We got back from our trip to Texas and New Mexico late Saturday night. Sunday was a full day in the garden, a combination of being gone for 10 days and a freeze warning Tuesday night. We decided to harvest all of the sweet potatoes since we’d found a few with mole damage. Digging up the sweet potatoes with our hands was great fun. Most were small but a few large sweet potatoes survived mole damage. The white sweet potatoes fared much better than the orange ones- many of the orange ones were split or gnawed upon. The whites have less insect damage, no splitting, and were larger overall.
After culling out the ones that were cracked, split, or had major insect damage, I packed away more than forty pounds of sweet potatoes! Not bad for a crop that was never irrigated after establishment, never fertilized, never needed spraying or pest control of any kind. There was some insect damage though, so I’ll either skip growing sweet potatoes next year or I’ll grow them on the farm. I don’t want any sweet potato pests to get established. I think I have found my forest garden groundcover crop rotation- sweet potatoes one year, pumpkins the next.
I decided to use a laundry basket lined with layers of newspapers for the curing. It’s supposed to freeze this week so I put the basket of sweet potatoes in the pantry to cure. I decided to leave the cassava and jicama in the ground. They’re both in protected spots and I think can survive a light frost.