Tuesday, September 29, 2009

One Potato- Two Potato- Three Potato- Four.....

Though the longer those batatas stay in the ground the better, I decided today was the day to dig the remaining sweet potatoes. My lack of patience was getting the better of me and besides, now I have new soil to sow more cold hardy seeds in. I may try sowing early carrots and small onion bulbs, covering them with a thick mulch of straw, and then with plastic for the winter to see what happens. Hopefully it will be spring carrots and larger summer onions! Anyway, back to the sweet potatoes....

Here are some photos of the excavation (next year I will plant them under black plastic in an effort to increase yields):



Here I have pulled the vines away and started to dig in, uncovering a couple of good size roots.
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This is a close-up of the root system coming down from the original slip. See that long skinny root above the tuber?


There it goes under the boards into the next bed. There are quite a few roots that decided to go next door, problem is my kale seedlings are growing above them.
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I was thinking some of these pieces may continue to grow and provide me with slips come Spring if I bring them indoors. Most are pencil thin 'tubers' only, one is a vine with a few roots, and lastly there is a small potato with a section of vine still attached. I planted them in with organic potting mix and some soil from the bed they were growing in and topped it all of with a thick layer of straw. Fingers crossed!
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And here is the less than ideal harvest. Nine potatoes in total from I forget how many slips....a couple died along the way. I am thinking there were 4 or 5 survivors. One did not produce any tubers at all, the sunflower roots took over it's territory completely.

Overall I am pleased to have home grown sweet potatoes under the cold and wet growing conditions, but I want MORE, MORE, MORE!!! I think I will attempt to double or triple my slip plantings next year and try more than one variety as well. (These are Beauregard and they came from Johnny's.) Another idea I may try is growing a few as container plants.

Steele Plant Company and George's Plant Farm out of Tennessee have piqued my interest for 2010. I did some follow-up over at Dave's Garden, the watch-dog site. The reviews were positive (Steele here, George's here) and people seemed pleased with their products. If you are looking for more information on growing, harvesting, or storing these beauties Mother Earth News has an informative article here. It's time for me to go fetch those potatoes from their sunny spot......their flavor will improve over the next month or so as starches covert to sugars, think I can wait that long??

7 comments:

Erin said...

Awesome! I may try these next year...

Ruralrose said...

o how yummy, what a late season treat for you, we can't grow them here at all, concords are my next pick, doing wild mushrooms now - how did you carrots do? peace

Ms B. Thrift said...

Oh they are delicious nothing nicer than baked sweet potato smothered in cream cheese mmmmmmmmmm! I might have a go at growing these next year. Off to check out the article you linked to, thanks.

Thomas said...

Oh! How interesting! It does like you got some really good sized tubers. I was considering growing Sweet potatoes next year myself. Do you whether you have to purchase slips, or can you plant a sweet potato like you do a regular potato or sprout the sweat potato in water can gather the slips that way. All I remember is that in 2nd grade, I sprouted a sweet potato and tons of leafy vines/slips developed.

Kelly said...

You can try and grow your own slips from a potato that has not been treated. I think I article I linked goves more information on the subject. I plan on trying it if I can get a potato to last that long.

Beegirl said...

I started mine from plants from the nursery. I'd like to start my own plants next year, so thanks for the Steele Plant link. They look lovely. As for the parks (thanks for your sweet comment), you'll get there someday. We didn't get to any of the National Parks until the last few years. Fun to dream about though...

Sue said...

Hi Kelly,
Every once in awhile, I like to click on someone's name from a comment they left on a blog. When I saw your comment on Thomas's harvest, I decided to come over to see what your blog was.

I really enjoyed reading your posts this morning. I grow sweet potatoes in wash tubs. This year, I planted a flower in each tub, and most of the potatoes were smaller than in the past. I'm thinking there were fewer, too. I grew Beauregards and Georgia Jets this year. I just did a post on the ornamental sweet potatoes that I ate, too.

Next year, I'll probably just do one wash tub with no added flowers, and I want to plant some in the ground at my garden across the street.

I don't think I can grow a lot to store them, though, because I don't have a warm enough place to cure them.