Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Sweet Potatoes Trial • Summer Update

As you’ll recall from the closing images of our June 26th post about planting our sweet potato trial, the slips were drooping and wilted — less than healthy appearing. Sweet potatoes are a tropical plant, so we covered them with AG-19 row cover to protect them from the weather, which can still be rather cool in Maine during late spring and early summer.

Now into mid-July, the row cover has been removed, and as you can see in the photos, the vines that looked questionable after planting are alive and healthy. The foliage is a lush green, and there is little evidence of pests, and no evidence of disease. However, due to the cool summer we are having in Central Maine, the plants are not as vigorous and sprawling as they would be in warmer climates.

Sweet Potato Trial, Albion, Maine
Photo taken July 17, 2015

For those of you growing our newly-added variety, Mahon Yam™, you will notice something distinctly different about its leaves in comparison to other sweet potatoes you may have grown in the past. Standard sweet potatoes have moderately lobed palmate or cordate leaves.

Most sweet potato varieties have moderately lobed palmate
or cordate to triangular leaves.

In contrast, Mahon Yams have very deeply lobed leaves, resembling those of Japanese maples.

Deeply 7-lobed leaves of the newer organic variety, 'Mahon Yam'

No matter which leaf type your sweet potatoes have, given proper care and growing conditions you will have storage roots to enjoy at harvest time — we're looking forward to sampling the fruits of our yam trials!