Finally harvested my sweet potatoes

  • Well I finally got around to harvesting my sweet potatoes. I feel back to my old self and recovered from my surgery so that is great news! I was supposed to dig these up on August 10th, but didn’t get around to digging them til this past Saturday. I started these sweet potato slips back on May 10th. I had planned on planting 12 plants but when I received 18 plants in the mail, I was thrilled and planted them all. After digging them, I think that was part of my problem..I overplanted for a small area. Most of the potatoes came out skinny, and Kent tells me that it is because they were planted too close. My age-old problem! overplanting! We still plan to eat them, skinny ones and all.

    To dig them up I cut the vines and then just started digging!  I never got rid of my white flies and in one picture you can see how many I had.  I will get rid of all the vines and hopefully the white flies as well. The combined weight was 13.8 pounds. The lesson I learned was plant fewer to possibly yield bigger potatoes. I am sure excited to eat them!

    The next thing I will plant is a spinach crop for the fall and more potatoes.


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    August 18th, 2013 | 48 Comments |

48 Responses and Counting...

  • They look amazing, great job! What a beautiful potato harvest!

  • Pam,
    Thanks for the encouragement! Always learning something!

  • Aren’t you suppose to wait for the vines to die before digging for the sweet potatoes?

  • Ellen,
    I didn’t know that so I probably should have waited. I knew the variety I planted was to mature in 90 days. I had so many white flies I was ready to get in and get rid of the vines and the flies as well. Next time I will wait for the vines to yellow. Thanks for the tip!

  • wowza! Looks beautiful to meeee 🙂 and…omgosh, i’ve gotta get BUSY then!! Like GRAVATAR, I thought you were supposed to wait until the vines got YELLOW before digging them up!! OHH NOOO…i’m going out there…right NOW!! First time gardener here…and HEY…would ya mind sharing what kind of containers those are that you used?? Looks GREAT! We made tall pillowcase type things, out of weed barrier fabric. I’ll find out -SOON ENOUGH!!

  • Donna,
    I am realizing I should have waited until the vines yellowed! Thanks for the tip!
    If you are interested in my plans and how to build a garden, here is the link.
    best wishes to you,

  • well…~what a DISAPOINTMENT. We planted- three. Months ago… two purple & one white, organic sweet potatoes. I just dug up…three. WT?? happened? I cannot -believe it. All those vines!!! I wonder, if using just compost, as I read to do in one site or another, was adequate?? Also, the compost was DRY. We’ve had an inordinately WET summer here in central Fla. this year too. Wht did I do wrong?? Such!! a bummer…hellllp!

  • Your sweet potatoes looks awesome. Last year mine did not get anywhere near as big as yours. I tried again this year but it went in later so I’m gonna wait to dig mine up. Enjoy your harvest.

  • Oune,
    I was thinking mine were small but I am grateful they are at least long. They taste delicious too. We stir-fried them – so so yummy.
    Good luck to you!! Keep me posted on how it goes.

  • Where did you purchase your sweet potato slips? Do you purchase other seeds,etc?

  • Corvetta,
    Hi! I bought my sweet potato slips from this website:
    To see a post about the day I planted them and what they looked like, click on this link:
    I have bought other things online like blackberry plants from and some celery seeds as well but I mainly buy my plants and seeds locally.
    Good luck to you!

  • These look amazing. What state / zone do you garden in? I’ve heard that sweet potatoes like warm weather. I wonder if it’s too late to try some here because it stays pretty warm here until Thanksgiving. Hmmmm Great job! What did you feed them? I’ve grown spuds before, but not sweet potatoes yet. They look so yummy!

  • Betty,
    Hi! I live in zone 9a. I live in a suburb south of Houston. I am not sure about when to plant where you live. I bought my slips from

    Maybe there is some information on his website about planting.
    I water my garden daily and fertilize it weekly. I wanted fatter sweet potatoes but am happy to at least get some. Next year I will not crowd them and plant fewer so they can get big.
    Please stay in touch and best wishes to you!

  • I read your comment about white fly problems. The best treatrment for this is worm castings. It is nontoxic and a great soil booster for growing wonderful plants. I used it to get rid of white fly on my hibiscus. I purchased my olwn worm farm from the internet and I also use the worm “tea” concentrate as a fertilizer. Use worm castings in your soil before you start your next planting. It takes a few weeks to completely get rid of the flies if you are just starting to use it on already infested plants.

  • Beryl,
    Thank you so much for this solution! I have always wanted to have a worm farm but never took the plunge. I just might do it now.
    Thanks for taking the time to comment and help me.
    Wishing you the best,

  • Melanie,
    At the risk of being repetitive…I garden in Tubac, AZ (south of Tucson almost to the border) and we plant our sweet potatoes in Apr/May in buckets also but we don’t dig them until the end of October. We still get some of the skinny little guys but for the most part they are pretty darn good. I’ve never ordered from anyone…I just get a couple of whatever I want to grow at the grocery store. Make sure they are organic so they haven’t been treated not to sprout. They work well and are much cheaper!

  • Debra,
    great idea about getting them at the store and sprouting them. I couldn’t find one this past year but love the idea.
    I wonder if I left mine in a bit longer they would get bigger. I thought I had to be right on the 90-100 days.
    thanks for sharing and thanks for the compliment!

  • I meant to tell you…..yours look great!

  • I plant sweet potatoes in my flower pots in the front yard as part of my landscaping and to fill my arrangements. In the fall, we harvest the poatoes. The vines really make a beautiful arrangement all by themselves too.

  • Karen,
    WOW – yeas I have heard of the vines being a great deocoration to a flower bed, and you get potatoes too!
    thanks for taking the time to leave a comment!

  • What a gorgeous harvest. I have several purple sweet potato vines in my garden. I am waiting a bit longer to dig them up, but it is a huge experiment for us, as we don’t have the right climate for sweet potatoes here. (I am zone 4a.) We do get hot in the summer, though, so I’m hopefully that the weeks of 98º F and 80% humidity helped get me something under all those pretty vines.

  • Shaina,
    I know what the anticipation feels like! I was so anxious to see what was growing and so many times wanted to dig in a corner but resisted!
    Gardening is sure fun! Teaches me patience too!
    thanks for sharing.
    Hoping you get a big harvest!

  • Those small ones, Bake in the oven with brown sugar and butter, then add other fruits and veggies good in the syrup. Apples, Carrots, Squash, Peaches. Yummo! i am a Sweet Potato Freak, and love them chopped up and pureed in my hot cereals.

  • Kamiko,
    ha! My husband loves them too – your idea sounds delicious! Never thought of pureed but makes sense.
    thanks for letting me know!

  • I have been wondering when I should dig mine also.. i planted then in (I think) mid-May, but in the FRONT flower bed!!! NEVER AGAIN!!!!! They have taken the bed, and the sidewalk, and have grown over the landscaping shrubs and up the sides of the house, and are trying to get into the garage, and have just about smothered a mandarine tree and rose bush in the same front bed.. Like you, I ordered a dozen slips and got about 20-something.. They have grown crazy-wild!

  • Leslie,
    Ha! I know what you mean, those vines go crazy! Even after digging them one, and tossing the vines on the ground under my beds they started growoing again and
    I found several baby tubers starting to grow. It made me think I could have left them a bit longer. I talked with someone that said you can cut the vines back that you don’t want and the original ones wont be affected. Good luck to you!
    thanks for sharing on my blog – love connecting to fellow growers!

  • The leaves are quite edible too.

  • Serenity,
    Wow – I didn’t know that! thanks for letting me know.
    happy gardening!

  • Thank you for sharing. Good harvest. I also seem to overplant so good reminder.

  • Kathy,
    My forever problem – over planting! Hoping to break my bad habits soon, ha!
    best wishes,

  • Sue

    From some of the comments, I am getting that some of the plants some of the people are planting are the ones that are just ornamental. You can buy plants that are different colors such as purple with different shape leaves that are just to be planted in the flower bed that do not produce large potatoes. They are grown just for their beautiful folage. From my knowledge they don’t produce much of a potatoe. If you want them for eating be sure you get the right variety and let the vines die before digging, those final days are what make the potato bigger and more flavorful.

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  • I raised my plants from three sweet potatoes I rooted in water. My plants grew from the potatoes so fast that I was transplanting into pet pots every day. When I put them into the soil they grew into large vines. When I dug them they were hugh and I had I was thrilled with the amount they made.

  • The potatoes looked great. Did you know that the leaves, especially the tender ones at the end of the vine, make vitamin rich greens to eat like cooked spinach or turnip greens or collards? Many people in developing countries with not enough food, keep their children healthy by cooking some of the abundant leaves on sweet potatoes. They tell me the red potatoes have more vitamins than the other colored ones. So it could be a double crop…greens and potatoes.

  • Sarah,
    I didn’t know you could eat the greens as well. I am not suprised! Thanks for sharing the info! I love it!

  • I grow sweet potatoes in Zone 6 – Connecticut. I cover the ground with black landscape cloth, make x’s in cloth and plant. The black cloth heats up the soil so the potatoes grow faster. 90 days later I had some football-sized potatoes! I also trimmed the vines when they started to overtake my lawn. Did not bother the final product at all! Grew plenty for the neighbors!

  • Hope,
    WOW! I am so impressed! Thanks for sharing, I didn’t know about covering them up. Love the new info and thanks again for taking the time to share!

  • Wow, this looks like a good way to grow sweet potatoes. How did you know when to dig them up? I made the mistake last year of waiting until the vines died back and by then (i’d planted them in the garden)…the grubs had eaten holes all through them.

  • I think you need twice the depth of soil. Sweet potatoes need a good depth to grow in.

  • Rhodes,
    Thanks for the comment, I might build a deep box on the ground someday.
    Best wishes with your garden,

  • love that you are wearing a diamond ring while digging. . . .

  • Sara,
    ha! I have been married almost 30 years! yahoo! I try to wear gloves and then give up and just get my hands dirty!

  • I realize this blog post is old, but I noticed your comment in the post about the trouble you have had with white flies. I learned about cold pressed NEEM oil a bit ago from some excellent organic crunchy master gardener friends of mine that have been experimenting with this WONDERFUL plant oil!! I had horrible whiote flies eating at my tomatoes and turnips leaves like crazy until I finally took their advice and placed two tsp cold pressed NEEM oil and 2 tsp dr, bronners sal suds sopa to one quart water in spray bottle. shake it up till it is off colored milky then spray top and bottom of leaves and spray the whote flies too. it works slowly but each day it gets better and better. we now spray onece a week and it is amazing the difference it has made!! it does not hamr beneficial insects or pro fungus/bacteria. only harmful ones. found originally in India it is the ONLY green btree not devoured when locusts come through and ravage crops. safe for humans and has been used successfully as medicinal and beauty aid for over 4000 years. I don’t sell the stuff and neither do my friends, we just are in love with what it does!

  • Lorinda,
    Thank you so much for sharing this! I am sure it will help me as well as many others!
    I appreciate you taking the time to type it up!

  • Your sweet potatoes look great! We are in Oregon and planted a few in raised beds on the ground. Harvested yesterday and sadly, only one really big potato and a bunch of skinny root-like things that aren’t big enough to do anything with. I wonder what kind of soil mixture you have in your potato box? I thought we had a good mixture; not too dense and not too loose. We added a little steer manure at planting but that’s all the fertilizer we used. Any ideas about what went wrong here?

  • I really enjoy the forum.Thanks Again. Fantastic. Dilbert

  • Amazing! I grew sweet potatoes many years ago, will try them again this year.

  • Hi Linda (above). I too live in Southern Oregon and have planted sweet potato’s twice. Last year was a better harvest than this year, with about a dozen nice sized potato’s. This year I had more potato’s than last, but many of them were long and skinny (6-10″ and about 1″ in diameter). Not sure why so many were so skinny. There were only about 6 that were bigger around and large. I did plant more starter sprouts, so maybe they were too close together? Anybody with suggestions?

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