Growing Sweet potato and vines

Hi all,
I have not harvested any sweet potatoes yet, will probably do it next spring. I put a sweet potato in some water and in a few days it sprouted, I've not got about 15-18 sprouts (slips) that are about 10-12" tall.
From what I've read, I take each of these slips, place them in water till they root (they've all rooted now actually), then plant them in soil in the spring. I have a couple of questions about his whole process, not sure I understand it right....
Why are people sprouting these things and getting slips to grow in the fall? Why not just drop sprouted spuds in the ground in the spring?
Do the slips need to be a certain size/maturity before planting them in the ground?
If I was to try growing them indoors, does anyone know what size of pot I should use? Someone posted something about a 2 gal. pot and getting a bunch of sweet potatoes. What about a 4 gal? Or would this lead to cherry sweet potatoes?
Any advice/expertise would be appreciated!!
Thanks!
Mike
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I can tell you of my experience. I saved a sweet potato that had begun to sprout and I planted it out in rich loam in a fantastic climate. The vine grow phenomenally well, you could almost see the sea of green expanding outwards before your eyes. As summer came to an end I decided I'd start harvesting the crop in stages, digging up just one square metre of the bed at a time. But in search of my first spud I ended up digging the whole bed and the only spud I found was the one I'd planted! There were not even tiny tubers in the making anywhere. After planting the whole spud my crop was all vine.

I expect they'll do just fine provided they have a healthy set of roots when you plant them out. The pink-fleshed sweet potatoes do really well in rich sandy loam in full sun. Make sure you cover the slips when you plant them out or they'll be badly sunburnt. Harden them off first, too.
--
John Savage (my news address is not valid for email)


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