Friday, October 21, 2011

Customer photos: Giant Sweet Potato

Mary Ann, an Augusta, Maine gardener, described her first two attempts at growing sweet potatoes as "disasters". The third time, however, proved to be a charm. This past spring, she purchased 25 Johnny's Beauregard sweet potato slips. She planted the slips during the first week of June. Four months later she is enjoying her best crop ever.

Last week, she dug up half her plants, including the 2 1/2 lb. tuber shown in the photos below. She still has 10 plants to harvest from a 30' bed.

"I have lots more to dig and how I wish I had known how big they were earlier because I would have entered them in the fairs for largest potato. I have a clue that I would have won a blue ribbon or two" Mary Ann said.

She reported digging up plants with 6 large potatoes per cluster.

"They are absolutely huge and delicious," Mary Ann said.

Two years ago, Maine experienced an unusually wet summer and Mary Ann said her sweet potatoes looked like string beans at harvest. "This time I hilled up the row. They seem to like drier conditions," Mary Ann said.

She also had a soil test done this year and amended her soil accordingly. Like many growers new to sweet potatoes, Mary Ann was surprised at how wilted the slips appeared to be when she received them in the spring. She put them in a glass of water to revive them and the plants quickly perked up.

2.5 lb. Beauregard sweet potato

A meal in itself
A successful harvest

Watch Johnny's instructional video for tips on how to plant sweet potato slips.


shannonstoney said...

How do you keep voles from eating the roots? that was my biggest problem this year.

Johnny's Seeds News said...

Hi shannon:
Protecting crops crops from vole damage can be a challenge. Eliminating weeds and other types of cover, trapping, and fencing are recommended methods of control. For more detailed information regarding voles please visit the Cal-Davis website.

Any "extra" vegetation such as weeds in the planted and surronding areas sould be kept clear or mowed. Voles use the tall grass/weeds to tunnel through and hide in.Voles do not burrow in the ground they run along the surface of the ground hidden by the tall weeds/grass.