Thursday, August 6, 2020

2019 Dingess Purple Sweet Potato Harvest

At the beginning of 2019 I took a very different approach to growing out my purple sweet potatoes. Instead of growing them outside, I decided it made more sense to try growing them in my greenhouse. I grew them for the majority of the time from May to November.

The main way that I decided to water these plants is by using my easy ollas. This strategy worked for keeping the plants, but once the plants grew to the extent they could (based on the water input) the vines stopped spreading out. I added a little bit of additional water and added some EM1.

By the time October came around, I finally found the time to clean the many spiderwebs from inside of the greenhouse. In doing this, I created an opportunity for some kind of moth to establish itself. Over the next month, the moth devastated the leaves of the sweet potato plants.

When harvesting the Dingess purple sweet potatoes, I discovered that the roots really worked hard to utilize every single drop that they could get. Based on the limited water provided and the minimal fertility of the soil, the harvest was very small. If this was all I had to harvest, I would have been very sad.

One of the wonderful things about gardening is the opportunity to make the most of bad situations. One of these situations I experienced was in repeatedly replanting tomato plants in a spot of ground that kept getting splashed with chlorinated water from our pool. Following multiple failed attempts to have tomato plants survive chlorine burns and chlorinated soil, I decided to grow some sweet potatoes in the plot. As this was in late July, I didn’t expect much. Other than watering them and spreading five gallons of partially-finished compost on the plants once, I did little else to keep the plant alive.

Each year, my family looks forward to my purple sweet potato pie. After uncovering the minuscule harvest in the greenhouse, I was hoping that the harvest outside would be a little better.


To my delight, I harvested about three pounds of very dark Dingess Purple sweet potatoes. In addition to the darker color, the flavor of this harvest was incredible. I believe the majority of this is due to the compost (which contains high levels of worm castings). 

Given that my sweet potatoes were planted in late July, I was very grateful for what I received. I believe the plant I put in this spot was from a very small plant I had started in the greenhouse. Based on my experience, I will definitely use this strategy to grow out my sweet potatoes in the future.

 My family's favorite purple sweet potato recipe comes from Stokes.

Here is the original recipe that I still use.
Stokes has since changed their online sweet potato pie recipe.

1 comment:

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