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  • Rebecca Drew

Sweet Potato Vines in the House? Oui!

The seemingly charming 1800's era book, Le Livre de Ménage, Recettes Utiles par Mme. Winslow, actually mentions growing sweet potato vines in your house! This was the same individual behind the infamous "soothing syrup" that was finally outlawed in the United States during the early 1900's. As for the vines, Mrs. Winslow makes it sound so easy, although the translation is a bit dicey.

White flower vine

Here is the original French version, followed by a loose translation in English:


Fleurs et Vignes dans les Maisons

Bien de belles expèriences de botanique, qui ne sont pas généralemente comprises dans la liste de fleurs et des vignes de nos salons, pourraient êtres faites à la maison. Combien y a-t-il de nos jolies lectrices chez lesquelles se rencontre la belle vigne de pomme de terre douce courant sur le manteau de la cheminée? L'on peut jouir de ce joli coup-d'œil en plaçant une pomme de terro douce (sweet potatoes) dans un verro rempli d'eau, en passaut une cheville à travers le tubercule afin qu'il ne touche pas le fond du verre (disons moins un ou deux pouces.)


Tenez le verre sur la cheminée, dans une chambre chaufee, et tous les jours exposez le tubercule au soleil pendant une heure ou deux. En quelques jours, des petites racines se montreront descendant vers le fond de vase, et en deux ou trois semaines le germe se developpera et la plant pouserra rapidement en grimpant sur des ficelles ou treillis preparés à cet effet.


English translation:


Flowers and Vines in the Houses

Many beautiful botanical experiences, which are not generally included in the list of flowers and vines in our living rooms, could be done at home. How many of our pretty readers are there in whom the beautiful vine of sweet potato is found running on the mantle of the fireplace? You can enjoy this pretty glance by placing the sweet potato in a glass filled with water, passing a peg through the tuber so that it does not touch the bottom of the glass (let's say less than one or two inches.)


Hold the glass over the fireplace, in a heated room, and daily expose the tuber to the sun for an hour or two. In a few days, small roots will appear descending towards the bottom of the vase, and in two or three weeks, the germ will develop and the plant will grow rapidly by climbing on strings or trellises prepared for this purpose.


And there you have it! If you actually try this, then Bonne Chance! (Good Luck!)


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