Mary's Veggie Garden

September 29, 2014

9/29/2014 Sweet Potatoes Galore!

Filed under: Gardening,Sweet Potatoes,Vegetables — marysveggiegarden @ 5:19 pm

I spent the week harvesting sweet potatoes, one variety a day. Georgia Jets and Purple are the varieties that grow fastest. I checked under their vines a couple of weeks ago and found they were sizing up nicely. I removed a few Purples which showed me they were big enough that there would be no advantage in delaying harvest and lots of potential for rodent damage if the sweet potatoes were not harvested soon.

My sweet potato bed was 4’x13′ with 2 rows of plants spaced 1′ apart.  Here are the harvest numbers. Most varieties did better than last year, with the exception of Laceleaf which is even worse than last year.

 2014 Planted 6/30 # yield per
Variety Harvest pounds plants plant
Frazier White 7.9 4 2.0
Georgia Jets 14.5 3 4.8
Korean Purple 8.8  4 2.2
Laceleaf 4.0 4 1.0
Purple 19.0  4 4.8
Beauregard                   4.8        1         4.8
Planting total 58.9 20

In mid-June I got more plants, extras that were not needed in the gardens at Locust Grove. Three Purple slips went into an empty spot along my fence. Sweet potato vines are aggressive. My neighbor had onions on the other side of the fence but I managed to keep the vines on my side until he pulled his onions. The vines were 3′ into his garden when I started harvesting this morning.

Three Purple Sweet Potatoes. They were intertwined in the ground too.

Three Purple Sweet Potatoes. They were intertwined in the ground too.

The biggest Purple sweet potato - quite nice looking, no splits or cracks.

The biggest Purple sweet potato – quite nice looking, no splits or cracks.

The entire 19 pounds of Purple Sweet potatoes from the mid-June planting.

The entire 19 pounds of Purple Sweet potatoes from the mid-June planting.

The three plants from the mid-June planting yielded 19.4 pounds or 6.3 pounds per plant. Phenomenal for a cool-ish summer in the northeast USA.

This is what I mean by an ugly sweet potato. It is nicely sized and shaped, but split and cracked plus it has surface damage cause by an animal or insect. All but one of my Georgia Jets have the same damage. They won’t store well.

An ugly Georgia Jets sweet potato.

An ugly Georgia Jets sweet potato.

All in all, 2014 was an excellent year for sweet potatoes.


  1. Did you figure out why the lace leaf SP did so poorly this year? Location? Irrigation?

    Comment by Norma Chang — September 29, 2014 @ 6:58 pm | Reply

    • I’ve no idea. The varieties were planted in the same order as last year Purple, Laceleaf, Frazier White, Korean Purple, Frazier White, and Georgia Jets. They were all on the same soaker hose and got the same treatment. Laceleaf has never done well for me, even when planted alone at the F&HC and I’ve decided not to grow it next year.

      I want to see if I can find replacements for Laceleaf and Frazier White.

      Comment by marysveggiegarden — September 29, 2014 @ 7:49 pm | Reply

  2. I’ve never grown sweet potatoes – they are on my “to try” list – but it doesn’t take an expert to see you had an amazing harvest this year. Congrats!

    Comment by Margaret — September 29, 2014 @ 8:56 pm | Reply

  3. Your Purples got even bigger than mine did. I got some real monster potatoes from them. My Beauregard didn’t produce this year though. I was pretty sad about that. It is interesting that we space our plants differently (mine are closer together than yours) but the yield ends up about the same per sqft. I’ve always wondered if it really mattered. I tend to get bigger sweet potatoes the farther apart they grow, but not as many.

    Comment by daphnegould — September 30, 2014 @ 4:15 pm | Reply

    • Beauregard has not done well for me in the past, so this year was a surprise. The spot was supposed to hold a Georgia Jet, but it was a feeble slip, and my neighbor offered a Beauregard so I replaced the GJ.

      I’ve never tried any other spacing. 1′ is the standard recommendation. I flanked the SP bed with onions on one side and regular potatoes on the other side. Both were harvested by mid-August so then the SPs had space to run.

      Comment by marysveggiegarden — September 30, 2014 @ 4:52 pm | Reply

  4. all of my GJ–have that ugly splits and crack look , what could possibly be the cause . I think maybe the clay soil. Please help

    Comment by Bill — October 9, 2014 @ 12:22 pm | Reply

    • I believe the GJ splits & cracks are genetic, or it could be a genetic response to clay soil and uneven watering. My soil is also clay, though it has a lot of organic material mixed in. It could also be a response to uneven watering and suffering wet & dry periods particularly as my garden got only .5″ of rain in the month before harvest..

      I’m certain part of the problem is genetic because my other varieties have only occasional cracks even when large. I’ve harvested 1 ounce GJs with splits. Did you see my 2013 SP harvest?
      It shows all the varieties, and the 2013 GJ had very few splits. (And they were grown in the same soil/garden.) I’m thinking the problem is uneven watering.

      Comment by marysveggiegarden — October 9, 2014 @ 2:45 pm | Reply

  5. thank you for this information. How often do you rotate your planting areas for SW, every year? or biannually? Gina

    Comment by Gina Delorenzi — October 20, 2014 @ 8:53 am | Reply

    • I rotate every single year. I use three groupings of veggies that move each year. Even within a group, I switch things up so when the solanaceous crops return in the 4th year to where they started in the first year, the tomatoes and potatoes and peppers are in different spots within the area.

      Comment by marysveggiegarden — October 20, 2014 @ 9:52 am | Reply

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