Posts Tagged ‘sweet potato’

Japan Invades my Back Yard

They sent beetles.

Japanese Beetle on an Apple Leaf

Japanese Beetles on my Yellow Delicious Apple Tree

Japanese Beetle on a Cherry Leaf

The Japanese Beetles showed up after all.  These unwelcome pests will do their best to completely strip leaves down to their framework of veins. I know first-hand that they love apple and cherry trees, grape leaves, sweet potato leaves, corn silk, beans and more. They are an evil scourge and the only way (acceptable to me) to get rid of them seems to be picking them off by hand.

Planted Sweet Potato Hills

This is my third time growing sweet potatoes.

Sweet Potato Hills

This year I am trying a hilled approach.

Home grown sweet potato plants

This is just bagged dirt, mixed with what I already had in the bed, and amended with some Dr. Earth fertilizer.  My hope is that if I keep these hills moist, the soil will remain loose and friable enough for the sweet potatoes to go bonkers and grow well for me.

Newly Planted Sweet Potato Plant

I shouldn’t mix experiments, but another thing I’m trying that is different this year is that I didn’t cut the sweet potato slips off the mother spud…I just pulled the whole piece from the jar where I sprouted it and stuck it in the dirt.

Sweet Potato Vines

There are six hopeful sweet potato plants in these 3 hills.  The dirt under the hills was worked loose down to 8 or 10 inches.  As the vines grow and sprawl over this bed, I’ll let them root wherever they want.  Anywhere a vine roots, potatoes start to grow down from there.

Sweet Potato Hills

My wife says it looks like I buried somebody here.

Small Sweet Potato Harvest

This small heap of sweet potatoes was my harvest from 16 square feet this year. Last year I grew several pounds in just 2 square feet, but this year’s weather was so dry that the dirt became as hard as rock and the potatoes couldn’t grow through it.

The yield ended up being not quite a peck, or about a quarter-bushel.

In most things I grow, I like to play SHTF mind games. That is, I like to imagine how I would get along with this crop if I woke up tomorrow and the stores were all closed.  What if I had to rely only upon myself to continue propagating the item in the future?  This year’s potatoes were all so skinny and small, that I seriously doubt any of them is going to survive through winter to be planted for next year’s slips, so I would now have to find someone else whose potatoes did better and barter for a nice one come January or February.

 

Sweet Potato Hunter

This spring, in square of the garden bed closest to our back door, in a space somewhere between 1 and 2 square feet, we had planted 3 sweet potato slips. The plants grew well all summer, and this weekend S. hunted for what we had grown. Before we started taking pictures, we had already removed the flowering vines from above ground and were digging around trying to feel for potatoes.

Sweet potatoes have a very thin skin at first, so you have to be careful with your digging tools, even if you are just using your hands. After a curing period out of the ground, the skin firms up a bit.

The result? 7 pounds of good-sized sweet potatoes in this little space! Well worth it!

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