Almost 1000 pounds! That’s how much sweet potatoes were harvested on Oct. 3rd at the Goodman Youth Grow Local Farm in Madison. Master Gardener Volunteers and youth farm interns worked with 100 elementary students from Kennedy & Van Hise Elementary Schools to harvest the sweet potatoes that were delivered to local food pantries.
Most of our Beauregard sweet potato plants have reached the 100-day mark in their growing season so it’s time to consider harvesting procedures:
- Due to the shorter growing season in our region, allow the plants to mature as long as possible before harvest.
- Harvest should occur shortly before or directly after the first frost kills the vines. Roots continue to grow until vine die-off and are only susceptible when soil temperatures drop below 50 degrees; use a soil or meat thermometer to check.
- After vine die-off, immediately remove the top growth to prevent decay from spreading the roots.
- Dig about 1-2 feet from the base of the plant with a spade/pitch fork or shovel to uncover the your delicious, nutritious treasure.
- Take care not to damage the roots as sweet potatoes lack the thick, protective layer like standard potato tubers. Sweet potatoes need to undergo the curing process to develop a thicker skin.
- Resist temptation to clean the sweet potatoes before drying & curing as they may be damaged and become infected.
Watch for an updates soon about curing and donating ½ of your harvest!