How to Grow Organic Sweet Potatoes

Botanical Names: Ipomoea batatas

When it comes to growing organically – it depends on how deeply the gardener wants to go into the process. It is possible to secure sweet potato slips quite easily, but they possibly may not have been grown organically. However, calling and speaking to the company that you are purchasing slips from is a good idea as most sweet potatoes are put in a hotbed that is covered in peat or manure, both of which are organically driven. 

Many companies do not have organic certification, as it is an uphill battle that involves loads of paperwork and is extremely costly. Typically, when a product is stated to be sustainability grown, it means organically, but without all the paperwork needed to make it official with the government. When it comes down to it, it is your garden and whatever you are comfortable with is best.

Finding organic sweet potato slips online is extremely difficult. Here are a couple sources discovered: Sandhill Preservation and Southern Exposure Seed Exchange. 

If you are unable to find a source to provide organic sweet potato slips, it is possible to produce your own slips from an organic potato that you previously harvested or purchased from a local farmer’s market. Here are the steps for producing your own sweet potato slips.

Once slips are obtained, it is extremely easy to grow them organically. First and foremost, it is important to know the pH and nutrient levels of your current garden soil. This can be done by purchasing a pH kit from agarden center and following the directions or contacting your local extension office. 

Sweet potatoes prefer to grow in soil that is high in potassium. Instead of using any type of synthetic fertilizer, consider compost, manure or one of the additives below that is high in potash:

Greensand: the main component of Greensand is gluconate, which is a mineral derived from ocean sediment, high in potassium, magnesium, iron and aluminum. It is typically green in colordue to this mineral. This organic fertilizer slowly releases nutrients over time in the soil.  

Kelp Meal: valued for its micro and macro-nutrients – nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus makes it an ideal organic fertilizer for fruit and vegetable gardens. Comprised of seaweed, harvested from our nutrient-rich oceans, provides healthier plant growth, stronger yieldsand overall enchances the garden. Kelp comes in three different forms – liquid, powder or concentrate for those gardens with low levels of nutrients. 

Finding organically grown sweet potato slips might take a little more effort, but the nutritious result is worth it.