When it comes to sweet potatoes I have a passion for them like Forrest Gump with shrimp. I like to eat them mashed, whipped, baked, french fried, twice baked, in soup/stew/chili, in stir fry, stuffed, in a veggie burger, roasted, grilled, sautéed, in a casserole, in pudding, as a chip, as a spread or dip, on a salad, in a pie….oh the many ways!
So, I decided to try to grow some sweet potatoes for fall cooking and baking since I had a potato sitting on my counter starting to get little eyes on it. At first I thought I would just stick the potato in my garden and see what happened. It may have worked but luckily I decided to google growing sweet potatoes first and discovered that there is a process to growing them. Don’t worry, it’s not that difficult. I simply cut the potato in half and put each half in a vase or jar with one third to one half of the potato in water.
As you can see, the potato begins to grow little sprouts or slips. As soon as the slips get about 1 foot in length you simply snap them off from the potato, pinch off the bottom leaves and place the slip in a glass of water. The slips then grow roots and after they are rooted you plant them in your garden.
I planted 10 slips in my raised garden bed. They started to grow quickly and after 1 month the garden is filled with spreading vines.
Sweet potatoes take about 3 to 4 months to grow. The longer you let them grow, the bigger the potatoes get. However, you don’t want to leave them in the soil longer than 150 days or if there is a frost in colder areas. You will eventually start to see potatoes popping up out of the soil but if you don’t, you can gently start to move the vines and dig into the dirt and discover the lovely potatoes.
This picture below is not from my garden, as my potatoes have a few months to go before they get to this size, but this shows how the potatoes grow under the dirt on the roots of the plant.
I have read many stories of people who plant 10-20 slips and end up with 50-100 pounds of potatoes!
Once you harvest the potatoes, you will want to cure them to help the sweeter flavor come out. Sweet potatoes are not very sweet when first dig them out of the garden. They may be fine for pies or casseroles but they typically need to sit or cure to bring out the sweetness.
Lay the unwashed potatoes in a warm (80-90 degrees F), well-ventilated place for about 10 days. A shaded table outdoors and out of the rain works well. After 10 days move the potatoes to a cool dry spot, but not below 50 degrees F. An air-conditioned pantry or basement works well. They will keep for approximately 6 months.
My potatoes have one month down and two to three months to go. If you stay tuned to my blog I’m sure there will be a lot of yummy sweet potato recipe posts in November and December this year.
Choosing healthy living over dying :)