Wednesday, November 10, 2010

City Sweet Potatoes

$3 of Beauregard slips from Bowen Farm Supply netted 3 gallons of sweet potatoes
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Finally healthy enough to steal over to the garden for a bit, I saw that the light frosts last week did in the tender vegetation of my sweet potatoes. I went ahead and pulled them and - especially since it's my first time growing them - I was surprised by a number of things.
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First, for all the luscious green vegetation that grew 10 to 15 feet from the original slips, all of the tubers were located on growth that occured probably within 3 feet of the original planting. What a waste of garden space! Second, I couldn't tell any difference in size and appearance between potatoes planted in soft compost in my raised bed, and those planted in hard, old ground (extra slips). Doubt they'll taste different, either. It would appear that the compost just fertilized more vine growth - not more potatoes. There was also a huge variety of sizes and shapes, including the Mother of all Sweet Potatoes:

Seriously, it's nearly a foot long
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I can also tell that there's been some pest damage - go figure - these potatoes have been underground for 6 months. Since it's already cold, no worms, larvae, or beetles were immediately apparent, so I'm not sure who the main culprits are. Some potatoes were covered in nickel-sized cavities that seem like they were made by something big (or fat). Who knows? Hopefully I won't find out when I start slicing potatoes!
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As I said, we are slowly recovering from a norovirus outbreak that hit all 5 kids at the daycare, all 10 parents, and the daycare lady. Hank found my bucket of dirty potatoes so I think he's already forgotten about being sick!


I do not stay still, ever