Giant Sweet Potato Harvest!
RTCO’s resident gardener Alec Sutliff has stumbled upon a method for growing giant sweet potatoes! This is our harvest from RTCO’s garden – dug up yesterday.
Sweet Potatoes are heat lovers, and this summer we had a hot one! Alec says loose soil, heat, and regular watering must be the key to growing these giant roots. Near the beginning of Summer, Alec put loose bagged soil into a raised bed. He started the sweet potato slips in his own basement. He planted the slips in the raised bed, watered them about every three days all summer, and yesterday he pulled these monsters out of the ground. Below is a picture of the raised bed they were dug out of. As you can see, the box is raised higher than the rest of the bed – the bed is 6 inches from the ground, the sweet potato box is 18 inches from the ground. Alec’s speculation on the unusual size of the potatoes is the extra foot of height allowed the soil to temperature in the box to raise and retain extra heat throughout the summer. Loose hot soil results in large potatoes!
The sweet potatoes we see in the grocery store are usually grown in southern climates that have very hot growing seasons and sandy soils – such as North Carolina and Mississippi. Many people mistake sweet potatoes for yams, but they are actually not in the same family as yams. They are not even in the same family as potatoes. Sweet potato plants are in the same family as morning glories (their flowers look like morning glory flowers). They are grown all over the world, and they clearly do fine in Ohio’s hot summers.