Sunday, October 10, 2010

Sweet Potato Harvest

Next weekend I'm going to be out of town, so I harvested my sweet potatoes today. The vines have been wandering all over the place in a very untidy way, but I will miss their exuberance.

After trimming all the wayward vines back to the edges of the bed, the garden plot where the sweets were planted looks pretty small. One of the neighborhood rascals (the oldest rascal) was helping, and she took this picture that shows the actual size of the bed, with me half-upside-down for perspective.

I had planted two varieties of sweets, Beauregard and Puerto Rican. Beauregard was slightly more productive in terms of total weight (12 pounds) and made fewer, larger tubers than the Puerto Rican (10.75 pounds).

This is the smallest sweet potato harvest I have ever had, and I would be disappointed, except that this year a much higher percentage of the tubers are an easily usable size and shape. Some years the tubers are all extremes, with some ending up the size of small dogs and all the rest the (very small) size that I save for sprouting in spring.

In the picture below, the Beauregard sweets are on the left and the Puerto Ricans are on the right.

While the oldest rascal was helping me dig up the sweets (she did a great job!), one of her brothers took pictures of the rest of the garden. This one shows some happy marigolds in addition to a little more garden chaos that I need to tidy up.

The two rascals were both great helpers! I am lucky that they live in my neighborhood.


  1. Is there much of a taste difference in varieties or just different in terms of productivity for your climate? I don't grow them, so I know nothing!

  2. what an exciting experience!/Hilorious! Delightful! True!
    Kitchen Garden

  3. Erin,

    Surprisingly, there is a taste difference! I don't think I could describe it, though, beyond the Beauregards being a little sweeter and the Puerto Ricans a little spicier.

    In addition to flavor differences, the Puerto Ricans are drier. I have thought that I might try drying some of those and grinding the dried chunks to flour to use in cooking. That is one of the ways sweet potatoes are used in parts of Africa, and I am curious about the sweet potato flour.

    Steffi, Yes! At the Plant-a-Row-for-the-Hungry garden we dug up some of the "small dog" sized sweets, and I always get a big grin but then heave a big sigh when I see them. They are so wonderful on one level, but kind of harder to manage in the kitchen.


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