The “other” taters

A bumper crop of sweet potatoes this year to make up for our measly harvest of white potatoes!

Late this past May the UPS truck pulled up as evening was approaching.  Roy and the kids were setting up portable fencing in the front yard for the rams and I was mowing.  I saw the driver hand a box with holes in the sides to my son and knew what it must be!

Sweet potato slips!

Sweet potatoes are planted from “slips”, which are rooted little plants that are started in the warm soil down south and quickly shipped to us here late in May.  This year we paid extra for quick shipping, and I was determined to get them in the ground as soon as possible after they arrived on our doorstep so as to minimize loss of these precious baby plants.

As I was mowing on the day of their arrival, I motioned to Roy to look at the box and over the noisy motor of the lawn tractor I mouthed the words “Sweet potatoes!”  He smiled and nodded not knowing what else was going on in my head.  He had intended to move the sheep and call it a night, happy that we had accomplished this little chore after his full day of work at the office.  But bustling around in my head was, “We have JUST enough time, if we all pull together, to get these in the ground tonight!”  Adding to my haste in accomplishing this task was the fact that rain was coming, and I knew a muddy garden would seriously impede our getting out there to make the mounds for planting in the next day or two.

How was I going to convince Roy and the rest of the family of my crazy intentions, though?

I turned off the mower and made my plea.  I must say that I’m glad to be the daughter of an attorney, because hanging out with my dad when I was younger has taught me a bit about winning arguments.  I made my case – presented the evidence – represented the evidence in a more desperate fashion – and eventually won!

Everyone whipped into action, and we planted the last of the 200 slips as raindrops were falling.  It was a seriously good feeling – and luckily there was still enough daylight left to get cleaned up and back to the house before the downpour and darkness fell upon us.

I was a bit worried over the next couple of days.  The heavy rain eroded our mounds a bit and we did end up losing a lot of plants, but enough survived (at least half of them) that we got more pounds of sweet potatoes than ever!

We picked them late Saturday (I won’t go into the details of yet another of my impulsive schemes to, at the last minute, encourage everyone at the end of that day to chip in and harvest, but it again succeeded!)

Here they are, drying out before we store them for curing.
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This year’s harvest included one potato that weighed in at 3.4 pounds!

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And now the waiting game.  Sweet potatoes freshly harvested are NOT sweet.  It takes over a month for those sugars to cure in the spud to the point that they are enjoyable.

Curing ideally takes place in a humid location.  When we moved to this home we laughed when we saw the jacuzzi in our bathroom.  When will we EVER have time for that?

But where is one of the most humid places in our house?  The bathroom.

And so that lovely jacuzzi has become the best storage area for our sweet potatoes.  From late September until November there are NO jacuzzi baths taken in our bathroom

(even if we DID have the time!), and long steamy showers are encouraged…

Nestled in under the burlap, half filling the tub, lie 252 pounds of lovely Beauregard sweet potatoes, curing to sweet, lovely goodness!

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