Posts Tagged ‘Sweet Potato Vine’

The spud-producing sweet potato vine.

As I was clearing out my exterior containers for the winter, I came across a sweet potato vine (Ipomoea batatas) “potato”.  I’ve seen spuds from these ornamental vines before but never thought to try to consume them.  I know they are edible but for some reason it seems weird to eat them!

The potato!

I found the potato, shown above, as I was digging through the potting soil, loosening it up in preparation for spring planting.  It looked identical to a normal potato you would find in the grocery store.  Most of the previous potatoes I’ve found from Ipomoea vines are a bright pinkish-purple color.   They come in all sorts of weird shapes more reminiscent of sweet potatoes than baking potatoes.

Wrapped with a moist paper towel, ready to be microwave cooked!

To prepare this potato for consumption, I washed it thoroughly and wrapped it with a moist paper towel to prevent potential explosion splatter in the microwave.  It only took 2 minutes in the microwave to cook very well.  I bet it would have been done in a 1 min 30 sec.

Ready to eat!

With the only seasonings of butter, pepper, and salt, the sweet potato vine potato tasted exactly like a normal potato with a few hints of sweet potato thrown in there. While you aren’t going to get a huge harvest from a single sweet potato vine, it’s still fun to eat what you grow yourself, especially after you enjoyed the plant all summer long. Dig in!

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I always advocate using the biggest planter possible for a given space but sometimes we are confined to use existing planters. Just because a planter, in this case a window box, is tiny doesn’t mean it can’t have a big impact. Here we used a mixture of Begonias, New Guinea Impatiens, Vinca, Sweet Potato Vine and Coleus to create an elegant color scheme. The pink hues of the Coleus pick up on the vibrant color of the Impatiens while the saturated leaves of the Begonia provide a dark contrast.

Small Planters Can Make A Big Impact

An Elegant Mixture of Begonias, New Guinea Impatiens and Coleus

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Ipomoea batatas on a Midtown Rooftop

Ipomoea batatas (AKA Sweet Potato Vine) is overused in today’s landscape. It is almost like the Hemerocallis of annual display. I see it everywhere walking down the sidewalk in New York. The people in charge of the 34th Street planters scattered about Herald Square plant it every single year.

We planted this Ipomoea in the beginning of July. Now, in mid August it has lept past the confines of its planter box and started to grow across the rooftop parapet and into the other planters. Rightly so, this creeping vine is in the same family as morning glories which seem to have no limits.

I have to say, though I am sick of seeing this plant used because it is an easy selection, it really is a work horse in the garden. It gave this planter color, texture, and a feeling of being lush and full without needing a lot of attention. It is resistant to a lot of common rooftop garden pests too. The moral of the story is use it for impact, but work it into a larger scheme in the garden that features more unique and unusual plants as a centerpiece.


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