Tag Archives: experiment

Sweet Potato Saga…

June 11, 2014

This truly is a saga…I’ll start at the beginning (giving dates and everything)…

Friday, May 16th…

My sweet potato experiment seemed to be doing well…until I transplanted some this week. My ‘slip-growing patch’ is extremely healthy-looking. I read to transplant them when they are 6-9″ long.

The Nieto Family - May 16 14 - 0144Mine are about 5″ long but I thought I would give it a try. I nicked 5 of the longest starts off of the sweet potato, planted them up to their leaves (what is recommended) in the sweet potato patch with some chicken compost, and put some mulch around them. I then watered them. This was around noon.

By 4pm, we had a BIG rain storm come through so they got a GOOD soaking. After the storm, they still looked good. The next day, WILTED.

I had hoped it was just transplant shock and they would bounce back but they remain wilted. I am glad I only transplanted 5, not all of them. I will wait until the rest are longer before transplanting those. I would hate for such gorgeous sweet potato starts to turn into nothing 😦

Wednesday, May 21st…

After researching a bit more, I think the problem was the slips did not have enough roots. I read they do not need a ton of roots but mine barely had any. We’ll see how the next set of slips go. By the way, the slips are not DEAD yet, which is interesting. I wonder if they will ever bounce back completely…

_DSC9599(1)(Over a week after transplanting. Wilted. Sun-scalded. But not dead…)

Monday, May 26th…

_DSF9063More than a week later and…looks like they have officially bounced back! Now to start planting the rest of the slips in earnest, as they all need to be planted out by the end of June in order to have enough time to mature…

Saturday, May 31st…

Planted some more sweet potato slips today. Dug holes. Pulled off slips this time instead of cutting them (left more roots on). Filled hole with compost and dirt. Covered with mulch. Watered WELL. Maybe leaving more roots on will help them get over transplant shock more quickly this time…

I can see I have more slips than I have space. A good problem to have, in my opinion. I only put seven or so itty bitty sweet potatoes in the raised bed to produce slips. I was thinking we would not have enough slips to fill up the sweet potato patch. Ha! I am now thinking I will grow sweet potatoes in the sweet potato patch, in the raised bed where I am growing slips, in the raised bed next to it, in the overflow garden, and in the place where I am growing peas (whenever they get ripped out). We can never have too many sweet potatoes! Truly…just ask my children!

Sunday, June 1st…

Finished planting slips in the sweet potato patch. Those from yesterday’s planting are bouncing back already!Nieto Family - June 02 14 - 0001(still droopy but starting to get over transplant shock) Nieto Family - June 02 14 - 0002(bounced back already! in one day!)

Monday, June 2nd…

Planted sweet potato slips in the raised bed next to the raised bed where the slips are growing.

Nieto Family - June 02 14 - 0003(right after planting)

Tuesday, June 3rd & Wednesday, June 4th

Planted the last of the slips (that are long enough) in the overflow garden. Nieto Family - June 06 14 - 0004I have read that if you leave the sweet potatoes in the ground, they will continue to produce so I am going to further my experiment by doing that. We’ll see what planting earlier/later does as far as production…Nieto Family - June 02 14 - 0004(This is the slip-growing bed (halfway through planting slips). By the end of planting, there were only 5 or so slips left in the bed and they are all 3″ tall.)

Slips in the raised beds are suffering transplant shock but I’m sure they’ll bounce back in a day or two…

Nieto Family - June 06 14 - 0003Slips in the sweet potato bed have just about fully recovered, a couple of days later. Having a few roots really makes a difference! Now, to work my patience muscles for the next four months…not my strong suit 😉

Nieto Family - June 06 14 - 0001I covered the sweet potato patch with chicken manure and mulch a year ago to prepare the soil (compost tea as it rains!). I also planted some carrots (which did well) this past fall to loosen the soil. The soil was moist but still, the holes for the slips were INCREDIBLY difficult to dig! I am not expecting very high yields in this area.

Not surprisingly, the raised bed has fluffy soil so I am expecting a good crop from this area.

The overflow garden has been covered with mulch for the past year and for the past four months, has been covered with horse manure. For some reason, the holes were very easy to dig (other than a huge rock I hit in one of the holes) and the soil looked good. I am not complaining 😉 just curious as to why there is such a difference between the sweet potato patch and overflow garden soil. The overflow garden was covered with A LOT more mulch, so that is a possibility as to the difference. However, I know that soil is different in different places so maybe there is just more clay over by the sweet potato patch?…

I am still learning a lot about growing sweet potatoes (start to finish) but for anyone who is unable to grow sweet potato slips in their windows and has a pot or raised bed, I think my experiment has shown this is a REALLY easy way to grow your own slips! With all of the toys and what-not in the house, it is nice to keep all of the gardening OUTSIDE! 🙂

So from start to….well…now, here are all of the posts regarding sweet potatoes, if you want to know how I did/am doing it:

I am looking forward to the fall…seeing what kind of crop(s) we have, which plots did the best, etc. Stay tuned! 🙂 I am linking up with Green Thumb Thursday today. Check it out for some good gardening tips!


Harvest Monday, Bugs, and an Experiment

May 20, 2013

No harvests from the BTE garden yet but we are still harvesting from our winter garden so at least we are eating something from the garden.

May 18 13 - 0054We are harvesting a head of lettuce each night for supper. The spinach and broccoli are officially spent. The broccoli was thrown to the chickens. Last night we ripped up the last of our spinach (nothing we were doing was stopping them from bolting) and had a big spinach salad with chopped apples on top (YUM!). I am thankful for all of this but I am looking forward to some BTE harvesting! 😀

I mentioned bugs on my beans in a previous post – they are bean leaf beetles and they are getting a lot worse. I was going to put some neem oil on them, as this stops the sexual cycle, so after 3 applications or so, they are taken care of. However, I decided to go out there in the late afternoon (when they are busiest) and knock them into soapy water to see if I could take care of them without buying anything.

May 13 13 - 0062I have never had issues with my beans but I have always grown them in a raised beds. The ones in the BTE garden are the ones with the issues. I read that these beetles are found in hard-to-drain clay soil. Ding! ding! ding! This is our soil, for sure! 😛 Of course, I hope the plants will survive but it has just gotten worse & worse so I think I need to be a bit more aggressive. Preying mantises love to eat this beetle but I’ve only seen one ever in the garden so I’m not keeping my hopes up. For good measure, whenever we find a ladybug, we transplant it onto a bean plant 🙂

May 13 13 - 0081I have been knocking bugs into soapy water for about a week now and for the first time, today I went out and found NO bugs. I would be ecstatic but they love the HOT weather and today was a bit cooler and rainy so I wonder if that is why they were not out. We’ll see if the plants are on the mend.

I planted watermelon, cantaloupe, zucchini, and squash. I also (finally) transplanted kale and lettuce from my greenhouses to my shaded side garden. This is my experimental garden. It is in the shade quite a bit throughout the day and I assume one of three things will happen:

  1. There will not be enough sun, even for things like lettuce and kale
  2. It won’t matter that the plants aren’t in the sun – during the summer in North Carolina, it’s too hot, even in the shade, to grow cool crops like lettuce and kale
  3. My plan will work! and we’ll be able to harvest fresh lettuce and kale throughout the summer or at least we’ll be able to extend the season a month or two more on either side 🙂

May 13 13 - 0038(lettuce & kale transplanted into the side garden)

Last update is about my transplanted tomatoes and peppers. The tomatoes seem to be struggling. The peppers, however, look great so far!

May 13 13 - 0155

(droopy tomato plant)May 13 13 - 0158

(tomato)peppers(pepper transplants)

How is your garden coming? Are you harvesting anything other than winter crops yet?

I am linking up with Harvest Monday. Even though we eat something from the garden each week, I actually remembered to take a picture this time! Yay me 😉