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Your climate and weather can make a difference, as can your growing techniques. Always handle your sweet potatoes carefully. Your climate and weather can make a difference, as can your growing techniques. A three- or four-tined fork allows you to lever up the plants and tubers with minimal potential for damage. Make sure you have the crop out of the ground at least two weeks before your first expected frost – remember you must allow time for curing as well. Sweet potatoes don’t just produce tubers – they also have edible leaves. The soil should be minimally moist and crumbly so that you can brush most it off the tubers with a very light touch. You can also can them – use a tested recipe. However, it helps to first dig a trench about 18 inches from the plant center with a pointed-end shovel. Sweet potatoes are easy to grow in the right areas – and even some where you wouldn't expect this tropical plant. Cooked sweet potatoes also freeze well. When a gardener talks about sweet potatoes, he or she means the colorful, slightly sweet tubers from Ipomea batata – a relative of the morning glory. The longer you can leave your sweet potatoes in the ground, the larger they will be. Frost will kill plants and rot tubers, but even cold soil without frost can cause damage. There are 2 main culprits to avoid once your sweet potatoes are cured. Harvesting them correctly is just as important as how you grow them. Here in the South, in zone 7b I start sweet potato slips indoors in March and plant them in the garden in mid-May after all danger of frost is gone and the soil has had enough time to warm up a bit. Then stack boards around the mound, fastening them at the top so they won't blow down. Cover the potatoes with a thick coat of straw, followed by 2- to 3-inches of dirt. Coupon for When to Harvest Sweet Potatoes. In colder areas, you can start them in a greenhouse and harvest a little earlier. True yams are white or cream-colored inside and starchy. Bruised spots will begin to decay and rot, spoiling the entire tuber. The tubers won’t be quite as big, but you can have a respectable crop. When And How To Harvest Sweet Potatoes. Sweet potato consumption is high-est among Americans over 60, and sweet potatoes may have special appeal to aging, health-conscious baby boomers. You should cure your sweet potatoes before storage. Handle the sweet potatoes carefully, as they bruise easily. A root cellar or cool basement make good storage areas. All of the sweet potatoes listed below should be readily available from nurseries and mail-order houses: The published maturity date for a sweet potato variety is no more than a guide. more ››, How to become a board member of a nonprofit organization, How to paste the same thing in multiple cells in excel, How to know what processor is compatible with my motherboard, How To Work From Home Effectively Amid Covid-19, How to get back videos you deleted on your iphone. After harvest, the sweet potatoes should be cured. A good rule of thumb is to watch for the first signs of yellowing leaves. Frost can damage the tubers below. What to Avoid with Sweet Potatoes. Make sure they are well-watered during the growing period. Although both are perennial vines and sweet potatoes are sometimes called yams, they are very different plants and belong to different families. Because they have thin skins sweet potatoes are easily damaged during harvest so extra care should be taken. Cutting the vines 2 or 3 days before you plan to dig will toughen up the skins. This will cause your sweet potatoes to turn a darker color and ruin them. Let them cure for a week or 10 days to help heal small nicks and toughen the skin. In either case, plant them in loose, sandy soil with reasonable fertility. Although it is relatively easy to grow sweet potatoes without chemi - It's also important to handle them with care and store them properly for best flavor, texture and storage life. Sweet potatoes may take longer to produce in drought conditions. When to Harvest Sweet Potatoes… Sweet potatoes need a long growing season. Short-season sweet potatoes – better for colder climates – are ready in about 90 days from planting the slips. This makes it easier to get the potato fork under the tubers at the right angle. First, you need to avoid cold temperatures. Brush off loose dirt and leave them in the sun for a few hours, then move to a table or shed that is warm and has good air circulation. Sweet potatoes are more fragile than you might think. They come in various colors, including purple, as well as the classic red-orange. For harvesting, pick a harvest day when it hasn’t rained for a few days. When you first harvest them sweet potatoes are not really sweet and the texture is not ideal. Just pick a handful from each plant. Copyright © 2018-2020 All rights reserved. Try a few when they “should” be ready. However, they are very sensitive to cold. Some people even go so far as to wear cotton gloves when harvesting as to not harm the potatoes. A good rule of thumb is to watch for the first signs of yellowing leaves. Harvest sweet potatoes before the vines are touched by frost. The leaves are used like other edible greens such as kale and spinach. Long season varieties may not mature for 140 days or more. Unless your soil is heavy clay, the best tool to do the actual harvest is a potato fork. Like other starchy vegetables, sweet potatoes can also be sliced thin and dehydrated for storage. I let them be and not harvest until the end of October. Cook them in boiling water and saute with oil and spices, use them in casseroles or cover with a creamy sauce. You can harvest leaves at any time up until the plants start to yellow. Lay down 8- to 10-inches of wheat straw, then carefully pile the cured sweet potatoes in a 3- to 4-foot-tall cone or pyramid. When to harvest sweet potatoes depends largely on the seasonal growing. Keep an eye on the vines – when the tops begin to turn yellow, it usually means the tubers are ready. If the growing season has been good with adequate water and sunshine, harvesting sweet potatoes should begin about 100-110 days after planting depending on the variety. When first harvested, the skins are fairly thin and the flesh will bruise easily. Maturity dates vary. Signs Your Sweet Potatoes are Ready. But smaller tubers—called “baby bakers”—can be lifted sooner if they are big enough to eat. Use lemon juice to prevent darkening. Even after curing, if you drop a tuber or dump them out of a container into the storage area, you may have damage. If you live in USDA Zones 8 or 9, you’ll have no trouble growing sweet potatoes. If the growing season has been good with adequate water and sunshine, harvesting sweet potatoes should begin about 100-110 days after planting depending on the variety. White and purple flesh sweet potatoes, as well as organic sweet potatoes, are possible market niches that Kentucky growers could fill. The sweet potatoes that are soft should be discarded. Most sweet potato varieties are ready to harvest 95 to 120 days after transplanting. You might also be able to get slips from an older gardener who has his or her own strain. how to tell when sweet potatoes are ready to pick, https://www.almanac.com/plant/sweet-potatoes#:~:text=How%20to%20Harvest%20Sweet%20Potatoes%201%20You%20can,plant%20and%20use%20your%20hands%20to%20dig%20up, https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/vegetables/sweet-potato/harvesting-sweet-potatoes.htm, https://www.diynetwork.com/how-to/outdoors/gardening/when-to-harvest-sweet-potatoes, https://homestead-honey.com/how-to-grow-harvest-cure-and-store-sweet-potatoes/, https://garden.org/learn/articles/view/581/, https://pallensmith.com/2015/04/21/how-to-harvest-and-cure-sweet-potatoes/, https://www.motherearthnews.com/organic-gardening/harvesting-sweet-potatoes-zb0z10zkon, https://www.tenthacrefarm.com/harvesting-curing-and-storing-sweet-potatoes/, https://www.almanac.com/plant/sweet-potatoes, https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/vegetables/sweet-potato/sweet-potato-storage-tips.htm, https://www.msn.com/en-us/foodanddrink/recipes/dont-eat-homegrown-sweet-potatoes-until-you-take-this-critical-step/ar-BB19naQd, https://homeguides.sfgate.com/its-time-harvest-sweet-potatoes-32758.html, https://growinginthegarden.com/how-to-grow-sweet-potatoes/, https://www.bhg.com.au/growing-sweet-potato, https://harvesttotable.com/how_to_grow_sweet_potatoes/, https://www.masterclass.com/articles/how-to-grow-and-harvest-sweet-potatoes-in-your-garden, https://morningchores.com/curing-sweet-potatoes/, https://harvesttotable.com/harvest-store-sweet-potatoes/, Read A trench about 18 inches from the plant center with a very light touch is just as important how! 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