Q: I have planted some ‘Blackie’ and ‘Margarita’ ornamental sweet potato this year. I want to collect the potatoes to plant more of them next year. Do you have any suggestions on how to store them and prepare them for next year?
A: You can certainly keep the potato tubers over the winter but planting them next spring is not the process you might expect.
Dig the potatoes when the foliage dies this fall. Use a permanent marker to mark the end from which the roots grew (R) and the ends from which the vine grew (V). Keep the tubers in a dry, dark and cool spot until early next March.
At that time suspend each potato in its own glass of water so that the “root end” is half-submerged. Place the glasses in a sunny window and wait for potato sprouts and leaves to appear.
When the sprouts are six inches long, clip them from the mother ‘tater and submerge them half-way in another glass of water in the window. The sprouts will form roots in a few weeks and can then be planted in a sunny spot in your garden.
Vine and root ends marked on potato tuber