Mary's Veggie Garden

October 8, 2012

Harvest Monday Oct. 8, 2012: Garden Contentment

Filed under: Deer,Gardening,Pests,Sweet Potatoes,Vegetables — marysveggiegarden @ 8:19 am

The weather was rainy Tuesday through Thursday. Friday I biked to my community garden plot with the goal of harvesting one variety of sweet potatoes. After discovering the squash robbery and deer invasion Monday, I didn’t know quite what to expect. I learned that deer will not let a good thing go – there was more damage. The deer had leaped against the back gate, ripping out the staples holding the netting to the corner 4×4.  On the other side of the gate the netting was ripped where it had been tied at the top and lower down the tie was broken. More lettuce was eaten, more carrot foliage was gone.  The deer also went after the roots – I found the tops (but no bottoms) of two carrots. They also chewed  three sweet potatoes – the tops of the tubers were probably right at the surface and visible since the deer ate the foliage.

Sweet potato tuber and foliage eaten by deer.

These sweet potatoes should be one variety: top, Georgia Jets; bottom Korean Purple.

I started harvest with the four Korean Purple sweet potato plants. As I dug I started to feel better: the sun was shining, the temperature was mild and the sweet potatoes were good-sized. I heaped the lot in a container, hauled them out near the faucet and started scrubbing away the mud. As I scrubbed, it gradually dawned on me – these SPs were not all one variety. Some were the glowing amethyst of Korean Purple with white interior visible where the skin was scuffed. The rest were medium red with pale orange interior. Some red SPs showed cracking and splits – a sure sign of Georgia Jets.

Last year during harvest I must have gotten a Georgia Jets tuber mixed in with the Korean Purple: easy to do because they were side-by-side in the bed. Some Georgia Jets can be fairly dark red, and none of the colors are as vivid when the skins are dry. Unfortunately, when I selected SPs to grow slips, I used the mixed-up Georgia Jets as a mother Korean Purple. It was apparently a vigorous producer of slips – I’ve concluded three of my four Korean Purple plants were actually Georgia Jets.

My next job was putting the gate back together. My tool box contained nylon twine so I used 2 or 3 pieces on each side, looped around the posts and tied through several sections on netting. But I wasn’t feeling confident with this solution so I decided to continue harvest.

I decided to dig Purple, on the opposite end of the bed. The chewed SP in the first picture is a ‘Purple’ so if the deer got back in they would probably return there for dinner. The Purple vines were long, 6-7′. They had rooted along most of their length, and a few of these roots had even developed smallish tubers – good for growing slips next year. After snipping off the vines I forked out a trench about 12″ from the planting, then dug with my gloved hands. Pay dirt!

The harvest from 4 Purple sweet potato slips. Not a lot, but huge!

Those things were huge. The biggest is football sized and weighs 6 pounds. And they are beauties, no cracking and no fissures. The biggest will probably be baked for a holiday pot-luck. Purple is purple both inside and out, and it keeps its color if baked in its skin.

Now I had a problem. There was no way all those SPs would fit in my panniers (bike packs). So I called my husband. “I need a rescue. Bring the trailer and the big plastic storage tub.” While waiting for Ed to arrive by bike I dug the (deliberate) planting of Georgia Jets. When we got home we weighed the tub: 62 pounds. The tub weighs 4 pounds empty.

Saturday I returned to the garden to finish harvest. I also brought Liquid Fence and sprayed everything I don’t intend to put into my mouth: the carrot tops, the broccoli, the outer leaves of the cabbages, and what’s left of the peas.

Sweet Potatoes L-R: Laceleaf, Frazier White and a stray Georgia Jets and Purple.

The Frazier Whites were a bit of a disappointment, numerous but small. The two Laceleaf slips yielded 7 pounds, while the four Frazier Whites yielded only 4.2 pounds. But I’m not complaining too loudly: I’m not sure how we are going to eat 70 pounds of sweet potatoes. Will they work in all my winter squash recipes? I’m about to find out.

Garden bliss: two warm, sunny days and a great harvest!

Running total 2012 harvest: 706 pounds.

The 58 pounds of sweet potatoes rode home in a bike trailer.

To see what others are harvesting around the USA and around the world, check in with Harvest Monday hosted by Daphne’s Dandelions.



  1. Very impressive sweet potato harvest! Love the purple one. Is that the actual name if I were to seek them out for purchase? Your bike cart is awesome! So is the fact that your husband was willing to drop what he was doing and come to rescue you!

    Comment by Wonderwoman — October 9, 2012 @ 10:39 am | Reply

    • Yes, the name is Purple. I got my slips last year from Sandhill Preservation. They ship Purple late so I didn’t have much yield last year but it was enough for a couple meals and to save a few to start my own slips. I didn’t have any problems growing the slips at our normal household temperature (the high sixties) despite what Sandhill says.

      If it involves getting on his bike, my hubby is quite willing to help!

      Comment by marysveggiegarden — October 9, 2012 @ 11:48 am | Reply

  2. I am so envious of your sweet potato harvest. That sure is one giant purple.

    Comment by Norma Chang — October 9, 2012 @ 6:14 pm | Reply

    • I’m wondering how long it will take to cook. I want to bake it in it’s skin to keep the color.

      Comment by marysveggiegarden — October 9, 2012 @ 8:55 pm | Reply

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