Wild Gourd Farm

Organic Gardening in St. Louis City

Sweet Potatoes

This was our first year growing sweet potatoes. In the early spring, we sprouted two types of organic sweet potatoes in jars, then transplanted the small sprouts (commonly called “slips”) into a new bed at Dave’s Place in June. To prepare the bed, we plotted out an 8 foot circle with bricks, then turned the soil and added sand and compost.

The sweet potatoes really took off in the hot weather we had this summer. The whole bed was filled with beautiful, winding sweet potato vines. As a bonus, sweet potato greens are edible and great in salads or sauteed as a side dish. (We also planted some amaranth, which are the tall pink plants in the next photos.)

You can harvest in a few months, but it’s best to wait until the leaves turn yellow, or ideally after the first frost. The longer they’re in the ground, the sweeter and more nutritious your sweet potatoes will be.

We dug up most of the sweet potato bed today, carefully trying not to slice or nick any of the tubers. They grew in clusters, not too deep in the ground.

Much to our surprise, we filled up our box before we were even halfway through!

We’re estimating we got about 30 pounds so far, and we’ll have to go dig up the rest. We’ll be putting some to good use in our Thanksgiving meal this year and will store the rest in the basement over the winter.

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