Before I was even
finished harvesting last year’s sweet potato crop, I began to plan out how to
trial my sweet potato varieties for this year. The delay between placing my
order in November and receiving the sweet potatoes in a battered priority
shipping box in May provided me time to think about how I could prepare to have
a better harvest this year.
|My poor-looking Purple Delight Slips|
|The battered priority mailbox that contained my sweet potato slips|
My first encounter
with the sad-looking slips I received in mid-May left me wondering if they
would make it a week, let alone a season, in my garden. Having seen a slight
improvement in the growth of my All-Purple Sweet potatoes in April with the
application of EM-1, I decided to add some EM-1 to the plot. As the slips
finally established themselves I honestly expected very little but still held
out hope for the best.
|My Purple Delight sweet potato slips (to the left of the bush bean)|
The harvest of root
crops can be both exciting and scary - in that the gardener has no idea what
good (or bad) could possibly lie just under the surface of the soil. The longer
the span of time the crop requires to mature, the longer the gardener is left
to imagine how the tubers are growing, with only the top of the plant to give
any clues to the health of what lies below. Revealing what lies under the
ground is like unwrapping a large gift, not knowing beforehand if it contains
something really wonderful or something you would rather give away.
|The area that the Purple Delight covered is in the foreground|
|The Purple Delight Vines take up roughly 1/5 of the area on the bottom left|
Because my life has
been so busy I have not really had the time to take harvesting my sweet
potatoes seriously until a few days ago, when I realized that the night
temperatures would soon dip below freezing. My first priority was to determine
how well the new purple varieties had grown and I wanted to harvest these two
varieties first, so that I could compare them to my All-Purple variety. From
cleaning out some vines in the area of my Purple Delight sweet potato vines I soon
found enough potatoes outside of my garden bed to start filling up a bucket.
|A few Purple Delight potatoes I harvested outside of the garden|
Soon thereafter came
the moment that every gardener either hates or loves: digging to find out what
is in the garden bed. Here are a few pictures I took while digging around:
|Are there any Sweet Potatoes in there?|
|Pulling out the first Sweet Potatoes|
|I think I found something|
|A closer look (the black thing is a soaker hose)|
|Exposing a few more potatoes, the next day.|
|Accessing sweet potatoes sometimes requires me to dig a little|
|The Purple Delight Sweet Potato Crop|
Over time I have
developed three main criteria that I aspire to have my sweet potato crop meet:
Large production, high quality dark flesh, and marketable size and shape.
|This potato turned up to be a bit too big to easily sell|
|My favorite potato retained its beauty and high quality flesh even at a large size|
As shown in the
pictures, the Purple Delight produces well (48+ pounds from one root ball) and the
exhibits a very dark purple color. Although the shape and size of roots varied
greatly there seemed to have been very few (if any) “woody” roots.
|The over 48 pounds of Purple Delight Sweet Potatoes|
would have to say that I have been very pleased with the Purple Delight sweet
potato. Of all people, I would have never dreamed at the outset that the
scrawny slips from a battered box would produce so well.
Oh my that is some sweet potato. It took over so much space and look at the size of those potatoes.ReplyDelete
Thanks for the response, Donna. Actually, this one plant only took up about 1/5 of the area in the picture of the whole garden. I am falling behind with my posts. I have a lot more pictures to come.Delete
Hi Jay - I've been reading your sweet potato posts with interest, and wanted to point you to the posts on using All Purple I've done on Univ. of MD's Grow It Eat It blog. Latest one is http://groweat.blogspot.com/2013/12/more-on-baking-with-purple-sweet.html - you can follow links back if interested. I linked to you at some point in the sequence. :)ReplyDelete
Good luck with taste-testing your Purple Delights!
Thanks for the link, Ericka! I have a few others I am trying out and I will have to let you know how the taste testing turns out.Delete
I also recently harvested some. I don't even know if more left in the ground as it is too freezing outside to any garden work. What happens if you leave sweet potato in the freezing ground? You cannot possibly eat 48 lb quickly. So, how are you going to preserve them, store them?ReplyDelete
Thank you so much for the response KL!Delete
From my experience - over the course of subsequent freezing nights the level at which ground freezes will become deeper and deeper in the ground until the remaining sweet potatoes are frozen, then decompose.
To store my sweet potatoes I usually put them in my water heater closet with wet towels for a couple weeks to cure after washing and drying them. Though this is nowhere as good as an actual greenhouse it helps to harden them off. Many packages I receive in the mail include beige packaging paper. I wrap my potatoes in this paper then put them in labeled boxes (to ensure I keep each variety separate). The very small or unmarketable potatoes are put in a bucket to be used first.
Just FYI - The amount of sweet potatoes I harvested was much more than 48 pounds. I'll have to post more later.Delete