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sweet potato question

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Re: sweet potato question

Post  camprn on 7/22/2011, 6:00 pm

SO... I did not plant sweet potatoes in my garden this year because the sweet potato I was trying to sprout never did anything but sit in it's pot of dirt. Sad Dumb potato. But low and behold 5 MONTHS after I put that sweet potato in the dirt on the window sill, it has decided to sprout! Stoopid potato! Mad

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Re: sweet potato question

Post  Chopper on 7/22/2011, 7:06 pm

ABSOLUTELY! I did try to mention that at one point. It takes FOREVER to get started. I had mine in straight water and was about to throw them out when they did the same thing. Sure got tons of SPs out of them though. Your season is probably not long enough to plant now but you could always try!

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Re: sweet potato question

Post  Furbalsmom on 7/22/2011, 7:08 pm

Maybe your dumb stoopid potato will grow little sweets for you on the windowsill. How big a pot did you use?

I started my grocery store sweet potato by placing it in a jar of water, not dirt, way back in January. Got roots, then I got sprouts/slips that I broke off and put in water just until roots appeared on the slips (it only took two or three days for the slips to root) Did not plant my slips till late Embarassed so I probably won't get much in the way of Sweet Potatoes, but the experiment has been fun. Since we get so little heat here, next year I plan to put the slips in a heated bed with a covered wagon (Boffer's H3) and really give them a chance.

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Re: sweet potato question

Post  camprn on 7/22/2011, 7:22 pm

The first one I tried sprouting suspended in water. the thing rotted without putting out a single slip. Then I put a new sweet potato in MM in a grocery store mushroom container and I waited, and waited, and then it just got pushed back and forgotten about until the other day. There are about 6 sprouts coming out of it. I may just plunk 'em in a container that I can bring inside in September. My growing season is more than half over. Sad
+1 on Boffer's H3!


Last edited by camprn on 7/22/2011, 7:25 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : typical typos)

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Re: sweet potato question

Post  pattipan on 7/22/2011, 9:01 pm

Here's what my Vardeman sweet potatoes looked like this morning. I bought 12 plants from tatoman.com, 'cause I was too lazy to try to sprout my own slips. They are the healthiest looking thing in my SFG right now. Those are filet bush beans behind them, which are about done bearing now. Red-core carrots and Opalka paste tomatoes on the left (which are not doing as well this year). This is an 8" deep box and I thought the tomatoes would love the extra room for their roots. Oh well, Everything else and especially the sweet potatoes are growing fine in it.



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Re: sweet potato question

Post  ModernDayBetty on 7/23/2011, 6:21 pm

@pattipan wrote:Here's what my Vardeman sweet potatoes looked like this morning. I bought 12 plants from tatoman.com, 'cause I was too lazy to try to sprout my own slips. They are the healthiest looking thing in my SFG right now. Those are filet bush beans behind them, which are about done bearing now. Red-core carrots and Opalka paste tomatoes on the left (which are not doing as well this year). This is an 8" deep box and I thought the tomatoes would love the extra room for their roots. Oh well, Everything else and especially the sweet potatoes are growing fine in it.



pattipan

My sweet potatoes look PATHETIC next to yours... Looks great!

Is it just me or does anyone else have a strong urge to stick your fingers into the dirt to feel around and "see" what's happening under ground?

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Re: sweet potato question

Post  boffer on 7/23/2011, 6:46 pm

krazikandiland wrote:Is it just me or does anyone else have a strong urge to stick your fingers into the dirt to feel around and "see" what's happening under ground?

Exploratory analysis trumps hesitational paralysis if your personal bias leans toward action.

(Go for it; we all do! Razz )

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Re: sweet potato question

Post  pattipan on 7/23/2011, 8:52 pm

krazikandiland wrote:Is it just me or does anyone else have a strong urge to stick your fingers into the dirt to feel around and "see" what's happening under ground?

I may take a peek next week when I pull up those beans. I'm curious too!

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Re: sweet potato question

Post  Chopper on 7/24/2011, 5:09 am

@pattipan wrote:
krazikandiland wrote:Is it just me or does anyone else have a strong urge to stick your fingers into the dirt to feel around and "see" what's happening under ground?

I may take a peek next week when I pull up those beans. I'm curious too!

pattipan

After mine were in for 60 days or so I would reach in and do that. before very long I felt ones big enough to eat so I would break it off under the soil and harvest that way. Worked great.

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Re: sweet potato question

Post  Goosegirl on 7/24/2011, 5:46 am

@Chopper wrote:
@pattipan wrote:
krazikandiland wrote:Is it just me or does anyone else have a strong urge to stick your fingers into the dirt to feel around and "see" what's happening under ground?

I may take a peek next week when I pull up those beans. I'm curious too!

pattipan

After mine were in for 60 days or so I would reach in and do that. before very long I felt ones big enough to eat so I would break it off under the soil and harvest that way. Worked great.

I have been trying that with my carrots for weeks now. Nothing. Germination has not been good, and growth has been even worse. Not a good year for carrots in my garden. I am about to plant more seeds for a fall harvest, but I do not have high hopes.

My Yukon Golds, on the other hand, seem to be doing great! I am eagerly anticipating the first sign of the plants falling over. So far everything is lush, green, and blossoming. I WANT MY TATERS!

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Re: sweet potato question

Post  Chopper on 7/24/2011, 6:41 am

Hey, I did the same with my potatoes - just reached in a grabbed one or two as needed while they were still growing. The Mel's Mix made it possible because the soil was so nice and loose.

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Re: sweet potato question

Post  NaturesApprentice on 7/26/2011, 1:40 pm

I had the same thing where it seemed like it wasn't doing anything at all. I tried getting the slips to root, but the minute I put them in the MM, they keeled over.



Out of frustration, I just put the "mother" potato in the MM in my front planter (I had pulled out yucky ivy and filled the planter with Mel's Mix). It sat dormant (not dying, but not thriving) until we had a heat wave, and then it took off. Here are some pics:











In a couple of places, I cut the vines, added some rooting compound, and buried that section...we'll see what happens.



It's mostly designed to be a shade canopy for the veggies, but if I get something to eat, cool!



-NA

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Re: sweet potato question

Post  ModernDayBetty on 7/26/2011, 2:22 pm

@NaturesApprentice wrote:I had the same thing where it seemed like it wasn't doing anything at all. I tried getting the slips to root, but the minute I put them in the MM, they keeled over.



Out of frustration, I just put the "mother" potato in the MM in my front planter (I had pulled out yucky ivy and filled the planter with Mel's Mix). It sat dormant (not dying, but not thriving) until we had a heat wave, and then it took off. Here are some pics:











In a couple of places, I cut the vines, added some rooting compound, and buried that section...we'll see what happens.



It's mostly designed to be a shade canopy for the veggies, but if I get something to eat, cool!



-NA

The shade canopy looks so adorable! If I were a little girl and had some Barbi's I would totally get them out, build some outdoor furniture with some twigs and make that Barbi's Day Spa.... oh wait, I bet I can find some Barbi's in an old box in the garage... now I just need to build a canopy....

Seriously though, cutest mini canopy I've ever seen.

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Re: sweet potato question

Post  Chopper on 7/26/2011, 10:41 pm

Glad you finally got some success. It was an unusually cool and rainy spring/early summer but the heat has made up for it. I look forward to seeing what you get for a crop. Maybe fresh sweet potatoes at Thanksgiving. Very Happy

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Re: sweet potato question

Post  NaturesApprentice on 8/16/2011, 6:34 pm

Here's an updated pic of the canopy, with Ruby showing how well she guards the food.




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re: sweet potato question

Post  tnirisgirl on 9/2/2011, 6:11 pm

Hi, All,



First, I just joined last week and wanted to say I'm really enjoying this site -- all the information and the humor, too.



Second, I wanted to add my bit about sweet potatoes in the SFG. I tried to do this post with pictures on Aug. 25, the day I joined. But, as it was only my first day as a forum member, I had to wait a week to link offsite to the photos. And, I had not found this thread at that time.



As it is easier to copy-and-paste rather than retype everything:lol: , here is what I started to post on Aug 25:

I really wasn’t sure sweet potatoes, being such big, sprawling things, would work in the SFG box but I keep trying different things just to see if I can get them to grow. Apparently they love Mel’s Mix even though mine doesn’t have quite the right ratio of vermiculite and it tends to dry rather quickly. Also, although I was afraid it would hurt the plants, I kept the vines trimmed back so they would stay in the two side-by-side boxes where I wanted them. If I had let them go they would have taken over a third box. Plus, they were trying to climb my tomatoes and okra.

This is a variety called Beauregard (from Bonnie Plants) and when I planted the three slips 89 days ago I made a note in my gardening journal that they’d be ready to harvest in 90 days. On Monday [Aug 22] when I was watering them I noticed a piece of potato peaking through the soil and really got the urge to see how they were doing. Today [Aug 25], I decided to harvest the one I could see. It’s the long skinny one in the [first] photo and it measures almost 8”! As I was pushing the soil back into the hole I found the “baby tater”; and, as I was digging it out I found the other big potato. cyclops WOW! That’s amazing for a space about 6” in diameter and about 6” deep. Now I’ve gone from wondering if I’ll have any potatoes to wondering how many pounds I’ll harvest.

The DH (Dear Hubby) and I like sweet potatoes baked and I buy raw, whole ones to fix this way fairly often. However, these I decided to cook the way my mom used to do. They have a really good taste and were not at all stringy – a problem “store bought” canned ones have. Think I’ll post the “recipe” over in the forum’s recipe thread.

OK, here goes with the pictures. The top one is, obviously, my harvest today [08/25]. The bottom [second] one is a view of the sweet potato plants with the tomatoes and okra in the background. Haven’t decided if I should let them grow a bit more or harvest them now. Will be digging up enough for another meal at any rate.





Sept 02 - I did wait a bit longer about harvesting -- until today. The picture below is my harvest. The tomato and okra were harvested today as well.



I was absolutely astounded by the three largest ones which were 10", 12" and 15" long with a combined weight of more than 5 lbs. That is, until I finished reading all this thread and saw where Smartchick posted on 03/11/11 about also getting potatoes that weighed over 2 lbs each. So much for my "record size" SPs. Sad







Yes, you can definitely grow sweet potatoes in a SFG. I also learned that they will grow under the boards separating the bed - had to dig 3 out from under the edges of the boxes. Even if you don't have very deep soil, they'll just grow "sideways" rather than down. And, finally, they will grow around, under and even through weed cloth - at least some of these roots did.



Now I've got to brush the soil off them and find a good spot in the shop to let them cure a bit.

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Re: sweet potato question

Post  Nonna.PapaVino on 9/2/2011, 6:23 pm

Oh, how yummy looking! Congratulations, you've given us all encouragement to try more sweets! Thanks. Nonna (who is trying to grow Japanese Sweet Potatoes)

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Re: sweet potato question

Post  NaturesApprentice on 9/2/2011, 6:28 pm

Someone posted how to know when it's time to harvest...but I have a short attention span. Your plants look like mine do except I go poking around and don't feel much under the soil.



How did you know it was time to pull them up? Did you cure them? I've heard that needs to be done but still haven't figured out how I'll do that.



Thanks!



-NA

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re: sweet potato question

Post  tnirisgirl on 9/2/2011, 7:17 pm

nonna: Thanks and good luck with yours. Would you keep us updated on your progress and let us know how they taste? I’m into trying different varieties – like every other gardener here, I think!



NaturesApprentice: As mentioned in my post, these slips were from Bonnie Plants which I bought and the little plastic insert with them said maturity was 90 days after planting. I have a book called “Seeds” which is also a good reference source and in it the time frame for harvesting is 120 – 150 days from the time you plant the slips. I’m thinking I could have left them awhile longer but sometimes I’m impatient and get in a hurry. Wink You may want to try poking around again right where a vine has rooted in the soil. That’s where the tubers usually develop. Oh, by the way, mice love sweet potatoes. I do hope they haven’t found yours.affraid



At the “ehow” site it says: Do not allow frost on the sweet potatoes because this will ruin them. In case of an unexpected frost, cut the vines from the roots. This helps prevent decay from spreading to the roots. Dig sweet potatoes as soon as possible after frost.



From the “suite101” site: Dig when leaves yellow but don’t wait until plants are killed by frost as those tubers may not last in storage. Most of the potatoes are in a tight cone-shaped cluster directly below the main stem. However, some will be growing a foot or even 18” out from the stem, and there is no way to know where they are. Digging carefully, start about 18” from the stem. Some sweet potatoes will get nicked but they will heal.



As for curing, I’ve found this info so far:



From the “suite101” site: Potatoes grown in sandy soil probably need not be washed. Those grown in clay soil may need rinsing to remove stuck-on soil. Be sure to let the potatoes dry well for several hours outside, then move to a protected spot to “cure” for 7 to10 days. This curing of the sweet potatoes allows the skin to toughen and ensures long storage. Ideal storage conditions for sweet potatoes are 50° to 60° and 60% to 70% humidity. With proper curing and storage the potatoes should last for several months.



This is from the “ehow” site: Dry the sweet potatoes on the ground two or three hours after harvesting. Then allow them another 10 to 14 days of curing in a warm room with moderate humidity. Afterwards, they should be placed in a cool room for storage until ready to be cooked.



OK, I should have re-read these before digging. Embarassed I didn’t cure mine on the ground. After I dug them up I just brought them in and spread them out on the dining table where they do seem to be resting quite happily at the present.Laughing Still got to brush them off and fix a spot for them to cure. Then find a closet or other dark-ish, cool place to store them.








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Re: sweet potato question

Post  braim5 on 9/2/2011, 8:18 pm

@tnirisgirl wrote:



First, I just joined last week and wanted to say I'm really enjoying this site -- all the information and the humor, too.






I'm pretty new too. Learning lots in this forum and in the New Square Foot Gardening book.

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Re: sweet potato question

Post  tnirisgirl on 9/2/2011, 9:19 pm

@braim5 wrote:

I'm pretty new too. Learning lots in this forum and in the New Square Foot Gardening book.



Hi, braim5, Welcome to the forum, too. There is so much info on this site and I'm learning even more every time I come here. Really love the NSFG book. It is definitely one of the best gardening resources I have. Actually, it was the best until I started reading on this site:lol: !



Hope to be seeing you around here often!

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Re: sweet potato question

Post  Nonna.PapaVino on 9/2/2011, 9:21 pm

Thanks, TNirisgirl, good info. These Japanese sweet potatoes have reddish skin, but ivory to white flesh...very, very high sugar content. One is planted in a regular raised bed, the other in a supersize plastic pot which once contained a small tree. Good caution to check for mice/voles' access to the 'taters. Don't think I need worry about the one in the big pot, but I've already lost irish potatoes to gnawing voles which use the mole runs under the beds. Next year indicates a big investment in hardware cloth to line the bottoms of all beds possible. BTW, do you grow iris commercially? Or just for the love of them? I, too grow iris and particularly like those hybrids created by Keith Keppel of Salem, Oregon http://historiciris.blogspot.com/2010/03/keith-keppel-iris-2010-catalogue.html and have a part of the flower bed set aside as the Keppel Corner. Enough, we're talking sweet potatoes here. Nonna

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re: sweet potato question

Post  tnirisgirl on 9/2/2011, 10:38 pm

Hi, again, nonna



I just knew that someday, someone would ask me about irises! Irises are my favorite flower and our state (TN) flower, too. The thing is I don't actually raise any. Embarassed I don't even have any flowers in my yard. I just admire the nieghbor's irises on one side and the other neighbor's wild roses and honeysuckles along their fence row on the other side.



You see, I never had what you'd call a green thumb; that is, until I learned about SFG. For a really long time giving me anything to grow was a sentence of death for the poor little plant. Obviously, I kept trying and when I was actually able to grow anything using SFG I was completely amazed. It started with some tomato seedlings and has grown since then. I know, a terrrible pun but so true!



Totally loved the link to the iris info. I'll be going there just to look and drool . You're so lucky if you've got some of those to feast your eyes on.



Back on topic now. I'm thinking I'll try those Japanese SPs next year. Where do you get yours? The high sugar content is what I'm thinking I want to have. I've got this half-formed idea/plan that if I get more sugar (plus all sorts of other nutrients) from natural foods then I might well be able to reduce or possibly even eliminate a lot of the refined sugars in my diet. And, this just gives me another reason to try another plant.

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Re: sweet potato question

Post  Nonna.PapaVino on 9/2/2011, 11:10 pm

TNirisgirl, Actually I'd never heard of a Japanese sweet potato until one day in a natural food store my husband picked one up and wanted me to cook it. I did, it was so nummy, we went back and bought some more. Google gave me some info on them, their Japanese name: satsumaimo (also sometimes 'satsuma imo'), and some tasty recipes. The first we tried was just to peel them, then shred the flesh. In a medium-hot skillet, I put some olive oil and a pat of butter, then grabbed a couple of small handsfull of the tater shreds and dropped them in the hot oil. When they'd crisped around the edges and were golden on the bottom, I lifted them, added a bit more oil, turned them over and cooked the other side. Gave each a grind of sea salt, and let them cook until browned on the bottom, too. Placed the patties on a plate and drizzled them with a browned butter and sage sauce. My theory is that the sugar content of the satsumaimo is such that the shreds stick together without need for a binder, like flour, egg, etc. There are other delish-sounding Japanese recipes on line (like one for a custard-type dessert I'm anxious to try) if you google "satsumaimo recipes," you'll get some wonderful ideas. As to my planting of the things, I noticed one that'd been neglected on the counter had a couple of sprouts starting, and you can guess the rest. If you have a Japanese or Chinese grocery anyplace near, you can probably find satsuma imo there, and I think I did find some sweet potato slip seller who had one or more varieties--I just didn't save the name of the vendor, sorry. Nonna

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re: sweet potato question

Post  tnirisgirl on 9/2/2011, 11:53 pm

Hi, nonna,



That recipe sounds yummy. I may give it a try with my Beauregards as they are quite sweet. You might want to add this to the thread I started called "How my Mom Cooked Sweet Potatoes". I was asking for recipes over there and others may well like to see this one.



Now that you've jiggled my brainpan a bit, I think I may have a good source for these just down the road. We live about 20 miles from Florence, AL which is home of the University of North Alabama. Quite a few Japanese exchange students go there. (Going to UNA is how my nephew met his wife and ended up moving to Japan. Smile ) It's very likely that some of the grocery stores there carry this type of SP. I'll bet the kids can give me some recipes, too.



Just a side note. This is rather odd to talk with someone on the far side of the country about a Japanese plant and then figure out I may have the answer here because of my Japanese connections.



There is one thing that is a little bit odder, though. I noticed you live near St. Helens. My first name happens to be Helen. cyclops To quote from a movie I saw years ago: "I just report 'em. I don't explain 'em!"



Happy Gardening!

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