Monday, October 24, 2011

Sweet Puh-Puh-Potatoes?

It's been a while since my last post and shame on me for not sharing in this summers successes and failures as they happened.  Tomato's were a flop this summer.  I blame it on the rain.  I usually yield about 30 jars of tomato sauce from the season.  This year I ended up with a measly 12 jars.

But I'm not here to talk about tomatoes. I'm here to talk about sweet potatoes.  Yesterday we got around to harvesting our first try at sweet potatoes.  I read that the longer you keep them in the ground, the sweeter they get.  I also read that you can keep them in the ground until one or two frosts.  When you see the leaves starting to yellow, that's a sign to harvest them.  When the leaves start to blacken (from frost), then you really need to pull them. 

Anyway, it was a nice sunny Sunday, so we had at it.  If you can see in the picture, some of the leaves are starting to turn black.

As you can see from the next picture, the vines really spread out from their original spot.  When I planted them I had 3 rows of about 5 sprouts. 

First we started by using a spade shovel and trying to scoop under where we thought they would be.  We then had our first glimpse of sweet gold.

After pulling up a few, we realized that it was easier to pull away all the leaves and vines and we could get at them with less wrestling of the foliage.  The leaves were a nice addition to my compost bin. Pulling out the potatoes, almost reminded me of harvesting carrots. They just popped right out.

Heck, some of them even looked like carrots.

After harvesting them, I laid them out in the sun to start the curing process. 

After a couple hours, I put them in brown bags and now have them in the warmest room in our house (our bedroom gets the most sun and is nice and warm during the day).  They should stay in a warm ventilated room (ideally between 85 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit, but our bedroom will have to do) for 8 to 10 days.  Although, you can cook and eat sweet potatoes right out of the ground, curing is recommend to both heal any injuries incurred from harvesting, and to enhance their natural sweetness.  After curing, I will store them in a cool, dry place (basement) in brown bags. 

I am looking forward to preparing them and eating them.  I'm not sure if I will plant sweet potatoes again next season.  They took up a good deal of space in my beds, and I was expecting (hoping) for a larger yield.  I harvested about 20lbs of sweet potatoes.

The red potatoes that I planted this season, gave me a larger yield and less time in the ground.  So they will definitely be in my garden plan next season.

I'll let you know how they taste!