Sweet Potatoes: You CAN Grow Them

This last freeze destroyed the sweet potato vines (along with the remaining pepper, okra, and tomato plants) into slimy chords. That means only one thing: Time to get dirty.

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A few small potatoes came right out still attached to the vines. Some stuck up at top of the soil where I planted the slips. Mostly, I had to dig out the entire bed to find all the sweet potatoes, including one that weighed three pounds.

They weren’t all pretty. Bugs or something in the soil munched on a few of them until they looked more like Swiss cheese than a root. However, the harvest weighed in around 11 pounds. I’m grateful for the bounty right before Thanksgiving!

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Organic Sweet Potato Pies!

Two successful harvests now. Last year wasn’t a fluke! I started these plants from pieces of sweet potatoes that I harvested last year.

If I can grow them, anyone can. Here’s what you need:

  1. Organic Sweet Potatoes. The grocery store is a good place to find these. Buy two or three. Sweet potatoes that are farmed normally may have “no grow” type chemicals that may keep them from sprouting (ewww). Cut the ends and put them in water cups. Check out this post for growing slips. I started this year’s crop at Thanksgiving, which may be a little earlier.
  2. Garden Space. The vines take off and need places to grab the ground. The more the vines can grab the garden bed the more the roots can grow. Prepare the bed for planting the slips in February. (Check your own growing zone. I’m in North Texas.)
  3. Patience. Let them grow. Move escaping vines back into the garden in the summer. After a freeze or two, the leaves turn brown and whither away. It’s time to harvest.
  4. Sunshine. After you gently dig up as many of the roots that you can find in the garden, put them in the sunlight for a couple of hours to harden the skins a bit. They’ll keep better, longer.

Have I convinced you yet to grow your own sweet potatoes? Is there a fruit or vegetable that you’ve always wanted to grow?

9 comments on… “Sweet Potatoes: You CAN Grow Them”

  1. I love yams. Did you know they are not related to the potato? Yams or sweet potatoes are actual roots. Potatoes are modified stems…If I’m wrong it is Mr. Keeney’s fault. He taught botany and taxonomy at SWTJC. Loved his classes. He would load us up in the van for trips to south Texas or the Hill Country – “Because that’s were you learned.” I didn’t know I loved science until I walked into his class. Now I want to go plant some yams. Nice work.

    • Diana Beebe

      I didn’t know that, Jolene. That’s really cool! It explains why some of the tiny sweet potatoes pulled right out with the roots during harvest. Your professor sounds awesome. You should totally plant some! 😀

  2. Yes, I think you have. 🙂 The problem for me would be finding space. Your crop is grand, and your pies… well, let’s just say I want a piece. Stat!

    • Diana Beebe

      If only I could send you a piece through the interwebz, because I would! 🙂

    • Diana Beebe

      You’re welcome! I’m glad you found them helpful. Let me know how it goes. 🙂

      And thanks for all the blog love!

  3. I’m in! I’ve always wanted to grow sweet potatoes, and I’ve heard the PERFECT spot is under a citrus tree. I have two, so I guess I’d better get busy with it. 🙂

    • Diana Beebe

      Yay! Cut them in half so you can start with four pieces to make the slips–to give yourself lots to start with. Some of my slips didn’t grow. Your harvests are always amazing, Jenny!

  4. Pingback: An Orgasm Article Sent My Power Crashing | Jenny Hansen's Blog

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