I dug up the Yukon Gold potatoes several days ago, since the vines had died. I'm just now digging up the regular white potatoes; I'll dig a few each morning while it's still cool. I'm sharing them with my daughter's family, since we don't have a cellar. Cliff is allowing me to store them in the back of his shop, but I won't say he really likes having them there.
Remember the one sweet potato sprout I set out? It's taking lessons from the butternut squash and trying to take over the entire garden. In the foreground you can see the few turnips I planted on July 25 (no, not the VERY foreground... that's crabgrass); I keep trying to turn the sweet potato vine away from them, but it insists on encroaching. I'm anxious to see if I get any sweet potatoes from this selfish vine. I'll have to wait quite awhile yet, since it won't be time to dig them up until there's a threat of frost. Somehow I don't think my turnips have a chance, unless of course they happen to like being totally shaded by vines.
Poor little turnips.
I've raised sweet potatoes before, but I really don't know a lot about them. So of course I turned to the Internet to find this information:
- The slips should be planted 12 to 18 inches apart in well-fertilized furrows a month after all chance of frost has passed. Furrows should be at least 4 to 5 inches deep. Once the furrows are planted, compost and humus should be ridged up around the slips to a depth of around 10 inches for optimal growth.
- Sweet potato tubers will begin to form after the roots of the slip have become established. Each slip will produce several potatoes; depending upon the room each plant has, each potato can weigh up to several pounds. Sweet potatoes are drought-resistant and love hot, dry summers in which the nutrients gathered by the leaves of the plant are fed to the growing tubers.
- Sweet potatoes are dug--generally using a pitchfork and in small gardens--just before the first expected frost of the season. The potatoes are left on top of the ground for several hours to begin the curing process. They are then placed in a shed or barn where the temperature remains between 75 and 80 degrees for 10 to15 days. They will then keep for months in an environment where the temperature is around 50 degrees. Most home garages are perfect for storing potatoes.
Planting the Slips
Growing the Sweet Potatoes
Harvesting the Sweet Potato
Sadie was looking out the window beside my computer desk and a hummingbird decided to tease her for five minutes or so. It was driving her crazy, that tiny creature buzzing near her nose just on the other side of the screen!