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. 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.

Panning for gold – sweet potatoes

I love growing sweet potatoes. Tell me I “don’t get out enough” if you please, but it’s a bit like panning for gold once you get in amongst the sweet potato bed. It’s only when you start digging that you find out if there is anything worth eating growing beneath the greenery

Sweet potato bed

my sweet potato bed, lots of green tops

I fancied sweet potato for dinner yesterday so had a little dig around. And this was the pathetic result. Mmm, not ready yet thought I.

a little toddler

a little tiddler of a sweet potato

Not ready to give up easily  (I planted the original tubers last October and I’d dug up a few decent sized tubers in April so there must be something there) I tried the other side of the bed and hit the mother lode. I found two tubers this size, but I have already roasted the other one!  It was delicious, and there’s plenty left.

Sweet potato - that's more like it

Sweet potato – that’s more like it

So now I’m really puzzled. When is the right time to harvest your sweet potatoes?

While I was pondering this important question Liz, the community garden co-ordinator, arrived at the farm  and told me that you know they are ready when the green tops die down. So there you have it.

My green tops are alive and well so I’ll leave them another month or two and then I reckon I’ll have buckets full.

Happy gardening.

Jerry Coleby-Williams

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