Thought we would check in with our creative gardener, Cathy Partusch, in Sturgeon, MO, to see how her garden had grown. Success! Cathy harvested many crops, including a HUGE amount of sweet potatoes (in size and number).
Cathy shared pictures of her sweet potatoes, vines, raised beds (that once were her pool), roses still blooming as MO heads into Fall, along with tips on growing, cooking, curing, and storing sweet potatoes once you harvest them.
Congratulations Cathy and thanks for the update!–Linda Lou Crosby
Straight from Corgi Acres and Cathy Partusch of Sturgeon Missouri:
This is the first Corgi Acres sweet potato harvest. These giant sweet potatoes came out of one large raised bed, and one large pot! They are now in their little greenhouse to cure for several weeks so that they will be nice and sweet by Thanksgiving! It is so wonderful to have a kitchen garden instead of a swimming pool!
The sweet potatoes were panted here in mid-Missouri late May. They really like to have warm soil and temperatures as warm as possible! I purchased some slips and planted approximately 12 or 15 slips. That’s all you have to do! By the end of summer, the vines are running all over the garden! I included a photo of the vines. They are related to the Morning Glory and bloom with a beautiful purple flower!
I chose to use a raised bed for my sweet potato plantings. I also stuck a couple of slips into large pots that produced four or five smaller sweet potatoes. This year, I would say we harvested between 40 to 50 pounds.
Sweet potatoes require some time to cure in a warm space before storing. The ideal temperature for curing sweet potatoes is 80-90 degrees, which is why I bought a small greenhouse. It will take about two weeks at those temperatures. But, my greenhouse in the garage does not get that warm, so it will take a few weeks longer for them to cure at Corgi Acres.
Curing sweet potatoes is relatively simple.You put them in on racks not touching each other in a warm area and leave them there for anywhere from 10 days to a few weeks depending on how warm it is. Then they can be stored in paper boxes, with shredded paper in between the layers. And the boxes should be placed in a relatively cool area, such as a larder.
Sweet potatoes are very nutritious, and can be used in many recipes. They can be baked, steamed with brown sugar and cinnamon, and even made into sweet potato pie. They also are great fried or sauteed in butter, and will make a wonderful soup similar to pumpkin or squash soup, only sweeter!
Because sweet potatoes are tropical, they do not like cold weather. When the first frost touches the leaves, the vines must be immediately cut off and the potatoes harvested as soon as possible! I chose to harvest on October 29 because that was a harvest day by the almanac for root crops. It worked out beautifully! It frosted the night of October 28, and we were up early the next next day snipping vines, cleaning out the area and digging the potatoes.
This crop should be cured and ready for Thanksgiving! The rest of them will be stored in a cool spot in my larder throughout the Winter.”