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Old September 15, 2021   #1
GoDawgs's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: Augusta area, Georgia, 8a/7b
Posts: 1,685
Default Sweet (Potato) Success This Year!

This year I tried growing sweet potatoes under a trellis made from a length of field fence and it worked like a charm. The vines were up and out of the way and by limiting the length of the vines, most of the plant's energy went into making tubers. The only worky part, which I didn't consider work, was the continual threading of vines onto and through the trellis as they don't have tendrils to climb like beans and cukes do.

The variety is "Jewel", a nematode resistant variety that Pickles bought at a Publix store back in 2016 and all the sweets since then have descended from that one potato!

Two days ago I cut the vines off the trellis.

This morning after taking down the trellis fencing we dug the potatoes.

The clumps of sweets around the slip were nicely sized this year, probably from keeping the length of the vines in check so most of the plants' energy could go into the tubers. There were also some smaller potatoes away from the main clump.

They dried a bit in the sun.

Then they got sorted by size and put in baskets. That’s when I weighed them. 53 pounds from 11 hills!

The next part of the process is curing them for 10-14 days. If you ate one of those sweets now they’d be bland and very starchy. Curing converts the starch to sugar so they’re nice and sweet. Sweets need 80-90 degrees and high humidity during the process and I don't have a temp/humidity controlled warehouse.
The process I use for small scale curing was found online and it works very well.

The baskets will go into black plastic trash bags with some holes ripped a little on the top. They will stay in the hot garden shed during the curing. It will easily be warm enough in there. The sweets give off moisture as they cure and the bag will keep a lot of that in to fulfill the humidity requirement. The holes will let out the excess moisture so the potatoes don’t rot.

For us, the trellis system is the way to go. It's a great space saver and has produced the best crop I've ever grown. And once the sweet potato ridge is made and the slips are planted, I think there's enough room down each side to grow something else in that bed too. We'll see next spring!
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