"The tragic reality is that very few sustainable systems are designed or applied by those who hold power, and the reason for this is obvious and simple: to let people arrange their own food, energy and shelter is to lose economic and political control over them. We should cease to look to power structures, hierarchical systems, or governments to help us, and devise ways to help ourselves." - Bill Mollison

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Some Little Sweet Potatoes

A few days ago we harvested a modest amount of long, skinny, red and white sweet potatoes, they were absolutely beautiful...beauty being in the eye of the beholder of course.:) I can see that my endeavor to produce sizable sweets is going to be an ongoing multi-year challenge.

The potatoes were cultivated under a covered hoop for much of the summer but I believe this season's cold nighttime temperatures greatly limited tuber growth. Not a total failure though as a small 3' x 5' experimental plot still yielded a good 15 pounds of these tantalizing treasures that taste pretty darn amazing when roasted with a little olive oil, rosemary, salt and pepper.

39 comments:

kitsapFG said...

Yum! That is pretty impressive to have gotten any kind of crop of sweet potatoes in our region - let alone this year with all the below average temperatures we experienced. Good work!

Dani said...

Mr H - I've had a harvest of skinny thin potatoes, but like you, I'm just grateful for any LOL

Seems like everywhere there is a problem growing something - I wonder if there is anywhere where everything can be grown?

Rather some, than none, in my book. And the sound of roasted with a little olive oil and a sprinkling of salt - yummy!

Leigh said...

A lot of mine look long and skinny like that, and I have a good climate and conditions for growing sweet potatoes, so count it as a success! The weather this summer was a challenge for everyone it seems. That second photo sure does make me happy. It'll be interesting to see how well you can coax them to become fatter. :)

Jane said...

Yep looks like a photo if most mine. And I thought I was to far north. I have to give you credit for those. Quite a feat in Idaho.

Dave said...

Sweet potatoes are always challenging in areas with shorter/cooler growing seasons. In warm areas like ours they are relatively easy to grow and sometimes get too big and split.

I would say that your harvest was impressive, and your yield per square foot surpassed ours! Is it possible that wider spacing would have produced bigger roots, or is it just the colder soil and air temps?

TheBlakkDuchess said...

Your potatoes look like jewels! =D

Glad you got some, even if they're a bit skinnier than intended. ^-^

GrafixMuse said...

Oh wow! The size of those sweet potatoes is quite impressive. I think they are very beautiful even in their skinny state.

Buttons said...

Wow I will be right over they look delicious. I think that is a fine harvest I have never had them grow anytime. I do not have any luck. I think you did very good. Next year will better the weather will cooperate this time.B

Elizabeth said...

they look beautiful to me too!!! Fruits of your labor and grown with love, it doesn't get any better than that!!
Peace and Raw Health,
Elizabeth

Bev said...

I am very impressed. You'll get a few nice meals (or side dishes at the very least) from them and I bet they are delicious!

Mark Willis said...

Yep; quality is more important than quantity. And if you derive satisfaction from growing them then this is a good result.

Gingerbreadshouse7 said...

I wasn't going to tell it , but my sweet potatoes looked the same, but so much smaller...I couldn't get one bite out of them..I put them into a paper bag thinking "what if I replanted them in the Spring" would they grow into real sweet potatoes? or have I just lucked out? :o( I worked so hard planting the "slips" into the homemade paper cups:o( Oh well, the leaves looked pretty good :o)

Mr. H. said...

Laura - We have a weakness for sweet potatoes around here so one way or another I am determined to grow them...or at least try:)

Dani - I have a feeling that where ever one lives there would be something that was hard to grow. They are really good roasted...mmm.

Leigh - I have thoughts on making a slightly larger patch next year with a composting hot bed of sorts underneath to possibly warm the ground. We shall see.

Jane - I tried growing sweet potatoes in a cold frame a few years ago and had some success so I thought I had better give them a try again this season. I will definitely be trying to perfect the growing of sweet potatoes in our garden going forward.

Dave - I think it was the cold night temperatures. I grew sweets back in 2008 in a cold frame type set up and did get slightly larger potatoes...this was not the best year for trying this again...next year will be better.:)

BlakkDuchess - Thanks, if a jewel could be eaten that is what they tasted like.:)

Grafixmuse - Yes, not too bad considering our garden zone and not having the best weather this year. With any luck, next year they will be just a little bit bigger...if not I will just call them fingerling sweets.:)

Buttons - I'll save a few out for you...supposed to get a little snow today, guess the sweet potato growing season is over for us.

Elizabeth - They are nice, well worth the limited effort I put into growing them. It's hard to get organic sweet potatoes in North Idaho.

Bev - We have been enjoying them...fried and roasted.

Mark - I couldn't agree more.:)

Ginny - We will both have to try again next year and with any luck yours will be much larger and so will mine. I hear that the leaves make for a great stir fry.

Gingerbreadshouse7 said...

Too late for my leaves :o( We put them into the compost..I was disgusted :o(

.09 Acres said...

I don't usually admit it, but I don't really like sweet potatoes.

That being said, after seeing Mr. H's pictures and reading about how he prepared them with oil and salt, I may have to reconsider! Those beauties look like sweet potato french fries!!

Malay-Kadazan girl said...

Impressive harvest considering the climate you have there. A big accomplishment. I like that size as it is much more sweeter. Did you try the young shoots?

Geno said...

Those things are beautiful! They are looking happy to me. And I can only imagine how good they are!

cathy@home said...

looks very tasty funny thing when I go shopping I see alot of people picking out the skinny ones .

Liz said...

That is really encouraging - I planted some sweet potatoes too this week and this has made me a bit more optimistic that I'll get something other than leaves. And when I do I will be sure to roast them.

granny said...

Fat,skinny,long or short..not much beats an organic home grown sweet potato :0)
Love them !

Mr. H. said...

Ginny - Next year will be better.

.09 Acres - Well if I have converted you than it was all worth while.:)

Malay-Kadazan girl - I did try the shoots, but not too many though as I didn't want to interrupt tuber growth. They are good and it would be worth growing a few just for the young shoots alone.

Geno - It was fun and they were nothing too special to begin with, I started with sweet potatoes from the grocery store. There are varieties that can be purchased as "slips" through the seed catalogues that are supposed to do better in our colder climate but they are kind of spendy.

Cathy@home - It would have been nice if they were slightly larger but we have been enjoying them nonetheless.:)

Liz - Good for you, hope they do really well and I think you will like them roasted...especially if they are small like mine.

Mr. H. said...

Granny - I agree with that, especially since it is hard for us to find organic ones around here.

The Idiot Gardener said...

Jesus, that's one hell of a crop! I think we got about a dozen yellow leaves. I'm putting the failure down to that Jesus fellow, or the Greek bankruptcy debacle, or maybe even ... Idiocy?

6512 and growing said...

Any home grown sweet potato is a good sweet potato. Enjoy that yumminess and a warm welcome to Willie.

Frustrated Farmer Rick said...

Just wanted to pop in and say how tasty those sweet potatoes look. I may have to give them a try next year.

Mr. H. said...

Idiot Gardener - Have you considered praying:)

6512 and Growing - Willie says hello.

Rick - We had pumkin soup last night...it was good, thanks for the idea.

contadina said...

They look pretty funky like that and I reckon you could market them as nouvelle cuisine baby sweet potatoes and charge twice the price of their more robust cousins:-)

Mr. H. said...

Contandina - I like that, from now on I will refer to them as my nouvelle cuisine baby sweet potatoes...I'll have to work on my presentation though.:)

Herrick Kimball said...

I enjoy your blog very much and it has been linked from my blog for quite awhile. You might enjoy my recent article:

Growing Sweet Potatoes in My Northern Garden

Lrong said...

Was smiling to myself reading about 'I can see that my endeavor to produce sizable sweets is going to be an ongoing multi-year challenge.'...
Same case here, my friend... and it is such a joy to be able to do so...

Mr. H. said...

Herrick - Thanks, I just read the your excellent article and might have to pick up a copy of Ken Allan's sweet potato growing book. I appreciate you sharing this information. Hope your sweets taste as good as they look.

Lrong - It is, what fun would it be if everything was easy and worked out perfectly the first time around.:)

Sylvie in Rappahannock said...

It's amazing that you are getting any sweet potato in your climate Mike. I mean they do like it hots, and they need - I think - A good 5 months of warm weather (and soil) to do well. In the bed that I planted a tad late this year, the size and overall yield was much smaller because the tubers did not have enough time to get very large... Warming up that soil is going to be critical if you want big ones. I am sure you will figure it out! And next year, you'll have several bushels of sweets to harvest and cure!

Mr. H. said...

Sylvie - Next year I may try to grow them over a hot bed of sorts. Honestly, considering the chilly nighttime temperatures we had for most of the summer I am surprised that there was any tuber developement at all...next year will be better.:)

Rhizowen said...

Everything is relative. I would be delighted to harvest sweetpotatoes like those. I rarely do.

Mr. H. said...

Rhizowen - They were and still are a nice treat. In all honesty, even if they do not get any larger than this I will continue to grow them...because I like them and they seem to be holding up suprisingly well for their size.

Wendy said...

I think they're gorgeous!

That monsanto video is pretty crazy. Round Up ready technology? yuck. you can just throw out the word sustainable! Very fitting Cherokee quote.

Mr. H. said...

Wendy - It is disturbing isn't it, vegetable crops that are genetically engineered to be resistent to herbicides that kill everything else around them are quite frightening...and then people and animals are supposed to eat this stuff.

Glad you had a chance to view the video. Unfortunately I am afraid we are well past the whisper stage and will soon start to hear the screams.

Mike said...

Wow! That's great! We have tried sweet potatoes up here with out success. Glad you had luck with it!

Mr. H. said...

I grew them once before so I knew it was possible but given the cold nights we had this season I was surprised to see anything at all.

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