The Great Sweet Potato Experiment Comes to a Close and Preparing for Next Year

November 7, 2014

These past few weeks I have been:

  • Cleaning up the tomato patches
  • Covering the garden with chicken poop
  • Planting bulbs to bloom in spring
  • And harvesting Sweet Potatoes

First, the bulbs. I ordered 244 bulbs this summer. Between nursing every three hours, schooling three children, and potty training a toddler, I have been able to get 50 buried each day. I finally finished this week.

DSC_5963 DSC_5959I hope they don’t all get dug up over the winter!!!

We had our first frost this week. Just in case I was wondering, the sweet potato vines told me 😉DSC_5978I have contemplated leaving the sweet potatoes in the ground and just digging them as needed but, at least for this year, I decided to go ahead and dig them up. First, I pulled all of the vines.DSC_5973A lot of potatoes came up with the vines. DSC_5972Then I went through and little by little, dug up each patch (I had four in total — dug up one patch earlier last month). Here is half of one patch drying in the sun. DSC_5982This was our oddest-shaped one…and probably our heaviest. DSC_5984Here is most of what we ended up with. We gave about a fifth of the total harvest away. Now, I am going through them, putting aside the perfect ones for long-term storage. The itty-bitty ones and the wire-worm damaged ones will be eaten first. 10745007_829851593732358_97211640_n Some notes:

Two patches were in previously used (ie. more fluffy soil) plots and two were in patches that had never been used.

  • The UNUSED patches yielded larger sweet potatoes and more sweet potatoes.

One of the patches was surrounded by tarp, covered with mulch. We did that long before we heard about Back to Eden gardening. It was the only way to keep the weeds away from the blueberry bushes.

  • Most of the largest sweet potatoes were those that grew under or partially under the tarp. It was like they were seeking out heat, even in our North Carolina summer.

So next year, sweet potato slips go in unused spots (great way to ‘break-ground’, so to speak, in the garden!) and I need to find other sources of heat to go into the sweet potato patch — cinder blocks, bricks…

Very interesting! And so ends my great sweet potato experiment of 2014. A definite success!

By the end of the year, I would like to:

  • Make a mulch path from our brick walkway to the driveway
  • Pull the bermuda grass seedlings that have blown in from the fields we are surrounded by
  • Cover the entire garden with more mulch (including the strawberry patch and walkways)

This winter I need to:

  • Prune all of the bushes and trees
  • Cover the garden with horse manure
  • Move the raspberry plants back into a row and make a trellis for them
  • Finish weeding our brick walkway
  • Order seeds
  • Make greenhouses

It never ends, huh? Truth be told, I’d be bored if it did 🙂 Happy Gardening!


3 thoughts on “The Great Sweet Potato Experiment Comes to a Close and Preparing for Next Year

  1. daphnegould

    What a nice harvest of sweet potatoes. I’m glad you dug them all up. From everything I’ve read sweet potatoes start to rot under 50-55F (depending on the source) once the vines die back. And your soil is probably already that cold. Though it would be interesting to have a small experimental patch to see if that holds true.

  2. Pingback: Harvest Monday | Gardening Without…

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