Thanks to Southern Exposure Seed Exchange for sponsoring the Collard episode:
How to Propagate Sweet Potatoes
How To Propagate Sweet Potatoes explores on farm propagation of sweet potato slips and making selections for regional adaptation. Interviews with farmers and growers across the south tell a story of seed heritage deeper than any one variety. Take a deep dive into propagating sweet potato slips to learn both the technical side of saving seeds and the reasons why it’s so important.
Ipomea batatas: Sweet potatoes originated in Central or South America many thousands of years ago and have spread around the world as a nutrient dense root crop. Skin and flesh color combinations of red, yellow, orange, purple and white allow for an impressive and colorful diversity of varieties. While sweet potatoes do flower (small purple morning glory like flowers) and produce seeds, they are most commonly clonally propagated. Sweet potatoes are a good example of a tropical perennial that has successfully been adapted as a temperate annual.
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In 2021 The Utopian Seed Project and Communal Studios received a grant from Southern SARE to create a Southeast Seed video series. The project traveled across 12 states and interviewed over 50 farmers, community gardeners, seed savers, seed growers and seed advocates. The footage was weaved together to tell the story and seed saving of six southern crops: corn, okra, southern peas, collards, sweet potatoes and squash.
This material is based upon work that is supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under award number 2020-38640-31521 through the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program under subaward number LS21-351. USDA is an equal opportunity employer and service provider.