Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Sweet Potato: Good and Bad

The Bad:

I've been meaning to try rooting and growing some sweet potato cuttings indoors just because I've always mentioned that it is possible. So I cut a few of my favourites, stuck them in a cup and watched them root. Yes, I've been meaning to plant them for a few weeks now. They root quickly. Unfortunately, something else took an interest in them: spider mites

Hanging out with their siblings, a whole lot of spider mites.

Before I threw them out, I figured, I'd take a picture for you to enjoy. 

Learning to Love the Vile Villians*: Spider Mites

Here's an interesting fact:

"Under optimal conditions (approximately 80 °F or 27 °C), the two-spotted spider mite can hatch in as little as 3 days, and become sexually mature in as little as 5 days. One female can lay up to 20 eggs per day and can live for 2 to 4 weeks, laying hundreds of eggs. A single mature female can spawn a population of a million mites in a month or less." 

Gee thanks Wiki. You can get rid of them with a solution of water and soap or at least you can try.

Why didn't I try to rescue the plants instead of tossing them out with their rooting water? Well, they were far gone and I didn't then population of spider mites to move on to other  house plants especially my seedlings.

By the way, it is possible to overwinter sweet potato cuttings. I've done it for fun with a grocery store bought variety that sprouted. I just had some bad luck. Let me know if it went better for you.

The Good:

Here, I showed you a comparison between one plus year old stored sweet potato roots and fresh roots. Well, I wondered if those old roots still had it in them to sprout. They do.

This variety is Fraiser White and its sprouts are bright green. I am also sprouting an orange variety, probably Georgia Jet with purplish growth.


* I actually am fascinated by the bugs of all kinds. Anywhere you go is a zoo of diversity. However, I'm also passionate about plants and sometimes the two of them don't share space in a way that provides me with a harvest. See multiple mentions of those seedling eaters: earwigs.
** Baby makes mommy post short posts edition: There will be lots of these but you didn't have time to slog through the usual book did you?

1 comment:

Daphne Gould said...

Last spring I had an aphid infestation of my sprouting sweet potatoes. But I needed the slips, so I washed them off every other day. It worked pretty well. I keep them on the kitchen windowsill which is right above the sink, so pretty convenient.