Last Call for Sweet Potato Slips

*If you are in Kannapolis City Schools, Cabarrus County, Rowan County or Union County, reserve your slips using this Google Docs form by March 22. If you are outside these areas and interested in sweet potato slips, email Doug Vernon to assess availability.


Not sure what to do with your garden beds this summer? We’ve got an easy, fun (and delicious) crop to grow: Sweet potatoes! A few schools planted sweet potatoes last year and Amy trialed them in her home garden to make sure they were as low input as promised. Success! Once established, they were essentially a no maintenance crop until harvest when the students return in August.

Did you know that the sweet potato is the state vegetable for NC? Since 1971 North Carolina has ranked #1 in the nation in sweet potato production, producing over 60% of the US supply; that’s 1.7 billion pounds of sweet potatoes harvested annually. There are teams of researchers at NC State who work on sweet potatoes, from breeding and production to harvest and processing (sweet potato chips, anyone?). We’ve partnered with the horticulture department and are glad to offer six different varieties (different colors!) to our School Garden Network* this year. Even if you are outside our supply area, sweet potato slips can be purchased at your local farm supply store for a few dollars.

Planting should be done in May. A couple weeks of watering establishes good roots and the vines will grow, creating a mat of green leaves, while the sweet potatoes develop underground through the summer. Several schools were very successful last year, one school even won 1st place at the NC State Fair for the most unusual sweet potato. With that friendly competitive spirit in mind, we decided to host a little competition of our own. We’ll share more details later, but to stoke your excitement, here are the categories:

  • Biggest sweet potato by weight
  • Longest sweet potato
  • Most unusual sweet potato
  • Most creative use of a sweet potato
  • Highest weight per square foot ratio
  • Largest number of sweet potatoes per square foot
  • Best recipe Best sweet potato character or mascot
  • Best sweet potato poem or story
  • Best informational video

*If you are in Kannapolis City Schools, Cabarrus County, Rowan County or Union County, reserve your slips using this Google Docs form by March 22. If you are outside these areas and interested in sweet potato slips, email Doug Vernon to assess availability.

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