Grow sweet potatoes by creating slips, preparing the soil, weeding the plant and watering it regularly. Slips are halves or sections of mature sweet potatoes on which roots and sprouts grow.
- Create slips
Purchase slips at a plant shop, or prepare your own. To create slips, cut sweet potatoes in half lengthwise, put them in moist potting soil, and cover them with 2 inches of soil. Be sure the soil bed remains warm and damp. Within days, roots should begin to develop, and shortly afterward, leaves sprout. In approximately six weeks, when the sprouts are 4 to 6 inches tall, they are ready for planting.
- Prepare the soil
When the last frost has passed, prepare the soil. If the pH of the soil falls outside the 5.0 to 6.5 range, amend it. Till the soil so it is loose and well-draining to ensure that the roots can grow freely.
- Plant the slips
Create 8-inch-high raised rows, and plant the slips 12 to 18 inches apart. The rows should be 3 to 4 feet away from each other. In cool climates, cover the rows with black plastic, but leave slits for the plants to grow through.
- Weed and water the plants
Weed the area regularly until vine growth covers the ground and acts as a natural mulch. Water right after planting, frequently during the first few weeks and then about once a week. Stop watering the plants three to four weeks before harvest so the roots do not split open.