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Reed's Landrace Sweet Potatoes

Posts: 571
Location: SE Indiana
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More discussion form the other forum:

I definitely see a reason to scarify if you only have a few seeds but when I got my first twenty or so it was before I did all the reading and research about them and didn't know they needed it so I ended up with 3 plants out of those 20 seeds. I was lucky to find some varieties that bloomed a little for the second year and they and those 3 crossed up and got things started. Actually now that I'm thinking about it I might have just had 2 plants that year and the third was a clone of the one that made the original seeds. Anyway that year turned out to be great with a long dry fall and I collected seeds all the way into November.

Weather is a huge factor in getting good seeds. I think it was 2018 when August was weirdly cool and wet, half of the seeds molded and rotted in the capsules and I discarded what might have been good ones if a capsule mate had rotted because I didn't what that residue left behind. Another year it was hot and wet and a lot of seeds sprouted in the still green capsules.  Even in those bad years I got plenty of seeds but it taught me not to take it for granted. Another reason I think to always keep a nice backup stock of seeds.

I've never so far had a failure in root production but I haven't up till now really been trying to maximize that. I suspect when I move to that stage next year by preparing the soil better and more uniformly I'll see weather related differences. Mostly next year I hope to find yield root quality variation just between the different ones, probably won't really lean much about effects of weather on that for a long time.

I was planning not to sprout seeds next year, just to clone this year's best plants to make the new elite line of seeds but maybe I will do a small scarification experiment. I could sort out 20 bigger, lighter color seeds and 20 smaller darker ones and scarify 1/2 of each, just to see what happens. They would be wasted cause I wouldn't have space to grow them out to see if indeed the harder to spout ones were some how better or worse than the easier ones but I might learn if my theory about seed size and color is true.  But it might just or even more likely be that differences in seed size and color is just another genetic variation like root color or leaf shape.
Mark Reed
Posts: 571
Location: SE Indiana
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From what I've seen if you grow sweet potatoes in water they don't make any storage roots at all, even if it's one that does make roots when grown in soil. They do bloom and make seeds though. I don't know if this might be a way to induce blooming or not but if you like the greens it is definitely a way to produce them in abundance and the fish in a small artificial pond really enjoy it too. Some kind of bugs hide, or may just tasty algae grows in those root mats and the little bluegills are always looking around in them. Or maybe they just like hiding in them too.

I saw in another post, can't find it right now where someone was talking about starting or keeping their slips in their aquarium. I have thought about that but never tried it, was afraid my aquarium doesn't get enough direct light. Also mine as a hood and would have to drill a hole to stick the stem through. I think I might give it a go. Would just take a small hole and I bet it would really benefit the fish, probably wouldn't even need charcoal with a mat of sweet potato roots in the water. I imagine if the did take off good would have to trim them back now and then.
Aquaponic Sweet Potato Vines
Aquaponic Sweet Potato Vines
Mark Reed
Posts: 571
Location: SE Indiana
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Another re-post from the other forum where we talk about sweet potatoes

Quote from: --------- on Yesterday at 04:51:47 AM
"So, could hydroponically grown slips be a viable alternative to bulking up seed?"

It's easy to make slips from any growing vine. It could be in an actual hydroponic system or just a glass of water on a windowsill or growing in the ground or pot in a greenhouse. Any section of vine at least a couple inches long with a leaf joint will root and in a little wile be big enough to make still more slips from it. And by then you can get more from the older one.  It isn't a substitute for seeds though cause it still requires keeping either a plant or roots alive during the off season.

Quote from: ---------- on Yesterday at 04:51:47 AM
"If that's the case, maybe I could get some slips from you guys who have reliable seed setting varieties,  but not enough seed to share. Or I could attempt it on my own. Are the ornamental varieties better at seed set? Is there better seed set with different varieties vs selfed?"

I don't really make the distinction between ornamental and culinary anymore. All it means is if they make useable sized storage roots or not and that I think is just another variable trait in the species. I do think my initial luck in the project was because of the chance discovery of a self fertile "ornamental" and that trait got passed into my overall grex but most existing varieties are not self fertile. I don't really know the percentage of mine that are because I grow them all in a polyculture.

Quote from: --------- on Yesterday at 04:51:47 AM
"I only check this thread occasionally,  so I'm not sure what the state of this project is at this point in time. How are you all getting along with it?"

Currently the "turning sweet potatoes into a seed grown annual" project is largely complete. This year I planted seeds directly in the ground and had about 30% germination within a couple of weeks. That was enough and fast enough to more than fill my planting area. Many that didn't come up fast enough were just left crowded in the planting bed, some ended up blooming but most came up too late to make much roots. A smaller number planted at the same time in a cold frame had about 70% germination in time to plant out but I didn't have enough space and favored the direct planted ones.

There are still lots of questions I'd like to answer but not likely to be able to, especially concerning compatibility. Who is self fertile and why? Who is compatible with one or more particular other and not another and why? Who is compatible with one or more other but only in one direction?  Are there any that are compatible with most or all others? Are self fertile ones compatible with others as a rule or are most of their seeds selfed? And lots of others like how are traits passed on?

I doubt I will ever know those answers cause it is just way more than I could do to answer them and the university scientists don't seem to care or if they do they don't seem to write about it. They just do large scale polycross looking for the next one to patent as a clone. They don't care about garden scale growing from seed.

From what I read pretty much all traits are quantitive so I have just been applying what I call genetic distillation, trying to  cull out those that don't make nice roots, that have giant vines, don't bloom well or don't taste good. Stuff I can do just by looking and tasting, no need for microscopes, DNA tests and mountains of records.

This year I ended up with about 20 that meet most or all of my favored criteria. I archived most of my seeds in sealed test tubes, inside stainless steel canisters buried in the ground. Next year I'm planning on growing mostly just clones of those 20 with hope to make a new elite line of seeds.

State of the seeds right now is roughly. A single seed has about a 30% chance of sprouting within two weeks planted directly in the ground. That plant has probably a 95% chance that it will bloom and set seed, assuming it has an appropriate partner or is self fruitful. It has about a 70% chance that it will make nice roots and seeds within 100 days of sprouting. Probably 70% chance it will have bushy rather than large vine growth habit. I won't venture a guess on lots of other things like color, flavor and so on.

I am hopeful that the seeds produced next year will reveal all kinds of wonder things in 2022. Also I'm making more effort next year to give them better soil and take better care of them so as to learn their real potential as far as yield. If any of of those 20 show superior there I might also clone them again in 2022.

"What a long strange trip it's been"
Posts: 56
Location: Missouri
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Dennis Bangham wrote:My wife loves the Asian (white flesh) Sweet Potato.  I have taken over almost all of the garden area and left little room for her to grow these.  Can they be made to grow in vertical tubes made out of fencing?  Leaves then dirt then wood chips and repeat.

I'm coming out of my first year growing sweet potatoes and they certainly can take over the garden! Someone more experienced than I would need to comment on the growing method you asked about, but a simple trellis would get the vines off the ground. Google "sweet potato trellis".
Katie Nicholson
Posts: 56
Location: Missouri
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I'm a new gardener. 2020 was my first year growing more than a bucket of tomatoes and of course houseplants. Of course I've helped my mom and grandma, both excellent gardeners, so I have a little useful knowledge. 2021 was my first year growing sweet potatoes from slips I grew from a grocery store sweet potato. The potato began to rot early so I only got 3 slips and planted in a new garden spot with no amendments and a layer of clay about 18" below the surface. Amazingly, they produced a small crop and the vines bloomed profusely (a trait I didn't appreciate until reading more about sweet potato seeds on various websites and this forum.) I'm now hoping to find another blooming variety to grow next year. The neighbors gave us two huge sweet potatoes from their garden (2¼ lbs for the bigger one!) so I think I'll ask them if theirs bloom and if so, try to get some slips as the flavor was superb! I'm hoping to grow my own seeds.
Mark Reed
Posts: 571
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Dennis Bangham wrote:My wife loves the Asian (white flesh) Sweet Potato.  I have taken over almost all of the garden area and left little room for her to grow these.  Can they be made to grow in vertical tubes made out of fencing?  Leaves then dirt then wood chips and repeat.

I don't know about vertical "tubes" if you're talking about something with a small diameter I would guess not. They do however do very well in containers, perhaps even small containers. But not all of them do well that way. In my breeding I select for what I call "clump root" where a nice harvest is found close to and directly under the main stem. This seems generally but not always to coincide with a bushy growth habit. Those do well in pots no bigger than five gallons or even smaller.

Many however have a spreading root habit where the harvest roots grow off of other roots that have exited the drain holes. When that happens, they may be a foot or more deep and two or three feet away from the main stem. When starting new seeds, I about always grow them in pots. If no nice roots are found in the pots, then one of two things has happened. Either that plant did not make large roots, or they are deep in the ground and or far away from the main stem. I keep seed from those plants, but I do not clone them for backcrossing. If and when I ever release my seeds, I want to be able to say that you won't have to dig a big crater to find your taters.
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Are Sweet Potato Leaves Edible? Yes, definitely!
It's time to meet the newest bunch of leaves poised for the superfood spotlight: sweet potato
leaves… edible and delicious, with a softer texture and less bitter taste than kale or chard.
A new analysis published in the journal HortScience found the leaves have 3 times more
vitamin B6, 5 times more vitamin C, and almost 10 times more riboflavin than actual sweet
potatoes. Also an excellent source of antioxidants, high levels of vitamin A, thiamin, folic
acid and niacin with impressive amounts of fiber, calcium, magnesium, manganese, zinc,
copper, potassium and iron. Nutritionally similar to spinach, but sweet potato leaves have less
oxalic acid, which gives some greens like spinach and chard a sharper taste.
As for eating the leaves, they're best used like spinach, The simplest way is to sauté them
with garlic and olive oil just until they're wilted … add a couple drops of fish sauce, too.
(Remove 2-3 strings from the stem, like with celery, by starting at the bottom and pull up.)
Also good greens for chookies, pet rabbits, guinea pigs ….
Sweet potato leaves Quick Facts
Name: Sweet potato leaves
Scientific Name: Ipomoea batatas
Origin Tropical regions in America
Colors Green (Leaves)
Shapes Alternate, ovate to orbicular, Length: 4-15 cm; Width: 3-11 cm (Leaves)
Taste Bitter
Calories 15 Kcal./cup
Major nutrients
Vitamin K (88.17%)
Vitamin A (9.43%)
Vitamin B2 (9.31%)
Magnesium (5.71%)
Vitamin B6 (5.08%)

Health Benefits of Sweet Potato leaves
1. Heart ailments
Vitamin K helps to prevent the arteries calcification which is one of the main causes for heart
attacks. It carries away from arteries and does not allow forming into harmful and hard
deposits of plaque. Vitamin K is a vital nutrients in order to reduce inflammation and prevent
the cells which lines the blood vessels such as arteries and veins. An adequate intake of
Vitamin K helps to maintain the healthy blood pressure and reduces the risk of having cardiac
2. Density of bones
Vitamin K helps to maintain the calcium on bones and reduces the chances of osteoporosis.
The studies shows that high intake of Vitamin K can eradicate bone loss in osteoporosis
patients. Vitamin K is essential for using calcium to form bones. Vitamin K enhances the
health of bones and lowers the chances of bone fractures in the postmenopausal women.
The high intake of Vitamin K2 helps to reduce the chances of hip fracture by about 65%. The
evidence shows that Vitamin D and Vitamin K works together to enhance the density of
bones. Vitamin K has the positive effects on calcium balance. The consumption of foods rich
in Vitamin K by the injured patients helps to prevent the sprained ankles and recovers the
broken bones.
3. Pain during menstruation
Vitamin K regulates the hormone function lowers the pain of PMS cramps and menstrual
pains. Vitamin K clots the blood and prevents the excessive bleeding during menstruation and
relieves pain of PMS symptoms. Over bleeding can cause more pains and cramps during
menstruation. The deficiency of Vitamin K can worsen these symptoms.
4. Treats cancer
Vitamin K helps to reduce the chances of colon, prostate, nasal, oral and stomach cancer. The
study shows that high intake of Vitamin K by the liver cancer patients helps to enhance the
functions of liver. The intake of Vitamin K helps to reduce the chances of cancer and
cardiovascular conditions.
5. Clots blood
Vitamin K assists in blood clotting which requires twelve proteins to function. Vitamin K
promotes the clotting of blood which helps to recover the cuts and bruises quickly. When the
blood clotting does not takes place properly then one could experience haemorrhagic disease
of new born. This is caused due to the deficiency of Vitamin K. The study shows that the
newborns should be given the injection of Vitamin K at birth to prevent from HDN.
6. Brain health
The study shows that Vitamin K has the role in the metabolism of sphingolipid in which the
molecules occur naturally which is present in the cell membranes of the brain. Sphingolipids
have a vital role in the cellular actions and assist in forming and supporting the structural role
in the brain. An evidence shows that Vitamin K possess an anti-inflammatory properties
which prevents the brain from oxidative stress which is a free radical damage. Oxidative
stress damages the cells and contributes to the Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, Parkinson’s
disease as well as heart failure.
7. Gum health
Cavities and gum problems are the result of the food low in Vitamin C, A, D and K. The
intake of foods rich in fat soluble vitamins helps to prevent the gum disease and tooth decay.
It also plays a vital role in the mineralization of teeth and bones. The food rich in minerals
and vitamins helps to eliminate the bacteria present in the mouth and teeth. Vitamin K works
with other vitamins and minerals to eradicate the bacteria that damage the enamel of tooth. It
also maintains the strong teeth by providing adequate amount of minerals.
8. Reduce inflammation
Vitamin possesses antioxidant properties which eradicated free radicals from the body that
damages the cells and tissues. Vitamin A reduces the chances of food allergies and prevents
the harmful overreaction. It lowers the inflammation which helps to reduce the chances of
neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.
9. Healthy skin and hair
Vitamin A is essential for the regrowth of skin and to heal wounds. It assists the epithelial
cells externally and internally. Vitamins help in the formation of glycoproteins which is the
combination of protein and sugar and binds the cells together for the formation of soft tissues.
Vitamin A deficiency results in poor complexion. Vitamin A can promote the health of skin
and also counteracts acne. It keeps the wrinkles and lines at bay with the production of more
collagen which helps to maintain the skin young. It also provides the healthy hair.
Traditional Uses
 Sweet potato helps to reduce the chances of liver disease and stomach cancer.
 It lowers depression and helps to lose weight.
 The fresh leaf helps to treat neoplasia.
 The leaves are considered to possess an antioxidant, antimutagen, anti-cancer, antihypertension, anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties.
 It is used to provide relief from constipation.
 It helps to enhance the immunity power and prevents the disease and infections.
 The drink made from the leaves helps to eradicate diarrhea, nausea and stomachaches.
 It is also effective for colds, flus, burns, bug bites and scrapes.
 It also lowers anxiety, stress and blood pressure.
How to eat
 The leaves of Sweet potato are consumed as leafy greens.
 They can also be steamed, fried or boiled.
 Chop the leaves of sweet potato and add it to the recipes or sautee with garlic and
 Sauté leaves with sesame oil and ginger. And then season with pepper and salt.
 It is a best substitute for the spinach.
 In Asia, the leaves are stir fried with soy sauce and garlic.
 It could be consumed raw by adding it to the salads.
Nutritional value of Sweet potato leaves, raw
Serving Size: 1 Cup chopped, 35 g
Calories 15 Kcal. Calories from Fat 1.62 Kcal.
Proximity Amount % DV
Water 30.38 g N/D
Energy 15 Kcal N/D
Energy 61 kJ N/D
Protein 0.87 g 1.74%
Total Fat (lipid) 0.18 g 0.51%
Ash 0.48 g N/D
Carbohydrate 3.09 g 2.38%
Total dietary Fiber 1.9 g 5.00%
Minerals Amount % DV
Calcium, Ca 27 mg 2.70%
Iron, Fe 0.34 mg 4.25%
Magnesium, Mg 24 mg 5.71%
Phosphorus, P 28 mg 4.00%
Potassium, K 178 mg 3.79%
Sodium, Na 2 mg 0.13%
Selenium, Se 0.3 µg 0.55%
Vitamins Amount % DV
Water soluble Vitamins
Vitamin B1 (Thiamin) 0.055 mg 4.58%
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 0.121 mg 9.31%
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 0.395 mg 2.47%
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid) 0.079 mg 1.58%
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) 0.066 mg 5.08%
Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid) 3.8 mg 4.22%
Fat soluble Vitamins
Vitamin A, RAE 66 µg 9.43%
Vitamin A, IU 1322 IU N/D
Beta Carotene 776 µg N/D
Alpha Carotene 15 µg N/D
Beta Cryptoxanthin 20 µg N/D
Lutein + zeaxanthin 5152 µg N/D
Vitamin K (phylloquinone) 105.8 µg 88.17%
Lipids Amount % DV
Fatty acids, total saturated 0.039 g N/D
Palmitic acid 16:00 (Hexadecanoic acid) 0.035 g N/D
Stearic acid 18:00 (Octadecanoic acid) 0.004 g N/D
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated 0.007 g N/D
Oleic acid 18:1 (octadecenoic acid) 0.007 g N/D
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated 0.08 g N/D
Linoleic acid 18:2 (octadecadienoic acid) 0.067 g N/D
Linolenic acid 18:3 (Octadecatrienoic acid) 0.013 g N/D
Amino acids Amount % DV
Tryptophan 0.012 g 2.73%
Lysine 0.08 g 2.39%
Methionine 0.03 g N/D
Cystine 0.016 g N/D
Flavonols Amount % DV
Isorhamnetin 0 mg N/D
Kaempferol 0.7 mg N/D
Myricetin 1.5 mg N/D
Quercetin 5.9 mg N/D
*Above mentioned Percent Daily Values (%DVs) are based on 2,000 calorie diet
intake. Daily values (DVs) may be different depending upon your daily calorie needs.
Mentioned values are recommended by a U.S. Department of Agriculture. They are
not healthbenefitstimes.com recommendations. Calculations are based on average age
of 19 to 50 years and weighs 194 lbs.
Check out two more tasty ways to use sweet potato greens:
Sautéed Sweet Potato Greens
1 lg bunch sweet potato greens (about ½ pound)
½ sm white onion, diced

2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper
1½ Tbsp maple syrup
1. REMOVE sweet potato leaves from stems and set aside. Remove smaller stems from the
larger, tougher stems. Discard the larger stems and roughly chop the smaller stems.
2. HEAT olive oil in medium-sized pan over medium high heat. Add onion and sauté until
just softened, about 3 minutes.
3. ADD stem pieces and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes.
4. ADD leaves, salt and pepper to taste, and maple syrup. Sauté until leaves are wilted, about
2 minutes. Serve. Recipe courtesy of from The Bitten Word.
Sweet Potato Greens with Grilled Salmon
1 lg bunch of sweet potato greens
1 tsp canola oil
½ tsp minced fresh ginger
1 tsp sesame oil
lemon zest
2 (4 oz) salmon fillets
Salt and pepper
1. REMOVE sweet potato leaves from stems. Chop smaller stems, and discard the larger
2. HEAT oil in a skillet over medium high heat.
3. ADD leaves and stem pieces, sesame oil, and ginger. Sauté until tender, about 5 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper, and grate some fresh lemon zest on top.
4. SEASON salmon with salt and pepper, and simply roast or grill. Serves 2.
Recipe courtesy of MJ and Hungry Man.
Tubers are ready for harvest in 4 months from planting in tropical areas and 6 months in
cooler zones
• To harvest, pull back vines to reveal their base and then use a garden fork to loosen the
surrounding soil and expose the tubers. There can be several tubers ready at each planting
• In warm areas, plants can be left in the ground for several years. Best to dig as needed.
Look for a thickened stem, or walk around feeling for a lump, and start digging.
• In cooler areas, harvest crop before winter .Dig in autumn when the soil is still warm. Cure
in a warm, airy place for two weeks before storing at cool room temperatures. Large tubers
store best. Wash and air-dry for a few days and store in the fridge
Tubers are often found 12 inches or more from the plant's primary crown, so dig carefully.
Haven't grown Yacon before but guess it would be similar... Green Harvest Seed Co QLD
says this ...
The plant takes 6 - 7 months to reach maturity. After flowering top growth withers and dies back and
the tubers are harvested. They resemble dahlia or sweet potato tubers, on average weigh about 300
g but can weigh up to 2 kg. Once the soil starts to heave at the base of the plant, dig around to
'bandicoot' a few early tubers to extend the harvest season. The tubers continue to sweeten as the
plant dies back so the main harvest should only take place once all the top growth is dead, usually by
May. Don't leave it too long though, especially in areas that have mild winters, as the plant will start
to shoot again as the weather warms up and the days get longer. The plant needs to be dug carefully
to avoid damage to the crisp tubers. After separation from the central stem undamaged tubers can
be stored in a cool, dark and dry place with good air circulation for some months. The average sugar
content of the tubers increases during storage because of starch conversion. They can also be
exposed to the sun for up to 2 weeks to accelerate the sweetening process
Mark Reed
Posts: 571
Location: SE Indiana
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It's been a good bit since I updated this topic. Project is ongoing and doing pretty well. I started more seeds than ever this year and sort of bit of more than I could chew in some ways. I learned quite a bit I didn't know before, one of which is I'm terrible at making videos but here one is at harvest time thig year.

Been there. Done that. Went back for more. But this time, I took this tiny ad with me:
kickstarter is live now! Low Tech Laboratory 2!
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