Question of the Week – Number 3: November 2, 2017

Photo: The ageratum will be gone with first freeze, but can the lime-green sweet potato be saved?

“Neil, Can I save my sweet potato vines for next year? Are the big roots edible?”

Yes, you can harvest the giant tubers and save them indoors over the winter, then cut them into pieces to start new “slips” next spring. There are ample stories and videos of how to do so online.

But honestly, folks, is it really worth all that effort if you’re only going to need a few plants? I’ll leave that up to you. Space at our house is pretty precious and I’m unable to justify storing the tubers. Plus, it seems like there are “new and improved” selections every year that I want to try. I prefer to start with fresh and vigorous transplants each spring.

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So, are they edible?
As for whether they’re edible, I find no one claiming that they are. Their tubers are huge and very woody. Those reports I do find say that they’re relatively tasteless. Once again, I’ll leave that up to you. However, if you garden in the sandy soil that regular garden sweet potatoes prefer, I’d suggest sticking with those. They’re actually kinda pretty in their own right, so focus on them for the edibles.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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