I love sweet potatoes (Batatas as they are called here). For a while we’ve been thinking about getting some planted at the farm. They’re great as a staple food: they’re full of nutrients and complex carbohydrates that keep you going even on the most active days. I like them also because they grow easily, they are pest resistant, and thrive in fairly dry conditions like in our summers. Some people don’t know that the young leaves and shoots are also edible and great in Salads

We’d talked about planting them as ground cover in the zone 3 food forest, where there are currently lots of small trees growing. Planting them alongside pumpkin, at the base of the trees, would supply a serious amount of food year round, whilst performing a secondary role of keeping weeds in control and preventing the sun from baking the soil completely dry, thus giving the trees a better chance. In order to get this started, we’d need a lot of rain so we could plant lots of shoots directly into the ground in one go.
Rather than waiting for rain, I was keen to get something started straight away, so I took some cuttings, put them in glass bottles and put them by a window so they would grow some roots.
Propagating Sweet Potatoes in the window

Propagating Sweet Potatoes in the window

Tara came across an awesome technique of using recycled tires to put the plants in. Luckily, we have a few old tires up at the farm that we can use.
Recycled Tires for Gardening

Recycled Tires for Gardening

The idea is that as the shoots grow you put another tires on top and put more soil in stacking them up. You then repeat this until it’s four tires high. You can then allow the shoots to continue growing, hanging over, and as the plant photosynthesizes, a large proportion of this energy is stored in its roots as tubas (delicious sweet potatoes).
recycling tires for growing potatoes

recycling tires for growing potatoes

Something especially cool about this method is  that when it comes to harvest time, you just have to kick the tires over to get at the goods!
tire tower for planting potatoes

tire tower for planting potatoes

We chose to paint our tires white to reflect some of the suns heat. Of course in cooler climates, the extra heat from the sun on black tires could actually help with growing.