Friday, October 18, 2013

Fenton Friday: Sweet Potato Harvest Time

I'm a bit behind on my working my Fenton community garden plot and am finally getting to digging up my patch of sweet potatoes. This year I only grew the tried-and-true Beauregard.

A few people on our Washington Gardener yahoo discussion list have asked about how to harvest and  cure them for storage. Proper curing makes a big difference in how sweet the potatoes are, so I'll go through the basic steps here:

1. To give yourself room and a better view for digging up your sweet potatoes, you can cut back the vines.
2. Next, use a garden fork or spade and start loosening the soil a good couple of feet back from the crown of the mound. I made the mistake last year of going in too close and stabbing a bunch of good tubers, mea culpa.
3. Work your way around the mound and gently pry up your tubers.
4. Brush off (gently!)  as much of the soil as possible.
5. Snip off with clean pruners if they are attached to a large root. Otherwise, leaves the small whiskers and such on them.
6. Lay out a layer of newspaper in a warm, humid, and dim space. I use my sun-porch with the blinds drawn. You do not want them to get cold though, so try to have the space be at least 80-degrees even at night. A greenhouse space works great for this.
7. Leave for 7-10 days.
8. Now they are cured and ready for cooking or storing.


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