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My fresh sweet potatoes!

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My fresh sweet potatoes!

Post  SalsaMom on 10/4/2013, 1:58 pm

Hello all!  Here is a pic of my sweet potato harvest.  Just got them out today.
I did Georgia Jets (on the left in the pic) and Beauregard's (on the right side).
I put 12 slips of each kind in two different 4x4 beds.  The beds were 10" tall.
This is my first time with this crop and I'm pleased!  I have probably 75 pounds of them all total of varying sizes.  Some of them must weigh 4 or 5 pounds rock on 

I just nuked one of each variety to try....think the Beau's are a little less sweet and darker color inside.  The GA Jets are somewhat sweeter and flakier. 
Nuking doesn't do them justice though - I'll bake them in the oven next time.
I am giving some to friends/family and will probably bake and freeze the rest to enjoy all winter.

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Re: My fresh sweet potatoes!

Post  CapeCoddess on 10/4/2013, 3:13 pm

Look at that!  Some of those puppies are HUGE!  Well done, SalsaMom!
 
I'm trying those next year.  Twelve slips per bed, huh?  I think I need to build a couple more boxes...

CC
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Re: My fresh sweet potatoes!

Post  Marc Iverson on 10/4/2013, 3:18 pm

Gorgeous! And many are so big!

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Re: My fresh sweet potatoes!

Post  llama momma on 10/4/2013, 4:16 pm

So Beautiful!!   Think of all the wonderful nutrition in those lovely Sw. Potatoes !  And Low Glycemic too as I recall.  Very cool Cool
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Re: My fresh sweet potatoes!

Post  bnoles on 10/4/2013, 5:23 pm

Awesome crop! I hope to grow a few next season just for the experience.

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Re: My fresh sweet potatoes!

Post  Rambo on 10/4/2013, 5:40 pm

Umm, very nice. I think I might make and 8x4 solely for these. Lots of good long term nutrition there.
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Re: My fresh sweet potatoes!

Post  sanderson on 10/4/2013, 7:57 pm

Salsa Mom, I love sweet potatoes!!  When did you plant them?? Some of them are so huge they would feed a family!
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Re: My fresh sweet potatoes!

Post  Triciasgarden on 10/4/2013, 9:14 pm

What a wonderful harvest, amazing!  That was good you had your bed 10" deep.  I saw a video of a few people harvesting sweet potatoes and they filled in the whole area that they were planted in.  How deep did your sweet potatoes go and did they fill up the whole bed?  With that amount of harvest that is what I would expect!
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Re: My fresh sweet potatoes!

Post  SalsaMom on 10/4/2013, 10:41 pm

Thanks everyone - I'm pretty pleased with my harvest!
To answer some questions....
I planted these May 7th.  I'm in Middle TN and we've had a very WET summer!

Both varieties were supposed to need about 100 days - so I waited past that (based in part on my grandfather's advice - hey- he's an old mountain man - I was willing to bet he had a clue).

I found that the Beauregard's gave me fewer spuds - but still large ones and were not as clumped together.
The Georgia Jets all along seemed to be "happier" - bigger vines and all that.  When I got in there today to pull them out - the GA Jets were clumped together more and somewhat deeper than the Beau's.  The Beau's were 'easier' to harvest.

Both varieties seemed to have some spuds that were deep - some more shallow - both varieties used 'all' of the boxes to grow.  The Jets had more that were deeper that I had to pull harder and 'dig' more to get at them.
*Remember - I harvested these all by hand - and a dinky plastic trowel that I ditched pretty quickly into the process of the first bed!

My thoughts - after this first harvest ever - next year I am going to put them in my 12" deep beds.  Why not?  Heck - give them more depth.
When harvesting....I cut all the vines back from the edge of the boxes and pulled all those vines out of my way.  Then I pulled on the vines that were still left in the box....slowly working my way around the box.  The Beau's vines 'gave' easier than the Jets.  Once I had all the vines off - I started with my hands digging around and pulling spuds.
The Beau's were easier to harvest...many of the Jets were deeper and took more muscle to work out.
In the end I took a pitchfork and turned all the soil over....well - that is - AFTER- I'd been back through the whole bed deeply with my hands in both beds.
After I thought I had all the Jets out - I went back through it again with my hands and found probably 15 more spuds! 
The Beaus were big - and some were deep - but not like those GA Jets.

Right now they are all out on my deck on that table in the picture with the ceiling fans blowing on them.
I think I need to move them to my garage to cure them...but keep a fan on them during that time just so it doesn't get too hot and 'stale' for them.
Taste wise...not sure next year if I'll do only Beau or Jets or both again....I'll have to eat some more and report back - haha!
These slips were ordered from Steele Plant Company (and I'll use them again).
I planted 12 slips in each of the 4x4 squares. 
All I did was water them decently the first two weeks or so I put them into the beds - past that- mother nature.

Give them a try!
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Re: My fresh sweet potatoes!

Post  Marc Iverson on 10/5/2013, 5:53 pm

With all that bounty, are you going to order more potatoes next year? Or just keep some of your own for replanting?
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Re: My fresh sweet potatoes!

Post  SalsaMom on 10/5/2013, 9:35 pm

Marc - I thought about that...I don't mind ordering slips again - because the company I got them from sent them to me right in time to plant and it was done.  Just go out there and plant them.

I've seen posts about starting your own slips by cutting a spud, putting it in a jar of water with some toothpicks to keep part of it out of the water- blah blah blah...but for some reason - that seems a bit intimidating.
I'm pretty busy - so I'm not sure I want to chance me 'slacking' and not tending to doing it properly - then boom - no sweet potatoes for me next summer!

This is a crop I definitely want to do next year.  So it might be worth it for me, with my schedule and my family's schedule - to just order $25 worth of slips.
Of all the things I've planted - these were the easiest with the greatest return on my investment.  I've got easily 75 pounds of spuds...probably more.

Have you done your own slips?  Was it easy?  I'm open to the idea.
To get about 25 slips - would I need to have 25 jars with part of a tater in each?
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Re: My fresh sweet potatoes!

Post  Marc Iverson on 10/6/2013, 12:31 am

Never done them before. I'm pretty new to gardening in general; this is only my second year of trying more than a random plant once in a great while. I love sweet potatoes though, and would like to try growing them sometime. Especially after seeing yours!

They meet one of my main criteria for growing things, too: they get kind of pricey in the supermarket, considering how heavy they are. A bit like squash, where you think a squash or two couldn't cost much at a buck and a quarter a pound -- and then you realize one is actually ten pounds and that just that one alone will cost you $12.50! That's the kinda thing that makes me want to put my gardener's britches on and go out there and wrassle some soil.
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Re: My fresh sweet potatoes!

Post  SalsaMom on 10/6/2013, 10:15 am

This is the first time I've ever grown sweet potatoes.  I decided to grow them after having home-grown ones at a friend's house last fall.
The difference was amazing!  

They are easy too.  The vines go everywhere - so if you try them you might want some kind of trellis to train them up if you don't want them going out all over the sides of your box.
I had enough space to walk around them so I just let them be.

I was afraid we had too much water for them this summer but it seems they did fine.
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Re: My fresh sweet potatoes!

Post  Marc Iverson on 10/6/2013, 7:46 pm

What was so different from the taste of store-bought?
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Re: My fresh sweet potatoes!

Post  SalsaMom on 10/7/2013, 6:33 pm

I just thought that my friend's home-grown sweet potatoes tasted better.
But I think home-grown stuff usually does Very Happy 
Guess they just had more and richer flavor than store-bought - if that makes sense?
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Re: My fresh sweet potatoes!

Post  Marc Iverson on 10/8/2013, 1:50 am

I guess so. Hard to quantify a thing like taste.

We probably all know the difference between a store-bought tomato and one straight from the garden, and the difference between fresh basil and dried basil from spice jars is incredible, but those are extreme cases. I was wondering if sweet potatoes were also an extreme case.

They're so good for you that one day I'm sure to try growing them regardless. I'm just curious whether success would leave me more "meh" than "Wow!"
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Re: My fresh sweet potatoes!

Post  sanderson on 10/8/2013, 3:17 am

I love them and hope to grow them next spring. I'll have to remember to start the slips, though. Not something you just go out and seed.
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Re: My fresh sweet potatoes!

Post  Turan on 10/8/2013, 12:27 pm

I was cleaning my MILs pantry and found a lone sweet potato lost in a corner. It has 4 sprouts out the top! So I took it home and yesterday planted it in a pot that sits in the window next to the citrus tree. Last year I joked about sweet potato vines for Christmas decorations. This year I might be doing that, depending on if the sprouts take etc. I know nothing but what I have read here about growing them. I planted the whole tuber, just in case it wants to make more sprouts.

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Re: My fresh sweet potatoes!

Post  SalsaMom on 10/10/2013, 8:02 pm

Marc - you are right - tomatoes and spices...yes - I think we can all tell home grown from store bought on those!!
I can tell you the home grown sweet potatoes my friend's parents gave me last fall from their garden were pretty 'wow' for me.
Enough that I decided to give them a try myself.
Everyone is different though.

Heck - order yourself 12 slips this winter and give 'em a whirl in one square (mine happened to be from Steele in TN).  I do think next year I'll give them a deeper bed.  We have two beds that are 12" deep - I'll put them in that next year.
This summer in my area was very rainy and wet.  My tomatoes didn't do well, corn was horrible, cut worms got my squash and zucchinni before their time (but not before we enjoyed quite a lot of squash and zuch)...the sweet potatoes have been the best performing crop and least work of all.  Really no-brainer. 

The ones I ate the day I pulled them were yummy - but they will be even better once I finish curing them.  Currently they are in my garage because it has started cooling off here.
I was hoping it would stay 80+ consistently to cure them faster - but it's not been that warm.
My humidity is down some too....no biggie - should just take an extra bit of time to cure them so that flavor really comes out.  I think the heat off the cars in the garage should help.
Once they are ready I will probably keep some fresh and then bake the rest and freeze them.  Yuuuuuum.
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Re: My fresh sweet potatoes!

Post  CapeCoddess on 10/12/2013, 5:01 pm

I was at the local organic nursery and the owner was in the process of digging up his two 10 x 4 raised beds of Beauregards.  So I stayed and talked with him for a long time.  This is his first year growing them and he planted them too late so a lot of them are pretty skinny.  He doesn't know how to clean/store them for next years growing season but he gifted me these to try if I wanted:

There are 8 of them.  He said to research the process and let him know, and he would do the same.  I said I know just the place to start and told him all about your guys and SFG.  As he was struggling to pull out the potatoes from his dense soil he said the MM sounds fantastic. Laughing 

Soooo....will these work next year?  If so, how DO I keep them over the winter? Do I wash them first?  Then what?

CC

OH, he also gifted me that Tuscan kale for my future makeshift winter greenhouse.
What a Face
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Re: My fresh sweet potatoes!

Post  littlejo on 10/13/2013, 12:12 pm

Don't wash them, they will rot if you do. Let them dry then just dust off the dirt.
You could put a couple in a pot to grow over winter. They'd make a vine house plant. Then in the spring, just break the vine off the potato and you have your slips.
Just keep them dry, not in frig for they will rot. When it is time to start your transplants for spring, put them in some damp peat moss and let them sprout. The vines will root so just break vine off of potato and plant just the vine as your 'slip'. This is to prevent any disease that the potato had, which will not be transferred to the slips.
To prevent the skinny potatoes, use loose soil(mm). Don't let the vine root while growing across dirt. A trellis works good. If your weather is too cool, or not long enough, you can cover bed with black plastic and plant thru this. You can let vine grow about 12 inches, and cut off the excess growth. You can either use the extra as another slip, or eat the leaves for someone said on here that you can eat them. I haven't tried this for I don't really like cooked greens.

Here is a site with good instructions for growing sw. potatoes. Jo

http://www.sandhillpreservation.com/pages/sweetpotato_catalog.html
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Re: My fresh sweet potatoes!

Post  CapeCoddess on 10/14/2013, 3:04 pm

@littlejo wrote:Don't wash them, they will rot if you do. Let them dry then just dust off the dirt.
You could put a couple in a pot to grow over winter. They'd make a vine house plant. Then in the spring, just break the vine off the potato and you have your slips.
Just keep them dry, not in frig for they will rot. When it is time to start your transplants for spring, put them in some damp peat moss and let them sprout. The vines will root so just break vine off of potato and plant just the vine as your 'slip'. This is to prevent any disease that the potato had, which will not be transferred to the slips.
To prevent the skinny potatoes, use loose soil(mm). Don't let the vine root while growing across dirt. A trellis works good. If your weather is too cool, or not long enough, you can cover bed with black plastic and plant thru this. You  can let vine grow about 12 inches, and cut off the excess growth. You can either use the extra as another slip, or eat the leaves for someone said on here that you can eat them. I haven't tried this for I don't really like cooked greens.

Here is a site with good instructions for growing sw. potatoes. Jo

http://www.sandhillpreservation.com/pages/sweetpotato_catalog.html
Thanks so much for this, Jo!  Do you think I can get fatter potatoes even if the parents are so ridiculously skinny?

CC
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Re: My fresh sweet potatoes!

Post  littlejo on 10/15/2013, 6:26 am

CC
Yes, I don't think the starting taters have anything to do with it since you will using the slips off of it. A sw. potato usually makes 3 potatoes per slip, that is why folks plant so many. Having enough growing days also counts a lot, for they like it hot!
The first yr. I planted I had 3 per slip, and a whole lot of skinny ones, a bit bigger that yours. I washed then cut them in rounds, they were still very good!
Jo
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Re: My fresh sweet potatoes!

Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts on 10/15/2013, 7:05 pm

Pulled up our very first sweet potatoes ever today.  They were getting eaten by pill bugs and probably Vols as well... grrrrr!  

Any suggestions on what to do about pill bugs for next year?  

We bait for the Vols, but they've discovered my garden so it's a pain. 

Nevertheless, we had a big one for lunch with sauteed zucchini, sausage, italian seasoning, orange bell peppers and halved cherry tomatoes.  It was amazing.
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Re: My fresh sweet potatoes!

Post  has55 on 10/15/2013, 8:24 pm

hi, this is my first years planting sweet potatoes. They are growing on a trellis since may. I been cutting back the vine as needed, but I don't know when to harvest them. I'm in Denton,tx outside of Dallas. does anyone have any picture showing how they did it?
i finally figure out how to insert a picture.




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