Mary's Veggie Garden

September 29, 2014

9/29/2014 Sweet Potatoes Galore!

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

March 24, 2014

March 24: Invincible Snowdrops!

Filed under: Sweet Potatoes,Vegetables — marysveggiegarden @ 10:15 am
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I’ve long known that snowdrops bloom early: they are first to bloom in my yard. But I was surprised to see this plant that pushed through the icy snow bank. This is a ‘Giant Snowdrop’, Galanthus elwesii.

Giant Snowdrop

Giant Snowdrop, Galanthus elwesii

These snowdrops are in a tiny garden between the driveway pavement, the steps, and the patio. The picture shows the remains of the 4′ deep snow bank that’s covered the area since early February.

The snowdrop garden.

The snowdrop garden. It’s difficult to see the snowdrops against the ice.

In the vegetable garden, most of the fall planted spinach survived but the kale looks doubtful. Some of the spinach was direct sown Tyee, the rest was purchased transplants; both look OK. Neither the kale nor the spinach received any protection from the weather except the 30″ of snow that covered them for the coldest 6 weeks of Feb. and March.

3/24  fall planted Tyee spinach. It's so nice to see a bit of new green.

3/24 fall planted Tyee spinach. It’s so nice to see a bit of fresh green.

Gardening proceeds indoors. The onion, lettuce, and celeriac starts are in the basement, under lights. I rooted up the first batch of sweet potatoes in water, then potted them up.

It is interesting to see the differences between varieties when rooting mother sweet potatoes. I placed all of these in water the same day  (around 3/10) and photographed them on 3/21. Most sweet potatoes root from the bottom tip as shown by these Lace Leaf and Purple spuds.

Laceleaf sweet potatoes.

Laceleaf sweet potatoes.

Purple Sweet Potato

Purple sweet potatoes. I should have potted these when the roots were only 1/2″ long.

Georgia Jets are the slowest of my varieties to root. They usually root at the tip but will sometimes produce roots higher up. Yes, the two on the right do have roots but they are barely visible.

Georgia Jets sweet potatoes are barely showing roots.

Georgia Jets sweet potatoes are barely showing roots.

Frazier Whites produce roots all over.  For the last two years I’ve only seen roots at the very top, so this year I was surprised to see a Frazier White root at the bottom.

Frazier White sweet potatoes

Frazier White sweet potatoes

Here they are, all potted up.  See those tiny slips at the tops? In a few weeks I’ll be removing the slips for rooting.

Sweet potatoes potted up for slip production

Sweet potatoes potted up for slip production

This is a lot of sweet potatoes, because I’m growing slips for the garden at Locust Grove. I expect each potted potato to produce  6 or more slips. Actually the mother potatoes just keep on producing slips, the problem is getting about 20 of each variety by planting time the last week of May.

I finished my garden plans this week and was happy to discover the peas go into an area that is already snow free. However we are still in the ice box: the temperature as I took the snowdrop and spinach pictures was only 21°F (-6°C).

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