Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sweet Potato Experiment

Some of you may remember I was doing an experiment this year by planting sweet potatoes in large planters instead of in the garden. I decided to do this mostly because the sweet potatoes spread on the surface and require quite a bit of space. Space I need to plant other vegetables in. The other reason for trying them in pots was to make it easier to harvest. Upend the pot and pick out the lovely potatoes.

We had our first killing frost on Tuesday so I harvested the rest of the vegetables on Wednesday and Thursday. It was then, that I realized the sweet potato experiment can officially be classified as a failure. The plants grew very well and were very lush on the surface. Under the soil was another story. The potatoes grew in a tight interlocking ball just at the base of the plant. From each plant I was lucky to get 1-2 lbs of edible tubers and I had to carefully loosen one, to loosen another, to remove the key piece, at which point the whole ball released into separate tubers.

So, with the failure of this experiment I am once again reduced to losing half my garden space to plant three sweet potato plants. I would say they are worse than pumpkins but at least the vines on the sweet potatoes are small and the leaves not overly large. Maybe I can plant taller growing vegetables around the vines, hot peppers or something. We'll have to see what next year brings.


PeterC said...

I should have taken pictures, I didn't even think too..... said...

I have never had luck growing anything, other than herbs, in containers. My experience is usually the same - very small fruit. I wonder why? We had some pretty miserable garden experiences this year to. In an effort to save space and labor, we tried straw-bale gardening and had very, very little success. Oh well, you and I learned some things this year!

Dee said...

I've had luck in the past with container planting but they have all been above ground produce. At this point I am almost willing to put in a fourth bed just to have room for the extra plants I always seem to have.