My sweet potatoes have done their dash

My sweet potatoes have done their dash and I dug them up this week.

Plot 24 is 50% of my allotment space, and has been taken up for nine months with sweet potatoes.Β That’s a big investment in land for what turned out to be such a small return.

Basically, it’s given me a good laugh – see below – and a bucketful of very ugly tubers this week when I cleared the bed, so perhaps it’s earned it’s keep. But I would like more to show for NINE months. Goodness – I produced a son (or two) in that time!.

Now THAT'S a sweet potato

Now THAT’S a sweet potato

Anyway, I really wanted to have a good dig and a fresh bit of dirt to get planting again.

This is what it looked like a few weeks ago (I forgot to take a ‘before’ photo when I started digging).

sweet potato

sweet potato

After a bit of heaving and sweating this is the result.

Lovely fresh allotment

Lovely fresh allotment

This cleared plot gives you an idea of what eight square metres looks like. This is number 24. I have another one, number 21, which is the same size (I’m standing in it to take the photo).

I’m going to have a lovely time filling that bed.

Happy gardening.

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20 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. JonesGardenBlog
    Jul 24, 2013 @ 04:16:18

    Bummer! Sorry they didn’t turn out very well. I am growing sweet potatoes for the firs time this year. I have no idea really went to harvest. I had heard 4 weeks after flowers show up. Any pointers?

    Reply

    • Allotment adventures with Jean
      Jul 24, 2013 @ 05:33:47

      Sorry I can’t be much help here. I know they take a long time to grow, up to 30 weeks, but one way to find out if they are ready for harvesting is to do some ‘bandicooting’ by putting your hand in the ground around one of the plants and feeling for the tubers. If you find a large one they are ready, if not you can re-cover the tuber with soil and let it keep growing. It also depends on your climate as to how long you leave the tubers in the ground. I wonder if you know anyone in your area who has successfully grown sweet potatoes. That could help.
      I could have left mine in longer, but after 9 months I wanted the ground back. I don’t want this post to sound too negative because I did get a harvest, albeit a small one. But boy, they taste real good and after drying them off they’ll feed me for a while.
      I hope you have a really good harvest – but with this vegetable you need to be patient – and you need heaps of space.

      Reply

  2. narf77
    Jul 24, 2013 @ 05:17:39

    We are going to have a lovely time watching what you do with it Jean :). Don’t forget to add in the cost saving of all of that exercise spent liberating your bucket of ugly roots, you look fit and healthy to me and that would be in no small part thanks to your allotment and your need to dig πŸ™‚

    Reply

    • Allotment adventures with Jean
      Jul 24, 2013 @ 05:44:34

      Dear Fran. I got up on Monday and I just HAD to have a big dig. Do you ever feel like that? It’s like getting up one morning all fired up and deciding to spring clean!
      I’ve been looking at that allotment for a few weeks now and thinking of all that lovely dirt (sorry, growing medium) just sitting under those green leaves.
      I’m going to put a selection of different veggies in plot 24. That’s the usual way that I garden. A little bit of this and a little bit of that and some of it’s bound to be spectacular, and if possible, photogenic.
      I knew I would have to tie up that allotment for a long time if I planted sweet potatoes but after all, my allotment is an adventure. But my patience ran out. Nine months is a long enough gestation for anything except elephants in my book.
      That bucket of roots really are ugly. Misshapen and covered in dirt and not a photogenic one amongst them. But I know they are going to taste just fine. I’ve already cooked up one batch. I cooked too many for my dinner (as you do) so the next morning I nibbled on them cold from the fridge and they were just as yummy.

      Reply

      • narf77
        Jul 24, 2013 @ 09:01:17

        They are also incredibly good cooked up and used as pudding. I didn’t know whether or not the Americans were right on that count but they are (as is pumpkin). I DO feel like that Jean! Sometimes I just want to get out and dig or hack my way through the undergrowth or weed (rarely but sometimes πŸ˜‰ ) and you just have to let yourself go with the flow. I can’t wait to see what you get planted in your allotment next it’s great fun sharing your plantings with you and I enjoy reading your posts as much as you enjoy writing them πŸ™‚

      • Allotment adventures with Jean
        Jul 24, 2013 @ 16:07:50

        Thank you Fran. Pleased you enjoy the posts. I went over to the farm today to do a bit of volunteer weeding in the community garden. Planted a few seeds in my cleared ‘lottie’, more about that later.
        Tomorrow will be fun. We are holding a “Christmas in July” at the farm and we’ll be lighting the cob oven, and firing up the barbie. (Anyone from overseas reading this – we won’t be setting light to a little dolly – it’s just the barbecue!)

      • narf77
        Jul 24, 2013 @ 16:41:02

        Lol! That would make a most “interesting” post setting fire to barbie wouldn’t it! ;). We have a MASSIVE pile of dry debris in the lower tea tree garden. No idea what we are going to do with it but it looks like we need a Guy to put on top of it or a wicker man! ;). Can’t wait to read about the bbq and see pictures. The farm is lovely and it certainly gives me hope that we might be able to do something here on Serendipity Farm πŸ™‚

      • Allotment adventures with Jean
        Jul 24, 2013 @ 17:14:53

        Fran it will be Guy Fawkes Night on the 5th November. Will your pile of dry debris wait until then? Lol

        I’m looking forward to Christmas in July at the farm in the morning. There is always something happening.

  3. Maria
    Jul 24, 2013 @ 10:04:42

    Jean when I saw the ‘after’ photo of your sweet potato patch, I knew how hard you must have worked! In an amazing coincidence, yesterday I started digging up my 2 beds of sweet potatoes whether they were big enough or not! I haven’t finished yet but I was surprised by how many reasonable sized ones I dug up…but no where as good as last year! One big surprise was the 2 beauties that I dug out of a large pot that I had shoved a cutting into last summer! I loved that hint that that lovely man told us that day I visited you at the farm…break bits of vine off and push into the ground for a higher yield πŸ™‚ rather than just let the vines wander.

    Reply

    • Allotment adventures with Jean
      Jul 24, 2013 @ 16:04:52

      Hi Maria. Great minds think alike! It was heavy work digging my plot over a couple of times to make sure I had all the tubers. Then fertilising and raking it all to a fine tilth but I was really pleased with the result. The tubers have really broken up the soil to a good depth.Pleased to hear that the hint worked for you.

      Reply

  4. Barb Mc
    Jul 24, 2013 @ 10:57:42

    Hi Jean, We dug out an ugly gnarled one not long ago sized like a soccer ball; I was concerned that it would be woody and inedible but it tasted lovely. The old story about books and covers isn’t it? Looking forward to seeing your next plantings go in.
    Barb

    Reply

  5. cityhippyfarmgirl
    Jul 24, 2013 @ 21:27:40

    Jean so how do you think you’ll cook them up? Nine months is quite a time isn’t it…I had no idea they took so long.

    Reply

    • Allotment adventures with Jean
      Jul 25, 2013 @ 08:01:37

      Brydie they do tie up the land for months, but if you have the space it’s well worth growing them. I tend to eat mine in a plain fashion. Often I just like to steam them as I like the simple taste of the vegetable with no ‘messing about’. And if you have a nice gravy with your dinner, steaming is all you need.
      Or I boil them (be careful they don’t break up in the water) mash them, and add a nob of butter and a shake of black pepper.
      But if you have the time the most delicious way you can serve sweet potatoes is to roast them in the oven. Cut them up, roll them in olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Might take an hour in a hot oven depending on the size. Caramelisation takes place and they are absolutely delicious. It adds another dimension and a lovely addition to the dinner plate. Roasted sweet potatoes make a particularly delicious soup – if you google ‘sweet potato recipes’ you will find lots of recipes will ask for roasted sweet potatoes. Hope this gives you some ideas.

      Reply

  6. Natalie Cleary
    Jul 28, 2013 @ 20:47:33

    Looks pretty good to me! Hope they taste wonderful and better luck getting them larger next time.

    Reply

  7. Tania
    Aug 01, 2013 @ 18:46:46

    Crikey look at the size of that sweet potato! Love your big patch, they seem to be growing really well for you. I have managed to grow them here although they don’t like the frosts in winter…I have them covered over and they seem to be coming back to life after having some lovely sunshiny days!

    Just found your blog and love what I see πŸ™‚

    Reply

  8. Anna B
    Aug 07, 2013 @ 17:44:56

    That is one amazing sweet potato!!!! πŸ™‚

    Reply

  9. Allotment adventures with Jean
    Aug 07, 2013 @ 17:54:40

    Isn’t it Anna. It fed me for a week or more.

    Reply

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