Real Men Sow

Stage One of the Sweet Potato Harvest

Since I took my plot on, I’ve always experimented with sweet potatoes. Some years have been better than others, especially as they can be hard work, and not always suited to our inconsistent climate.

Sweet potatoes need a lot of warmth, and prefer sunny, sheltered spots, but even if the crop is poor, I reckon they’re well growing anyway. The foliage is a really attractive addition to any plot or garden.

I’ve not managed any big ones, but usually get a good bagful of smallish potatoes that make for a few different side dishes – a welcome change from your standard tattie.

Last year, I put a cellophane wall around my plants to try and get some extra warmth to them. This worked fairly well, but did keep getting blown over and putting it back up time after time became a nuisance, so this summer I’ve just gone with the flow and planted out with no added protection.

I also put some plants in bags on a sunny patio at mum’s house. The area is a little suntrap and mum’s had success with other heat loving veg there. We ordered O’Henry variety plants from the web, as they’re recommended for container growing.

The plant’s leaves are finally dieing off, signifying harvest, so this morning I initiated stage one of my sweet potato harvest: the allotment.

I wasn’t really expecting much after such a strange year weather wise, and the first plant didn’t do much to lift my hopes:

However, to my surprise, they weren’t all piddy. I did get a fair crop from the rest of the plants, and weighed in about 800g of sweet potatoes from allotment row:

Sweet potatoes don’t keep very well, so I’ll be using mine as quickly as possible. I’m particularly looking forward to trying some sweet potato chips.

Next up is a trip to mum’s to see how her patio potatoes have gotten on.

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7 Comments

  1. Julieanne Porter (@GwenfarsLottie)November 27, 2011 at 9:43 pmReply

    Impressive. I’ve always held off from trying sweet potatoes as I didn’t think Eng was warm enough. Since you have do so well this year with the bizzare weather we have had, I think I might give them a go next year

  2. MarkNovember 28, 2011 at 8:26 amReply

    Looking forward to hearing about the container crop – always wanted to try these!

  3. Claire BensonNovember 28, 2011 at 11:37 amReply

    Please let us know how the patio ones do. I’ve been thinking of growing these but never quite got round to it. Its great having two types of garden to experiment with. In London it is too difficult to get allotment space with waiting lists now in the region of 14 years, but gardening in a sheltered patio garden and a large community garden get the same opportunities to experiment with the two sites.

    Reading your blog today, I was wondering whether horticultural fleece over the plants might raise the temps and make our summers more pleasing to them? You can weigh down the edges with heavy stones to stop the edges flapping about as I did with aubergines this year.

    Mind you, you got great results without – jealous!

    Claire

  4. Jono

    JonoNovember 28, 2011 at 1:18 pmReplyAuthor

    Thanks for the comments everyone.

    Julieanne – I’m fortunate that it is very mild here in Essex, but on the other hand its something like the second driest district in England, so need to give the potatoes plenty of water.

    Mark – hopefully will tip ‘em out this week so please check back.

    Claire – Funny, I’ve been thinking the same. I might try and grown them through black tarpaulin or something next year to try and heat the soil. I’ve also got an Acryllicloche, so may sit this over the top. Would be nice to grow a few bigger ones.

    I’ve used fleece to protect my carrots over winter, and its been warm enough to leave them in the ground right through to spring. Amazing what a difference a couple of degrees can make.

  5. Dee SewellNovember 30, 2011 at 11:18 pmReply

    I’ve never grown sweet potatoes but do like to try something new each year so maybe next year will be the one! We have a supplier nearby and am thinking that maybe the polytunnel will be the way to go with them up here. Yours look great!

  6. Real Men Sow » Blog Archive » How Much Money Can Growing Your Own Save Me? November UpdateDecember 1, 2011 at 9:37 pmReply

    [...] Stage One of the Sweet Potato Harvest [...]

  7. Real Men Sow » Blog Archive » Stage Two of the Sweet Potato Harvest – Mum’s Sunny PatioDecember 6, 2011 at 7:04 pmReply

    [...] Stage One of the Sweet Potato Harvest [...]

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About Real Men Sow

meIn 2007, I took on a redundant allotment plot with my gardening-mad mum Jan. As all good mums do, she went along with it, but I don’t think she held out much hope.

However, three years on, and she now lets me do stuff without watching over my shoulder, so I must be doing something right. [ read more ]

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