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.
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!
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:
- 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.
- 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.)
- 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.
- 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?