Every year we decide to expand our selection of produce and learn about a new fruit or vegetable, sometimes it's actually several new varieties. This year we ventured into the world of potatoes and with it came our first time growing sweet potatoes.
Sweet potatoes were an incredibly rewarding plant to grow, they only required water and sun, were disease resistant and high yielding, and unlike our fingerling potatoes they didn't require 'hilling' 2 times a season.
This weekend we began the harvest of one of our rows of Beauregard sweet potatoes. Not having grown them before, we didn't expect to unearth enormous bright pink tubers that were in giant clusters of 5-8 potatoes! With every careful lift of the plants we were astounded by the growing quantity of potatoes we were accumulating.
To harvest we waited for the foliage to yellow and die back a little. We cut most of the vines off to find the bases easier, then gently loosened the soil around the plants, staying about 1-2 feet away to avoid slicing potatoes underground that may have strayed a little away from the base.
We unearthed the potatoes, careful to avoid nicking the flesh. Some times we could simply pull the plant out of the ground by its top and uproot all the potatoes at once (as seen on the left). Other times it was more of an archaeological type of situation, slowly moving away dirt to maneuver around more oddly shaped tubers and avoid snapping the potatoes in half.
After harvesting, sweet potatoes have to be cured to promote sugar content, heal cuts and nicks, and to prolong their storage life. We've read that they need to be stored for 5-10 days in a really warm environment, 80-85 degrees Fahrenheit with about 80-90% humidity. Before this harvest we tested a small patch of them at home after curing with this method and were absolutely awestruck by how delicious a home grown sweet potato could taste.
These blog posts are written by Matt, Todd, and Sarah, the farmers of Central Roots.