nicely above ground. The leaves will become roots under the soil.

6. Water your sweet potatoes every few days and keep them in partial sun and partial shade.

They make great balcony plants and you can  contintually harvest the leaves to cook up sweet potato greens. Once you have one plant, you can break off a branch and plant half under the soil and leave a set of leaves above, just like you did with the baby sweet potato sprouts. It’s easy to cover your house in indoor sweet potato pots and have lovely edible greens everywhere.

We hope you give this a try! For recipes and more about sweet potatoes, try:

About African Sweet Potatoes
Cooking with African Sweet Potatoes

For more about starches, staples and artisanal grains, we invite you to:

About Starches and Artisanal Grains
Cooking with Starches and Artisanal Grains