Harvested acreage also has increased, from132 acres in 2012 to 223 acres in 2017. Thanks for sharing your knowledge. So easy, attractive and delicious. It’s only mid September , first frost could be as early as October or as late as November. The yard has very little top soil and lots of red clay which doesn’t make for a good growing environment. High 51F. Roy Flanagan, who grows sweet potatoes at Flanagan Farm in Virginia Beach, attributed the increased production to farmers expanding direct-to-consumer offerings to improve their bottom lines. The tops usually begin to turn yellow as it gets close to harvest time. Though I probably could store them upstairs in a plastic container like you do. I’ll take this kind of year anytime you want to give it to me.”. All shapes and sizes, some about the size of a small ball. Ours should be here any day and we are trying to find room for them. I’ll just trim them back enough so that they are easier to store. The darn birds sniped them off, I covered them with a cut off milk jug in hopes they would recover and they did. Thank you so much for putting so much info out here for us all to learn from. I’m new this year with sweet potatoes, I purchase slips at the feed store. One sweet potato plant can yield on average 2-1/2 pounds of potatoes, or 100 pounds or more from a 20-foot row. And, if you do have an early-maturing type mixed in there, the extra growing time won’t cause problems; you’ll just end up with larger tubers. Hope to hear about your harvest this year soon (: I always let my sweets go until as close to the first frost as possible. I will report back. As for the rest, I have to admit I’m no expert on Florida gardens. About curing: how warm & is it a dark place for curing? Figured its Nov. better do something…….well I have so many, taking a break. Looking forward to seeing my yield and hope to have some left over for next years planting. start an area in my garden and omit the compost and see how well they do potatoes grow better in the mixture ? Or, you could just experiment; try growing a couple sweet potatoes in different containers (including those burlap sacks), and then compare your harvests at season’s end. The first year, I planted a yellow variety. Error! Stored in a single layer, or w paper between layers? Many of my sweets escaped their bushel baskets and buried some roots under their containers, for example. I roasted one last night and served it with lots of butter and a dash of salt and pepper, my favorite easy sweet potato dish. This year I planted 36 slips and will be harvesting them in 3-4 weeks. Haha. My problem is that down here it seems most things tend to cook in the summer sun and my harvest from the garden has been really disappointing. Looked on line, made a bed in the corner of my yard. With business typically picking up before Thanksgiving, he expects to start selling Bonita and Covington varieties next week. Wow that’s alot of sweet potatoes! I am in Tampa Bay area, high 70’s to low 80’s in the day 60’s at night. I found alot of large sweet potatoes. As gardening goes I am new to this and love to experiment. Curing helps bring out the sweetness, but it’s totally necessary. I’m excited to experiment with these sweets in the kitchen. Does this environment cure the skin and possibly seal cuts, etc? Thanks for some great information. As for saving, just toss a few roots in an out-of-the-way place (I use a closet) and ignore them until early spring. Now, stop. Dig one up when your crop reaches the recommended growing time for the variety (generally between 90 and 120 days.) I loved the sweet potatoes greens! Thank you! I have a wonderful recipe that I use often: I hope you met your goal! I don’t know if it just didn’t like the soil or if I didn’t water enough. We recently moved to the very Northern part of Florida around Jacksonville and the soil is rather poor, almost pure sand. I’ve noticed the same thing here. Two full boxes worth, with overflow in mixing bowls and all over the kitchen counter. Back in June I noticed a small vine growing out of a sweet potatoe in my veggie bin. Just as they got going, I got a number of volunteer plants from last year’s leftovers that started up, too. Started my Sweets for one that was left over from Easter dinner at the end of May. A proper curing will help sweeten the roots, but they seem to do ok without as well. You’ll find more about my experience here: http://www.outlawgarden.com/2013/10/31/no-more-bushel-baskets/. I live in tucson and I have yet to have luck. Here in PA, we aim to harvest them before the first fall frost which is still nearly a month away. If you went the traditional route, and planted you sweet potatoes in the ground, you’ve got some digging ahead of you. I stacked tires 2 high. One suggestion I do have would be to supplement that Miracle-Gro soil with a good load of compost. Bushel baskets, it seems, are only good for one or two seasons in the garden. Here, in Virginia, it’s best to harvest sweet potatoes just before the first frost. Here is another sweet potato souffle recipe that I have made before. You want the roots to dry as quickly as possible, and the dirt won’t hurt them (or you). I know that sweets will grow happily in unlined baskets too, so don’t sweat it if you decide to skip that step. get the garden sand and take your advise. Once frost hits, it’s best to dig them up within a day or two. The vines quickly covered a 20′ x 40′ area and served as a nice ground cover. Olive oil, My question is on growing in burlap sacks. The roots look like long vines but no sweet potatoes. PUBLISHED ON November 5, 2020. Do the sweets need to be cured in a single layer? But, I can tell you that, as a rule, they prefer consistent heat, sandy and mildly fertile soil, and full sun. Fingers crossed for a good harvest, Tonia! If you’re further north, you’ll want to do the same thing; harvest your sweet potatoes as late as possible. Just cook them up like you might cook up some spinach. I’m going to plant earlier this next year so I can harvest in September and allowing them to cure a few day. . I ate it all (because, hey, sweet potato! We have the same trouble here in Virginia — I just skip the whole curing thing and go straight to storage. Not too much though — I try to minimize the amount of “damage” I inflict. Now I know. That’s 87.8 pounds of sweet potatoes from the slips grown off about two pounds of roots. Unfortunately, the act of harvesting those storage roots (the tubers we eat) will definitely affect the health and appearance of those vines. We’ll see how the roots did… The roots do need a few weeks to really develop their sugars, but the curing doesn’t seem to make a difference there. VARIETIES. In fact, this may be a good sign. West Virginia' for fruit, vegetables, pumpkins and other crops. Any suggestions on how to improve yield? While some sweet potato varieties are ready in as little as 90 days, all should be harvestable by 100-120 days. Early or “new” potatoes, typically harvested when the plants begin to bloom, are small, smooth and round. Found another way to eat sweet potato leaves. Sweet potoes make a beautiful container plant. Sweet potatoes are native to more southern climates and hence grow better in a relatively sandy soil. I hope you’ll try them again next year! Thanks for all of the great info. Required fields are marked *. Well I went to check on the sweets and found they were huge so started digging-must be several bushels!What a job but a pleasant surprise.Now just got to get rid of all that vine.Can’t wait for spring to do this again.Thanks for your web site and help! Those original two pounds of sweet potatoes produced more slips than I needed. Oh well I will try again next year. I had six plants 4 of which I trained to completely take over a thirty foot stretch of my gardens six foot chicken fire fence, with one of the vines getting close to 35 feet long. No matter where you live, harvest your sweets with care. Hope I do well Your web help me so I know how to do this over again and save money. and if you factor in the use of the leaves, your return is even bigger! I don’t know what to expect on quantity but I planted at least 6 “plants” purchased from the market or a store. Good luck with them next year! So I hilled up the little spot I had left in my LITTLE garden. If you didn’t use those tubers, you totally can next time. Being busy with other things, I left them there for a year and a half. I presumed that it had been sprayed with something to keep it from sprouting so I visited a local upscale supermarket and bought organic sweets. Email me at. I’m in NoVA and this year was my first attempt at growing sweets. I love it! I live in Tucson, Az. Why not give it a try and see what happens? The variety matters too — some sweet potato varieties mature a full month earlier than others. Either way, I'd love to hear from you. My sweets came out very small. Thank you Dan I’ll try about 3 cubic feet and compare the two methods. First year for me growing Sweets and I did ok but always room for improvement. We’ve got some leafy plants in there for the winter, but I’m looking forward to planting more sweets there next spring, including the Porto Ricos. We’re in New Jersey, so maybe I will give these a try next year! The sweet potato tubers actually begin poking out of the ground in late August. Ready to harvest sweet potatoes. I love your blog! Will do some more tomorrow. Sounds like you have a great harvest ahead of you, Jacki. We just harvested them yesterday and I didn’t know that you have to wait a while before you cook/eat it. How to Harvest. When receiving your slips, it is important to read the packing. They need room for the roots to branch out. We'll send breaking news and news alerts to you as they happen! Suggestions on using them would be greatly appreciated. At the Southern Nevada Research Center, Beauregard produced the largest crop out of the 5 trial varieties and had very little damage due to insects and pests. To answer your question, a month should definitely do it. As for curing… I’m honestly rather lazy about it. All sweet potatoes are safe to eat, even the fancy ornamental varieties. When to harvest sweet potatoes depends largely on the seasonal growing. You may find you have better luck in the spring or fall. I planted 18 sweet potato slips this spring, all started from two tubers I’d saved from my 2011 harvest. Different opinions and all hard to find! You see why I like this rate of return? Better than spinach! The blog post I linked above will give you tips on starting your plants next spring. In any event, they should be harvested before frost. You can eat those sweet potato leaves with confidence, Dawn! I’m in Virginia where things are a bit milder. Often, this is 3 to 4 months from when you planted the slips (most varieties take at least 100 days to reach maturity). Even though we have a garden I like to container garden for decoration on the deck. That’s one of the reasons I so love the plants. So a cool damp place? I totally skipped the curing, and jumped straight to storing. Fingers crossed for a good harvest! Great advice, Dan! Greetings, If you’re harvesting for supper, drive your fork into the soil at the outside edges of the plant. So, the longer you let your sweet potatoes grow, the larger your harvest will be. You can start harvesting as early as 90 days, but should probably finish harvesting by the time your plants are 150 days old — the tubers can grow to be too large, which makes them harder to store. Try it in a bin or about 3 cubic feet of garden space with 2 or 3 slips next season. Many varieties, such as the popular Beauregard, grow very easily. Today we had the fun experience of harvesting sweet potatoes. I think you’d have better luck adding coarse sand to your soil, Sidney. Hey Cristina not sure if your still around but I grew sweet potatoes for the first time this year in my garden. Hi Alice — The answer to your question is “it depends.” Sweet potatoes take anywhere from 90-120+ days to produce harvest-worthy tubers, but that assumes a nice warm summer. I have been reading about perlite and vermiculits and I wondered if sweet I have written plenty already in previous years about harvesting, so I won’t go into it here. How many slips do you put in your basket? There’s no real trick for harvesting sweets. Hollow. This will be my first year container gardening. Check out this post for tips on starting your own slips next spring: Grow Your Own Sweet Potatoes. Let’s hope I can Selk these A powerful Antioxidant,Virginia A A healing food Most Africans,& Haitians eat .these I plan on Cooking with Garlic,Onions, Tomatoes. I grew mine in hay, I made like a big raised bed filled with hay. As for those store-bought sweet potatoes… They should be perfectly edible. Congrats on your first go at growing sweet potatoes! I harvested over 100lbs of potatoes last year. How to Harvest Potatoes. I’d suggest doing a small “test” harvest on one plant to see how they look, and then go from there. And, actually, it’s better than that. The vines look good most being around 7 feet long, so I am hoping for a good harvest. Maybe I’ll take the plunge this time, especially since I have an 8ft x 8ft bed full of them! I don’t use bushel baskets anymore, however. I put landscape cloth in the bottom and fill the containers each year with fresh compost made from leaves, kitchen scrapes, some chicken manure, and coffee grounds from the local Starbucks. I also have a bin growing slips from a store-bought sweet potato this summer. What an amazing harvest! I have another question, I was told by an older woman, that the leaves were eadable, cook them like fresh spinach, has any one tried this, truth is I’m a little scared, don’t want to pioson my family. And, good luck with your own harvest! Early potatoes . Great information! If you can, try to resist cooking up your crop right away. Thank you, Dawn, Your biggest harvest should be directly under where the main plant is rooted, but you may also have smaller tubers scattered wherever the vines have rooted. Hoping for 10 to 15 pounds at least, But honestly will be happy with anything over 5 pounds. When to harvest sweet potatoes will depend on the cultivar that you purchased. Brush off loose dirt and leave them in the sun for a few hours, then move to a table or shed that is warm and has good air circulation. Harvest sweet potatoes when they reach your preferred size. Keep up the good work. In fact, I’ve read that sweet potatoes produce more calories per acre than any other crop. After your first crop of potatoes is harvested you can plant another crop of early maturing potatoes and have 2 harvests of potatoes in one season. I planted more in April. In your experience how far down will sweets meander to make tubers? My largest sweet is about the size of my hand. I currently live in South Carolina, but am moving back to Tucson by next April, so have appreciated the comments from those folks living in AZ, since I will be planting there next spring. Just remember to keep them well-watered for their first week or so in the garden, just like any transplant. Over 2 33 gallon trash cans currently still washing ^ cutting the leave from the Vine. I planted sweet potatoes for the first time this year. In theory, a HOT summer might speed things up a bit (though I’m not sure of that). A few weeks ago we had a chilly spell (20c) so I moved the containers to the other side of the house and put them next to the house. According to the 2017 U.S. Census of Agriculture, 261 Virginia farms produced sweet potatoes for fresh market consumption, more than double the 120 farms that grew them in 2012. With all that prep work you’ve done this fall, you should have some very happy plants next year! Don’t throw your sweets. I have fallen in love with your blog! Then, I clip off any remaining roots right before I cook the sweets. Since you planted late June, you probably want to leave them in the ground until just before your first frost. If you grew your sweets in containers, simply dump the dirt out and root around for your harvest. Typically, most varieties will take about three to four months to mature – about 90 to 120 days, but there are some newer varieties that take less time and bred specifically for northern climates (such as Georgia Jet, Vardaman, Centennial). I’m not sure what happened, Barb. I used lots of Mine are at the end of their second year, and obviously won’t be seeing a third year of use in the garden. These did indeed sprout right away and I planted them, but then the “ordinary” sweet sprouted, so I planted a couple of slips from that one. Enjoy your harvest! So, fingers crossed! I’m so excited…..my first try at sweet potatoes, and just harvested them today. Thanks so much for your comment, Hannah! When they get this big, I know they’re ready to harvest. Few crops produce a larger harvest from a smaller investment than sweet potatoes. I have several people waiting in line to take the excess. Above all, do your best to harvest your sweets before the first frost. I freeze about ten bags of them. Receive our newspaper electronically with the e-Edition email. My wife and i were cleaning the pantry a few weeks later and found a tuber that had taken roots. I’ve got Beauregard and garnets. I got no squash, very few tomatoes, wilt got them, and 3 eggplant. If the growing season has been good with adequate water and sunshine, harvesting sweet potatoes should begin about 100-110 days after planting depending on the variety. This is a short video on my experience. “As the market grows, and we see the merits of going direct-to-consumer over wholesale, you need to come up with ways to extend your season and extend your cash flow. I dug around by hand the other day. You may have a nice harvest there! I didnt grow my own slips (too impatient for that! Anyone have thought or experience with that? I’m leaving them in my greenhouse for a bit and then will bring them in to the house for the curing. I’ll be setting this up today, and will post more once I’ve got some photos to share. Handle them like eggs, and you should be golden. I wouldn’t worry too much about different maturation dates. If they are too dry for regular roasting, you should still be able to use them in soups or stews, or mixed with other, moister, root vegetables. lol. Here’s how the numbers work. Grow your own slips from that tuber. The containers dry out more easily than a garden space so its important to check the containers almost daily, especially if there hasn’t been any rain. Thanks for the tip, Debbie! Temperatures range from mid-60s to mid-70s, and they seem to do just fine. The Virginia Irish Potato and the Virginia Sweet Potato Board are both located in Onley. I put them there as an after thought because I ended up with too many slips for my containers. Congrats also on that impressive pumpkin harvest. Those are certainly pretty that you have there and especially the bigger ones, and you can use the small ones to stew, freeze, make pies or put a small amount in raw salads; would not use too many that way for might cause diarrhea, at least they do to me. They want about the same level of humidity that we do, so a spare closet or empty cabinet may work great. Again i did nothing more. All three plantings came to life. The Centennials didn’t take, but I probably didn’t take care of them properly before planting. A New Spring and a New Look for Outlaw Garden. I don’t think the tubers would form underwater. Harvest after a cold front moves through, or at least do it in the cool of the evening. After harvesting nearly 70 pounds from a dozen containers in my front yard, I believe it. Don’t wait for that first frost, or those first cold nights. By the time I finish digging it all, I should have hundreds of lbs. I put them in the ground where there is 6-10 inches of heavy decomposing mulch over mostly sand (near Tampa, FL). It’s not a total loss though. Sounds fantastic, Dan! That’s perfect for most sweets. I planted 5 sweet potato plants this year… and then a few more volunteers also sprouted out of roots from last year’s harvest. I had a couple of sweet potatoes that had started to eye so I used what I could for mashed potatoes and planted the eyes. However you harvest them, do so slowly and gently. I was just telling someone else today that bacon makes everything better! Jesus where will I put them? I love your determination! Usually this occurs in late September or early … Enjoy that harvest! Sweet Potato Facts • Sweet potatoes contains 327% of your daily recommended value for vitamin A, which is more than any other vegetable. VIRGINIA BEACH — Virginians’ appetite for sweet potatoes is increasing, and local growers are harvesting an ample supply to meet consumers’ holiday needs. They’re a great choice for front yard growing! I got all my questions answered in one place. [click here to learn how to start your own slips.] I’m in NJ and this was the first season I grew sweet potatoes. Nuthin. Let me tell you: 67.8 pounds is a lot of sweet potatoes. I used a sweet potato that came from the local supermarket to get slips, but it would not sprout. Tastes awesome. Not a ton of them but enough for the two of us. The good part of container sweet potatoes, aside from the voles not getting into the containers, is it frees up space in my garden for peppers, tomatoes, summer squash, etc. If you’re further north, you’ll want to do the same thing; harvest your sweet potatoes as late as possible. Cliff Slade, who grows 5 acres of Bonita, Covington and other heirloom varieties at Slade Farms in Surry County, said he had one of his best-ever harvests this year. I used to eat collard and kale The difference is that the ornamental varieties are bred for their looks and not for flavor or tuber size. Here in Florida we realy do not get weather until Jan/Feb and I plated at the end of April so i guess I’ll check in a few months. This gives us a growing season of roughly three to four months, or 90 to 120 days. I didn’t read about the curing period until just now. this next season. As for hydroponics, I doubt sweet potatoes would be a good crop for that. Most varieties of sweet potatoes will hide most of their edible tubers near the base of the plant, but some sprawl further. But we cooked some this morning and it was very sweet. It was disappointing I got three fingerling sized and one small… Ugh, I’ll be leaving containers as long as possible, not sure if 50 is the cut off but we shouldn’t get there till early or mid nov. I’m hoping since I don’t plan to give up yet that I planted to late. . They really enjoyed helping with with the peaches and blueberries. I’m not hard to please. VIRGINIA BEACH — Virginians’ appetite for sweet potatoes is increasing, and local growers are harvesting an ample supply to meet consumers’ holiday needs. Any idea as to what I’m doing wrong? I harvested them about a week ago and filled a 5 gallon bucket to overflowing. Stir fry them. I put 5-6 slips per vase and they work better in clear glass vases. Way I figure, with nearly 70 pounds of sweet potatoes in my kitchen, I’ve got enough on hand to do a little experimenting. You have permission to edit this article. But it is actually sweeter than the regular sweet potato. Most plants gave me 4 or 5 good size potatoes but I had one plant that produced 10 keepers. If you can’t resist eating your just-harvested sweets, you may want to use them in dishes that need bulk without flavor. My second problem: We leave for Naples, Florida, around Thanksgiving. I live near orchards, so I think I could round up some bushel baskets. My real question is on curing them…I don’t have the space or means to provide a (very) warm temp 80-85F as recommended for approx 2-wks. There are many many variables with sweets (as with every vegetable). Nuthin. We raised our potatoes in a 2 ft. deep raised bed by the side of our porch a couple of years ago and some of them grew really deep. My sweetyyys turns rubbery what did I do wrong Virginia sweet potato harvest is plentiful Harvested acreage also has increased, from 132 acres in 2012 to 223 acres in 2017. Learned so much more. You may be able to keep some of the vines alive by replanting them after harvesting, but they will be diminished for sure. Soon I had vines going crazy. Vines are now in compost pile. I’d love to hear about your sweet potato experiences from this summer. On OCT 7th.2016 Very happy again.with my harvest This year I for the first time harvest all the Vines.Tgere is a Market for them. Hi Jackie — Sounds like you have a very happy sweet potato plant! I don’t use any fertilizer on my sweet potatoes or in the rest of my garden for that matter. One container has two store bought (box store in pot) I’ve gotten conflicting info on if they are the same but one has a visible tuber poking up not sure what the deal is with them /: I’ve gotten (from garden employees ) everything from they are the same to they might to posiioniuos, not sure I believe the latter. Virginia' for fruit, vegetables, pumpkins and other crops. If you’ve got any favorites to share, please post them in the comments below. Just be sure to store them in conditions where the ambient temperature is above 55°F.Enjoy that harvest! Sweet potatoes want light, well-draining soil.
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