Harvesting Sweet Potatoes

Last year I had a very small crop of sweet potatoes. When Thanksgiving and Christmas rolled around, I was very grateful for these potatoes. I could not find one decent sweet potato, in any store, to make sweet potato casseroles for these holidays.

I planted sweet potatoes again this year to ensure I would have some for my casseroles. As my dad says, “You never know what you have from the garden, until it is harvested and brought inside.”

The plant tops had been burned by the recent frost and the bed looked like a sorry, weedy, blackened mess. Looking at this sight, made it hard to imagine there was anything good to be harvested.

Frost bitten sweet potato bed. The vines had run out of the bed into the paths.

Frost bitten sweet potato bed. The vines had run out of the bed into the paths.

The first sweet potato I pulled out did not give me much hope for more.

1st sweet potato

1st sweet potato

Then I went to the other end of the bed and pulled out a huge sweet potato that weighed in at 2 pounds and 3 ounces.

This 2nd sweet potato weight 2lb &3 oz.

The 2nd sweet potato weighed 2 lb & 3 oz.

I dug out more. Some had been eaten by pests.

Sweet potatoes destroyed by pests.

Sweet potatoes destroyed by pests.

But… there were plenty of good ones. I had some giant-sized ones, some very mis-shapened ones, and some normal sized ones. I got enough to handle my needs for the winter.

Sweet potato harvest.

Sweet potato harvest.

Once they were cleaned, I allowed them to dry on towels, then stored them in two brown paper sacks to keep them dry.

Sweet potatoes washed and drying on towels.

Sweet potatoes washed and drying on towels.

So here are my results for growing sweet potatoes this year. Not all crops are as successful, but the ever-present optimism in gardeners, make us go out each season to implement new techniques, until we get successful crops.

If you are struggling with a crop, don’t give up. There is always next year.

On Monday nights I go to “Bible College” at Liberty Baptist Church. It is a three hour class, and presently during that time we are studying the Old Testament Laws, Jesus Life, and the Book of Acts. I have met some really sweet people at class and one lady in particular. We have bonded over gardening. Like me, she loves old fashioned meals like greens and corn bread. I took her some greens from my garden this week and also the 2 pound 3 ounce sweet potato. It was my “first fruit” and I decided to give it away. By itself, it was big enough for the sweet potato pie that she was going to make with it.

“Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest:” Leviticus 23:10

I found out Monday, after I gave her the sweet potato, that her husband is a preacher. 🙂


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