Today, I finally got around to removing the sweet potato vine slip from the mother tuber in the terra cotta pot in the courtyard (pictured below) and establishing it in a pretty glazed pot, so that it might serve as a house plant. But not just any ol’ house plant. Oh, no. As my Time Bank friends Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen exclaim in their 2010 classic Making It: Radical Home Ec for a Post-Consumer World, sweet potatoes are “the Filipino Epiphany ... an urban farmer’s Holy Grail: a houseplant that feeds you.”
They further explain that “sweet potato greens are ... a favorite in the Philippines ... are eaten throughout Asia and Africa ... [are] rich in vitamins C and A and a good source of calcium and protein.” Then Kelly and Erik give step-by-step instructions for setting up a “vine nursery” (pictured below) with mother potatoes, that produce numerous slips, that can then be pulled off the tuber, potted separately, and placed all over the house like an indoor farm. “You’re going to need a lot of vines. Otherwise you’ll use up your whole plant in your first stir-fry.”
I can confirm their assertion that the vine (pictured above) is beautiful. With mine newly housed in its pretty, red glazed pot, I had to decide what part of the house to adorn with it. I chose to add it to the scenery of the Ortiz-Taylor House Online Qigong Dojo (pictured below), so that I might share it with attendees of my Monday-Friday virtual series.
Until I make that stir-fry, that is.
Actually, there are seven more slips that have developed on the surface of the two remaining tubers there in the courtyard (pictured below). (Yeah, one of the original three tubers rotted rather immediately.) None is as well-developed yet as this first one. In the coming days, I’ll be moving them all into a series of pots to place all over the house. Over time, each of them will produce its own additional slips. Since we have had such little luck over the years, protecting our outdoor produce from gophers, I’m feeling a hint of hopefulness that I have finally found a way to outsmart them and actually get to eat the fruit (or greens) of my labors.
(You don’t suppose the gophers will find a way to burrow up through the tile floors raid the indoor pots, do you?)