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Sweet Success

October 25th, 2012

Last year, my mom and I didn’t grow sweet potatoes. Since we had lost our entire crop to the voles in 2010, we decided to take the year off. This spring we optimistically planted a large row in the garden hoping for the best.

It was a hot summer, just what the sweet potatoes ordered. All summer we kept wondering what we’d find when we harvested our patch.

Low and behold, it was a banner year; our sweet potatoes produced like mad. Most of them were nice sized roots, with the occasional mammoth one. We also ended up with a small bucket of the tiny ones, which will become dog food.

We won’t be eating these beauties right away, they need cured for their sweetness to come out. Sweet potatoes like to be cured in warm temperatures (around 85) for about 2 weeks. We decided to try curing the sweet potatoes in my mom’s greenhouse where it’s warm and toasty and around 85 on most sunny days. Half of them may be covered with a towel to see if this helps raise the humidity a little since they appreciate a high humidity during curing. It should be interesting to roast them for Thanksgiving next month and compare.

That’s part of growing root vegetables, you never really know what you’re going to find at harvest time. Most of the time you will find a great harvest but every now and then it’s a big disappointment. This year we’re enjoying our sweet success!

Have you ever had a disappointing root vegetable harvest?

20 Comments to “Sweet Success”
  1. daisy on October 25, 2012 at 5:38 am

    Congrats on a wonderful harvest! You’ll be eating well for some time to come!
    This year our sweet potatoes were sparse. I’m hoping the garlic I planted for the first time fares better.

    Reply to daisy's comment

  2. Joan on October 25, 2012 at 6:08 am

    Congrats – those are beautiful! Mine didn’t do as well as I’d hoped this year. A hint for curing that has worked for me – put a plastic bag with holes poked in it over the sweet potatoes to increase the humidity. It seems to really help.

    Reply to Joan's comment

    • Susy on October 25, 2012 at 6:35 am

      Good tip, we’ll have to try that.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  3. Brenda on October 25, 2012 at 6:10 am

    Wow, what an amazing crop! I have potatoes growing at the moment and can’t wait untill I can dig them up and see what is there. xxBrenda

    Reply to Brenda's comment

  4. Kathi Cook on October 25, 2012 at 6:17 am

    Wow nice crop! I never even knew they could be grown in the Northeast until a few years ago. They still are not very common at the farmers markets around here Do they require a very long growing season?

    Reply to Kathi Cook's comment

    • Susy on October 25, 2012 at 6:34 am

      It depends on the variety. I’ve grown longer season varieties that didn’t size up. I think it also depends on the weather, they like it HOT. During cool summers they don’t seem to size up as much. These are ‘Bearegaurd’ sweet potatoes, which are my mom’s favorite.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  5. Randy on October 25, 2012 at 7:47 am

    Voles and ground squirrels wiped out all the potatoes I planted this year.

    Reply to Randy's comment

  6. Erika on October 25, 2012 at 8:03 am

    I’ve had pretty much a whole crop of carrots decimated by carrot fly, urgghh.

    Reply to Erika's comment

  7. Mich on October 25, 2012 at 8:08 am

    I planted one sweet potato slip in the greenhouse, be great if I get a few tubers off it….must go digging!
    Carrots. 2012 was the year of the great carrot failure :(

    Reply to Mich's comment

  8. Sherri on October 25, 2012 at 8:09 am

    WOW! Bumper crop! I’ve never grown them and want to try… we may be too cold in zone 3/2, however….

    Gorgeous greenhouse *swoon*!

    Reply to Sherri's comment

    • Susy on October 25, 2012 at 7:20 pm

      It is a beautiful greenhouse isn’t it. I love it and want to have one like it someday.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  9. whit on October 25, 2012 at 9:29 am

    Holy Sweet Potatah Pie, that’s a mess of sweet potatoes! Congratulations, Susy and her mom! They look amazing.

    This year we found out that we won’t be able to grow our potatoes in trebches like we normally do. Our spring rains come and fill the trenches. Lost the whole crop to rot. :(

    Reply to whit's comment

  10. Heidi on October 25, 2012 at 10:12 am

    My husband’s grandmother always cured her sweet potatoes by placing them in the trunk of her car for a few weeks. I live in an area that grows sweet potatoes commercially. Just yesterday I sat at a red light behind a semi truck loaded to the brim with them. It is always an odd sight to me.

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  11. sharon on October 25, 2012 at 11:38 am

    wow a monster!….I never knew about curing…

    Reply to sharon's comment

  12. Lona on October 25, 2012 at 11:40 am

    Wow you had a great crop this year. I love sweet potatoes. They will be great for Thanksgiving. Yes I always have terrible results with radishes here for some reason. :( Hope you are enjoying your new home.

    Reply to Lona's comment

  13. Canned Quilter on October 25, 2012 at 11:55 am

    We had a bumper crop here in Missouri this year as well. Even in a drought!

    Reply to Canned Quilter's comment

  14. misti on October 25, 2012 at 1:50 pm

    We’ll be harvesting our this weekend though we could have pulled them up a few weeks ago. I’m very excited to have a store of sweet potatoes on hand for the next few months.

    Reply to misti's comment

  15. Maybelline on October 25, 2012 at 6:38 pm

    Potatoes. Yikes. I mounded or hilled the potatoes using mulch rather than compost & blight developed. I’ll try again some day.

    Reply to Maybelline's comment

    • Susy on October 25, 2012 at 7:21 pm

      I don’t even mound/hill mine. I should do a post on all the garden rules I forsake.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  16. EL on October 27, 2012 at 3:54 pm

    This very year!! I got the most disappointing carrot harvest that I have ever seen. Carrots are about 1/4″ wide and 1/2″ long at most. I left most in the ground to see if they’d get a bit bigger (I should go back out and look under the snow). Seems like a fun activity for this snowy afternoon. Better luck next year!!

    On the other hand, I am never disappointed about potatoes. Generally I just dump the leftovers from the year before in my compost heap, let them get covered up and then harvest when I do compost in the fall. The only problem is that you can’t turn the compost while the potatoes are there and growing. I don’t get loads, but what I get, I enjoy.

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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