Simply Resourceful

Simple ways to be more conscious about how we use our resources.

Sweet Potato Harvest!

This was our first year growing sweet potatoes.  We spent $10 for three plants from Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company and we harvested 36.92 pounds of sweet potatoes!  Estimating the price for organic sweet potatoes at $1.73/pound, our harvest would have cost $63.87 from a store.  Growing sweet potatoes was very easy.  The only challenge was keeping them watered and weeded the first month of growing.  The variety we grew was Molokai Purple.

The picture above looks like a giant weed patch but this is how our sweet potato patch looked by autumn.  The vines literally took over and sprawled everywhere!  The carrots got lost among the vines and were eventually smothered and dead, but the loss of carrots was worth the harvest of sweet potatoes.  It does help that we still have a LOT of carrots still in canning jars from last year.   

Sweet potatoes produce potatoes only where the "slip" was planted.  The vines look pretty and take over the garden, but only potatoes grow at the base of the plant.  It's kind of a gnarly mess and the potatoes reach about 18 inches from the center so begin digging at least 18 inches from the base to reduce damage to the potatoes.

A potato fork works really well without a lot of damage to the potatoes.

We discovered that potatoes grow really long and easily get broken when pulled.

When harvesting root crops, it's always entertaining to have a young child digging in the soil.  It's like finding buried treasure, you just never know how big the next potato will be or where it will be located!

After harvesting, the potatoes were left on the front porch for ten days where they received only a few hours of direct sunlight a few hours in the morning.  The potatoes on the left were dug first and all came from one plant.  The wetter-looking potatoes on the right side came from the other two plants.  Jon and I aren't sure why the first planted yielded such large tubers.

It's hard to see in the picture, but Jon is holding one of the tubers in his hand.  You can see that the width of the potato is as wide as his wrist.  We are still excited that we grew such large 'taters without much work.  We just planted the slips, watered and weeded them for about a month and left them alone for the rest of the summer. 

We read online that we can grow our own sweet potato slips using vine cuttings.  I used the tips of the vines so there was only one cut end instead of two.

The bottom leaves were removed and placed in mason jars with water.  They are somewhat decorative and will remain inside until next spring.  A friend of ours received a few cuttings as well.  Ten dollars for three slips isn't that big of a deal when considering the harvest yield, but it would be nice to be a little more self-sufficient and not be using fossil fuels to send potato slips in the mail.

These sweet potatoes do stain and could make a great dye for crafts.


Anonymous November 8, 2015 at 12:09 PM  

Put A sweet potato in A glass of water in early spring and it will grow slips. Larry in Tennessee

Holly November 8, 2015 at 12:23 PM  

Thanks for the suggestion Larry, I will give that a try as well!


About this blog

A weekly update on our adventures of trying to be more self-sufficient by using resources wisely. We explore a variety of topics that most broadly fit in the "Homesteading" category, i.e. beekeeping, organic gardening, edible landscaping/fruit forest, food preservation/canning, woodworking, soap-making, and environmental stewardship.

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