Last weekend we dug up a bunch of sweet potatoes and transferred them to the cellar, where they’ll be curing for a few weeks under a fan. If they promise to be sweet enough by Thanksgiving, we just might let them out of the basement for the celebration.
Earlier that afternoon I’d been staring at the pretty greenery of the sweet potato terraces I’d constructed back in the summer. Armed with a shovel, I hesitated for a minute, worrying that I might accidentally cut some of the little beauties open at first strike of the ground. I thought a little blessing might help prevent casualties. May this be a bountiful harvest, I whispered before taking a plunge into the ground. It didn’t work; as soon as my shovel hit the ground, I split a beautiful big sweet potato right in two.
Suddenly it occurred to me that using a hoe might be a much saner approach to harvesting sweet potatoes. It was. From that point on I had fun pulling them out of the ground in one piece.
Next year we hope to get an even bigger yield by using drip irrigation from our rain barrels. This year I found the biggest potatoes in the sections of the terraces where the soil stayed moist. Those potatoes that had the misfortune of being in the under-watered areas suffered. When dry, the sandy loam tends to clump up into little blobs, leaving a little shriveled potato in the mix.
We look forward to dining on sweet potatoes this holiday season.