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Planning for Thanksgiving

June 6th, 2013

The day before yesterday, I planted my sweet potatoes. 250 plants went into the ground in three LONG rows in the back garden. I’ll give you a tip that makes for lush sweet potato slips for planting. When your slips arrive in the mail, put them in a jar or tub filled with a water and dash of liquid kelp.
sweet potatoes 1
Your slips will start putting out the smaller feeder roots and will green up nicely after the shock of shipping. Mine looked better than ever when I finally got them in the ground. I usually just put them in plain water, but they have a tendency to get a little slimy.  This is the definitely the best my sweet potato slips have ever looked at planting.
sweet potatoes 2
After planting them I mulched them well with compost. Later this week, I’ll put hoops up over them and some greenhouse plastic. This will give them the warm and toasty conditions they love so much. I would have had them covered already, but I’m out of greenhouse plastic (off to Johnny’s to order some).

Do you grow sweet potatoes?

21 Comments to “Planning for Thanksgiving”
  1. daisy on June 6, 2013 at 5:55 am

    Sweet potatoes are actually one of the only things we can grow here in the summer. I usually just buy organic potatoes from the store and start them in a glass of water to form good roots. Sweet potato pie, here we come!

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  2. Adelina Anderson on June 6, 2013 at 6:20 am

    Yum, sweet potatoes! Thought of planting them year, but I over bought peppers and had no place to put them. There is always next year. Last fall we got some farm grown sweet potatoes from our local CSA. They were so yummy and I had enough to bake and make biscuts with.

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  3. Canned Quilter on June 6, 2013 at 6:57 am

    Last year we had a bumper crop of sweet potatoes and would you believe I still have some in storage! My slips are still in water waiting to go in the ground : ).

    Reply to Canned Quilter's comment

  4. Adriana on June 6, 2013 at 7:05 am

    This is our second year growing sweet potatoes. Last year I put down black plastic to keep the soil warm and that worked really well. We had a great crop! Where do you get your slips? They look beautiful. I got mine from Johnny’s and this year they looked really ( I mean REALLY) bad. I’m considering sending them an email.

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    • Susy on June 6, 2013 at 7:58 am

      Believe me, mine did not look this good when I purchased them. This was what they looked like after spending a week soaking in liquid kelp water. I also made sure they got good sun on the picnic table. I always buy my sweet potato slips from New Hope Seed.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  5. Jennifer Fisk on June 6, 2013 at 7:40 am

    It will be fun to see how you make out. Two years ago, someone from your area came to the Farmers Market in Town Hill with sweet potatoes and they very small and very gnarled. I don’t think the grower went to the extent to keep them hot that you are.

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    • Susy on June 6, 2013 at 7:55 am

      I’ve been reading on MOFGA’s website about growing sweet potatoes in northern Maine, and the article actually said that growing under cover actually had negligible impact on harvest. Perhaps I’ll only put half of mine under cover to see if it increases size/yield.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  6. Amy on June 6, 2013 at 9:09 am

    What is your spacing on your sweet potatoes? They look very close together. Are yours a “vineless” variety? I planted sweet potatoes for the first time this year but spaced mine much further apart. I would have liked to plant more but the space requirement just seemed like too much.

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    • Susy on June 6, 2013 at 9:17 am

      I typically space mine around 8-10 inches apart. They are like regular potatoes, spacing farther apart makes for fewer larger potatoes, spacing close together makes for more smaller potatoes. I tend to like my sweet potatoes on the small side, so I space them a little closer, these are around 10″ I think.

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  7. judym on June 6, 2013 at 10:20 am

    Soaking mine even as we speak! So ready for this – can’t wait to harvest and they haven’t even been planted yet!

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  8. Robin on June 6, 2013 at 10:53 am

    I planted my 50 this morning (also from Johnny’s.

    I order my poly from Farmtek. Their prices are good and they deliver quickly.

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  9. Marcia on June 6, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    I’d love to but I don’t think we get a long and warm enough growing season here in Alberta for them. Can’t grow everything, everywhere I guess.

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  10. Colleen on June 6, 2013 at 12:48 pm

    We have talked about trying some…maybe we will. If you can grow them in Maine we should be able to in the PNW. Do you have a specific liquid kelp that you like to use? Do you keep the hoop house cover on for the entire growing season? Thanks for all your tips.

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  11. Trish on June 6, 2013 at 6:27 pm

    wow, you planted a lot! I have 35 slips in the ground. do you really eat that many sweets? would love to hear some recipe ideas. I find them to cloyingly sweet to eat straight – I put some contrasting heat or something on them.

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    • Susy on June 6, 2013 at 8:03 pm

      We’ll eat a lot of them, but the pigs will get some as well, so will the Chiots. Our favorite way to eat them is fried in coconut oil with garam masala and cayenne. We really like them with hot spices, sometimes I’ll sprinkle them with cinnamon & cayenne.

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      • Trish on June 7, 2013 at 6:18 pm

        how do you prepare them for the Chiots? that sounds like a great idea

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      • Susy on June 8, 2013 at 6:20 am

        Usually she gets them simply steamed or roasted whole. When we eat ours I save the peels and cook them for her too, she loves sweet potato skins!

        to Susy's comment

  12. Jessie - Rabid Little Hippy on June 6, 2013 at 7:26 pm

    I don’t think we get a long enough growing season for them here in Victoria Australia but I intend to try them very early next spring in the greenhouse. I’m also hoping to try ginger, galangal and turmeric, all suited to sub-tropical and tropical rather than cold-climate. They can keep my banana company. ;)

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    • Lemongrass on June 7, 2013 at 3:54 am

      Ginger and turmeric are two of my favorite spices to grow. I always root a piece of ginger to plant here and there in my garden.

      Reply to Lemongrass's comment

    • Trish on June 7, 2013 at 6:23 pm

      Jessie I bet you do- I lived in Australia, and if my memory serves me correctly you should be fine. Maine, where this blog is set, has a very short growing season, so if they can do it you could too.

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  13. Lemongrass on June 7, 2013 at 3:49 am

    Have just prepared a bed for my sweet potatoes. I love sweet potatoes in many different ways. I have been experimenting with a vegan sweep potato bean loaf. Here in the Caribbean everyone has a sweet potato (Batata doce) grow in their vegetable garden.
    Sweet potatoes are usually grown with corn and Congo Peas/Pigeon Peas (Cajanus cajan).Sweet potato pudding(Caribbean style) is one of my favorite way to enjoy my sweet potatoes. Have a great sweet potato growing season.

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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