Can anyone identify the cause of these occasional holes in the tubers?Can anyone identify the cause of these occasional holes in the tubers?
SOON...SOON...
Here are the beautiesHere are the beauties
Finished!Finished!
Halfway through digging up the sweet potatoesHalfway through digging up the sweet potatoes
This is a 4x4' compost bin, and the entire top is the sweet potato vines.This is a 4x4' compost bin, and the entire top is the sweet potato vines.
That is a big ol' pile of sweet potato vines. For reference, the blocks on the side are 16That is a big ol' pile of sweet potato vines. For reference, the blocks on the side are 16" tall.
Sweet potato vines after getting frosted.Sweet potato vines after getting frosted.
This year's sweet potato harvestThis year's sweet potato harvest
  • Can anyone identify the cause of these occasional holes in the tubers?
  • SOON...
  • Here are the beauties
  • Finished!
  • Halfway through digging up the sweet potatoes
  • This is a 4x4' compost bin, and the entire top is the sweet potato vines.
  • That is a big ol' pile of sweet potato vines. For reference, the blocks on the side are 16
  • Sweet potato vines after getting frosted.
  • This year's sweet potato harvest

Sunday was the day to harvest the sweet potatoes. The vines had been frosted, so it was time to pull up the tubers.

It’s easy to damage sweet potatoes by digging them up with tools. Since I have mine planted in a relatively small area (about 32 square feet), I just dig them up with my hands. Our soil is nice and loose, so it’s fairly easy to dig all the way to the bottom of the raised beds.

(At least so I told myself until the day after the harvest, when the muscles in my hands became extremely sore from all of the digging. Sore hand muscles is a new experience for me.)

This is the third year that we’ve grown sweet potatoes, and the second year that we’ve grown them from our own stock. It’s pretty exciting to me to be able to produce substantial amounts of food from our own supplies without having to purchase seeds or slips again every year.

For us sweet potatoes are an almost exclusively pest-free crop. The only minor damage we’ve ever seen is a few holes in the potatoes here and there. Can anyone explain this? Is it a growing issue or a pest issue?

Because of the drought we were entirely reliant on our irrigation, and it showed in the sweet potato yields. One side of the bed was watered better than the other because of inconsistencies in the soaker hoses we were using. Not surprisingly, the side that received more water had much larger sweet potatoes than the other side.

So the big question is… how much did we produce?

Drumroll, please!

…..

30 POUNDS!

Hooray! This is the most we’ve ever produced, and way more than the sad 15 pounds we produced last year because I got the slips in late. I think this is a good yield. Based on the average yield per acre that commercial growers should expect, when converted to square feet and scaled down to our growing area of 32 square feet, we would expect to produce around 15 pounds. So we produced two times the average yield. Not bad.

The sweet potatoes will cure for a couple weeks, then will become part of our “to eat this winter” food stores.

So now that we have them, what should we do with them? What are your favorite recipes and ways to prepare sweet potatoes?

3 Responses to “Sweet potato harvest day”

  1. sweetgum
    25 October 2012 at 11:06 am #

    Very pretty sweet potatoes! Besides baking, we just like to chunk the potatoes up (1/2×1 inch-ish) and toss with coconut oil and salt and roast in oven at 425. Or use a julienne grater to grate long shreds and then roast the same way (though you have to toss the shreds a few times since they are more likely to burn). For any small or odd shaped sweet potatoes that won’t store well I peel, steam, mash, and then freeze for later.

    The holes you’re finding may be from wireworms, the larvae of click beetles. At least that’s what I’ve assumed mine are from!

    http://pubs.ext.vt.edu/2906/2906-1329/2906-1329.html

    Though it looks like many different larvae can also cause a healed hole injury.

    http://www.clemson.edu/extension/hgic/pests/plant_pests/veg_fruit/hgic2215.html

    I just found your blog through a Root Simple link and am enjoying reading your experiments as I’m located in NW Arkansas and have similar… challenges.

  2. CoMo Homestead
    31 October 2012 at 4:33 pm #

    Thanks for your suggestions and for pointing me in a direction to explore for the sweet potato holes! (And sorry for keeping your comment in limbo for so long. I must have a technical issue to work out. Sorry!)

  3. CoMo Homestead
    1 November 2012 at 12:49 pm #

    Right now I’m leaning towards the damage being due to cucumber beetle larvae. We definitely have cucumber beetles, so I think that’s fairly likely.