When we think of growing an edible garden, we think of the ingredients we use in our daily routine, such as tomatoes, carrots, potatoes, sweet peas, peppers, celery, lettuce, cilantro, strawberries and other common edibles. All these ingredients work together to form our staple western diet. They’re readily available in the grocery store, farmer’s markets and even in your own backyard, but have you ever tried your hand at growing something more… out of the ordinary?

There are many alternatives available out there from our typical fruits and vegetables that are equally nutritious and just as delicious. Things like tomatillos, zucchini, yams, salmonberries, and bok choy are all alternatives to broaden your dietary horizon. A great alternative to your typical sweet potato, is the purple sweet potato, otherwise known as the Okinawa sweet potato.

This vegetable is a staple in Hawaiian, latin american and asian cooking and you can probably find it easily in your local grocer or asian food market. It’s sweeter than its orange-fleshed counterpart, delicious and can be used to add a splash of colour to your dinner plate, or even turn an ordinary sweet potato pie into an outstanding, vibrantly violet dessert!

Growing Okinawa sweet potatoes in northern climates can be done, however it may prove a bit more difficult than your average sweet potato, as it’s bred specifically for the weather consistent of Okinawa and Hawaii. Okinawa sweet potatoes prefer lots of water, rich nutritious soil and sunny warm conditions. If you have a greenhouse or an indoor garden, then this should be no issue.

Potatoes and potato-relatives are normally grown using slips, which are cuttings from the potato itself that contain nodes that eventually sprout and turn into vines, but finding slips for Okinawa sweet potatoes online can be a challenge. However, making slips at home is easy, and you can grow a plant from slips taken from a sweet potato you bought from the market. In order to do this, simply suspend the potato in water and place it in a sunny, warm area, such as a windowsill, until it starts to form nodes and roots. Once the potato has sprouted nodes, cut it into cubes, making sure there are at least 1-2 nodes per cube. Once the slips form roots and branches, simply plant in rich, nutritious soil and make sure the plant is warm and well watered, away from a cold climate. Following these steps should prove easy, and in no-time you will have decadent and delicious Okinawa sweet potatoes.

We hope you enjoyed this latest post from Growing Society. Feel free to comment, share and post your photos to our Facebook page and make sure to tune in for more growing tips and tricks.

 

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