We have a pretty long growing season here in Virginia and usually don't start to get cold weather or light frosts until well into November and usually don't get a killing frost until early December. But, this has been a strange year in the garden in many ways and last week we had unusually cold weather and got a few nights of frosty weather.

The sweet potatoes didn't like it one bit. Here's what they look like today:

Growing Sweet Potatoes

<AHEM> The time to harvest sweet potatoes is before you get a frost.

Sweet potatoes really like hot weather and are very sensitive to cold.  They will keep growing as long as the weather is warm. But, once it starts to get nippy, they pack it up and pretty much poop out.

In addition to hurting (or killing!) the vines, frost and cold weather can hurt the sweet potatoes too. Even though the potatoes might seem to be protected while in the ground, they're not. And decay from the vines can creep down to the potatoes too, so you really need to harvest them before cold weather sets in.

However, if you have a crazy year or are just plain lazy (both of which I tend to suffer from from time to time!) and haven't dug up your sweet little babies before cold weather hits, you should still have a few days to dig them without problems.

So I'm hoping mine will still be ok. The plan is to start digging today.

This was a pretty good year for sweet potatoes. In early-mid June, I planted out the Beauregard slips that I had started indoors in the spring. I planted 17 or 18 sweet potato slips in 2 rows, each about 50 ft long.

They grew in fabulously. Here is what they looked like back in early August:

Growing Sweet Potatoes

And, here is what they looked like just a few weeks ago:

Growing Sweet Potatoes

As you can see, the rows pretty much grew together into a big block of sweet potato vines. For the most part, sweet potatoes are self weeding. However, the deer here tend to like to eat the vines and, the areas where you can see grass in the photo above are where the deer ate a lot of the leaves throughout the late summer. Luckily, I don't think the deer did too much damage, but I won't know that until I start digging.

I only planted about 7 or 8 sweet potatoes last year and the deer did more damage to those than this year. Even so, I was able to dig up enough last year to get us through the winter and to use to start slips this year. I also had a few 3 pound sweet potatoes last year, and am very hopeful we'll get some beauties this year too.

Check out this giant sweet potato from my garden last year!

Big Sweet Potato

Keep your fingers crossed for me! And stay tuned... I'll be sure to let you know how things turns out!

Oct 29 2013
Posted in: Vegetables

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October 30, 2013

Mmmmm....sweet potatoes. Sweet potato fries!!! Mmmmmmmmmmmm........


October 30, 2013

Hi Myrtle!
I know... YUM! We've got tons of sweet potatoes this year, so I'm going to need to find some more recipes!!

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