Thursday, September 13, 2007

Sweet, sweet potato success for northern growers!

Unlike the unicorn, the bermuda triangle or the possiblity of sasqwatch in the woods, this is one tall tale, that I can verify to be true:

You can grow sweet potatoes in the north

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Variety: Jeorgia Jet supplied by Mapple Farms.

Or, at least, you can grow 'em in Ottawa. Here's is my adventure, in pictures, complete with a sweet ending:

1. I received my much awaited for package of sweet potato slips in the mail from Mapple Farms. They were limp and sad, as expected, but I planted them with great hope in my pre-warmed bed with plastic mulch.

2. The cutworms got two of my plants. Bottomless plastic cups solved the problem.

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3. They grew into nice little plants.

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4. And grew.

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5. Until they mulched their own garden bed. Good little sweeties.

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6. Frost has been threatened on and off on the longterm forcast but nothing yet. I decide to harvest on September 14th.

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7. Look at these beaties!

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8. I was really surprised by the size and number of them. Notice the latex dripping out of this one.

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9. This one wasn't so pretty but it was huge.

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10. There was some pitch fork damage so I had to cook those up for dinner tonight (or at least that's the story I'm sticking too). Yum!

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Now I just have to make sure that I cure them properly. My husband thinks it's unreasonable to keep the house at 80 degree celcius for 5 days. I've taken to wrapping a tray in a winter blanket (with a air vent), in a plastic laundry bag, with a frequently heated water bottle in a warm room. Let's hope that'll be enough. I'll let you know.

Spend Sweet Potato Vine:

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Hortiphilia Fact

Sweet Potato Greens

According to Ken Allan's fabulous book on growing sweet potatoes, listed below, you can eat sweet potato greens though this will cut back on tuber production.

Heck, here's another one since it's been awhile.

Hortiphilia Fact

Make Sweet Potato Cuttings

Instead of composting your old vines, like me, take healthy cuttings from the tips of the vines and root them up in water (they may already have some roots on them if they were sprawling on the ground). Pot them up and plant them next year. This is a great idea for ornamental sweet potatoes too.


Sweet Potato book for northern growers
Mapple Farm: Supplier of Georgia Jet slips, and more.


Michelle said...

Nice harvest! The vines are beautiful! :)

Michelle said...

Bravo! I'm very excited to try this next year. You've inspired me!

Curtis said...

Thats a big harvest. I was thinking potatoes next year, Now them and sweet potatoes maybe on the list as well.

chigiy at Gardeners Anonymous said...

You really did well in the sweet potato department and in the little red-headed girl depatment. What beauties and I'm not talking about the potatoes.
But they looked pretty good too.

kate said...

I am impressed with your harvest. It is amazing. I like the idea that you can save the tips of the vines for next year.

The red-headed children are gorgeous. What fun they must be!

Blackswamp_Girl said...

Way cool! I may have to try this next year. Let us know how the drying/curing goes, please?

Sheryl at Providence Acres Farm said...

Very interesting post! I am going to attempt to grow sweet potatoes this year for the first time. I have three sweet potatoes already rooted and one growing slips for me now.

Saving slips for next year is a great idea!

Cheryl said...

You've started my wheels turning. I've maxed out the space in my back yard, but a sweet potato box right in the middle of the lawn would look great next year. Those big potatoes of yours have got me excited.

Marian Grant said...

Where can I get sweet potato slips in Ottawa Ontario?

Ottawa Gardener said...

This is my ooooold blog. I welcome you over to my new blog and sweet potato growing fun there. However, I do like to see this post as my kiddies are so darn cute here. I have seen sweet potato slips very sale occasionally such as at the Pakenham feed and seed which doesn't meant they'll reappear. Easiest is to get them from Mapple Farms in NS (I believe). After that, I recommend that you try plantcycle (like free cycle) ottawa to see if anyone has some that they can slip up. I may have a few tubers left in my dusty old tuber box from last year if you live in the west end of the city. Please email me.

Ottawa Gardener said...

P.S. I'm on Facebook and invite you to Edible Ottawa Gardens Group.