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 Post subject: Re: Dioscorea Batatas?
PostPosted: Mon May 20, 2013 3:14 am 
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Location: Seabeck, Washington Zone 8b Elevation: 531 Feet
Vines are really interesting plants.

There was a mini-series on the discovery channel called Life that had an episode all about plants. It was cool to see vines growing in timelapse. Some vines whip thier growing tip around until it hits something and then wrap around. Others use tendrils that feel out for something to grab, and then curl up like a spring to pull the vine closer.

It had a part about bamboo too!


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 Post subject: Re: Dioscorea Batatas?
PostPosted: Mon May 27, 2013 7:17 pm 
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Location: upstate NY zone 6B Location Details
Some of my older potato vines are now over 6ft in length so they may get over 10ft depending on how much starch they have in them.

Here's one of the 1st year ones which seem to be coming up a bit later, and there aren't too many of them that seem to be appearing perhaps due to a brutal winter which may have wiped out most of them.
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 Post subject: Re: Dioscorea Batatas?
PostPosted: Mon May 27, 2013 8:24 pm 
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Location: Toronto (north)
I think I spotted one or two potato vine seedlings that I had almost forgot about. They're growing in the same place as where I planted my Beijing bamboo. At first I didn't recognize it. The base looked rounded like a little marble, grayish in color. I don't recall any fruit or vegetable that we eat with that kind of seed. Anyway, it's good to know that these vines are hardy enough up here.


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 Post subject: Re: Dioscorea Batatas?
PostPosted: Tue May 28, 2013 12:04 am 
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Location: upstate NY zone 6B Location Details
If they aren't too deep, it may be possible to separate them, but it would be interesting to see if bamboos and potatoes can co-exist in the long run.

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 Post subject: Re: Dioscorea Batatas?
PostPosted: Tue May 28, 2013 3:07 am 
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Location: Toronto (north)
Oh, it's very easy to remove the vine. I'll let it grow a little bit more before transplanting it somewhere else. I'd say potato vine wins if allowed to battle with Beijing, and I can't risk that. At the current state, ever leaf, every bit of sunlight that's hitting those leaves are precious, and there're only three or four productive Bejing leaves so far.


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 Post subject: Re: Dioscorea Batatas?
PostPosted: Tue May 28, 2013 3:25 am 
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Location: upstate NY zone 6B Location Details
It's actually less transplant shock to move the air potatoes while the vines are still fairly short because the roots haven't grown too much yet.

Even with 3-4 productive leaves, if there are 4 tiny shoots, that should be enough to initiate lots of energy production since this species produces large leaves, and lots of them. It will probably be making either rhizomes or more shoots in 2-3 months, and some ironite may help at this stage since having the leaves turn very dark green can result in more energy production.

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 Post subject: Re: Dioscorea Batatas?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 02, 2013 1:54 am 
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Location: upstate NY zone 6B Location Details
I like seeing how quickly the potato vines climb up so quickly. They usually finish their growth by July, and focus solely on absorbing energy just like bamboos. Most of these in this picture should already have potatoes over 1lb in size, but they can keep sending up the same shoot every year, and keep getting bigger.
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 Post subject: Re: Dioscorea Batatas?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 10, 2013 1:49 am 
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Unlike most other plants, it looks like these vines thrive in cool wet weather because I've seen the most growth that I've ever seen out of them as temperatures were far below average last week, being around the 50-64F range. They are really starting to leaf out well, and the leaves are larger than they have ever been in the past. The longest one is around 10ft and still growing. Here are some pictures. They are sharing the same trellis as my luffas so they will have to do as much growing and leaf out as soon as possible before the luffa leaves shade them out.
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 Post subject: Re: Dioscorea Batatas?
PostPosted: Mon Sep 02, 2013 8:51 pm 
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My potato vines are producing air tubers like crazy now, many of them ripened and some dropped off, but here's a sample of what a 1st year plant is capable of. This is just the start of their growth as I think most of their growing occurs in September, but they are currently pinky sized little tubers coming off these tiny vines.

I believe the bigger seeds on this kind of potato are capable of producing soda can sized tubers on their 1st year.

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 Post subject: Re: Dioscorea Batatas?
PostPosted: Sat Sep 21, 2013 2:37 am 
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Location: upstate NY zone 6B Location Details
Here's a bigger in ground vine that was simply pressed into the ground last year by around mid October as a small marble sized air potato. The tuber on this one should end up getting around the 1/3lb range, and they should be growing pretty rapidly at around this time based on the observations I have made on this plant.

Tubers basically shrivel up and turn into roots for the spring, and then generally make their most growth from September until the first frost, so they should be putting on lots of weight as I'm typing.

This is what to expect from a small marble sized air potato after the first season. This one is around 40 inches long with only 1 vine, no air potatoes.
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 Post subject: Re: Dioscorea Batatas?
PostPosted: Tue Oct 15, 2013 6:06 am 
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I originally thought that the air potatoes were done growing, but after I harvested all of them, they just made a lot more. I guess I should have waited.
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Some are in the 1 inch diameter range, produced in only 2-3 weeks, and still growing.
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 Post subject: Re: Dioscorea Batatas?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 17, 2013 1:21 am 
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Just to update, I found that when I had the air potatoes bagged up for too long, there was too much moisture causing a lot of them to start sprouting roots which means they are losing energy so I put them back in trays in a cool spot so they stay viable. I could plant them outside right away, but I already know that new tubers are prone to getting frozen especially if the ground freezes with no snow on the ground.

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This is how big they can get after 3 seasons in the ground from a tiny potato.
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 Post subject: Re: Dioscorea Batatas?
PostPosted: Sun Jan 05, 2014 3:03 pm 
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Mine haven't done good in the droughty conditions the past couple seasons.

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 Post subject: Re: Dioscorea Batatas?
PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2014 1:53 am 
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Location: upstate NY zone 6B Location Details
Potatoes can get enormous after growing for 3 seasons, and I have many of them now that are going on their 3rd season. I don't see a point in letting them go for a 4th season because they will just get massive, and vines would just take up too much space. One interesting thing I've found is that they never self-propagate themselves maybe because the dropped air potatoes may always get frozen.
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Here's how 3rd year potatoes compare to the diameter of garlic. I have the bamboo slammer so I can still get them out now matter how big or long they get. I had to add another 8ft of length to the trellis, and plant the luffas in the middle of the trellis so everything can have space.
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 Post subject: Re: Dioscorea Batatas?
PostPosted: Sat May 31, 2014 8:09 pm 
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Location: St. Louis area Location Details
This is a bit of a scary plant.

I got a couple of tiny air potatoes from Steve last year, and one of them was growing in a pot. Just a small thing, I never got around to planting it last year, it stayed in its 3" square pot in the garage all winter. I pulled it out this spring and planted it, and it quickly sent up a vine. Nice! A month later (possibly slightly less), the fourth vine is now emerging from the ground, each thicker than the previous.

The 20 or so extra air potatoes Steve sent me this spring, well, I'm not sure if I'm going to plant any of them! I'll probably pot a couple up and only put into the ground after I see what happens with that first. Pretty vine so far though, but Malabar spinach is prettier and an annual.

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