Saturday, September 4, 2010

Shame and Gratitude

It happens every year. We plant a garden and decide that THIS year we'll keep all the weeds under control. That goes pretty well until it's time to start canning and freezing the harvest. Bam! I turn around and the weeds have taken over! At least we kept them at bay long enough to get a good harvest.

Here is a picture of me in my embarrassing weed patch:

Today, we dug the sweet potatoes. This was a very good year. I think I put out about 20 plants and got a whole wheel barrow full in return. Probably about 100#.

Which leads me on to tell you about the first year I ever grew sweet potatoes. I had never done it before, and knew next to nothing about them. I called the local greenhouse and asked if they would save me some of their plants. "How many?" the man asked. They had 2 kinds for sale, so I said, "50 of each." Oh, my! I planted them, kept them tilled and hilled and they were glorious to look at. So pretty! And then when I dug them, there were 500# of sweet potatoes! I gave most of them away.

Sweet potatoes, if you live in an amenable climate, are very easy to grow. They don't like to get their feet wet, so I always make a ridge and plant in the top of that, placing the plants ("slips") 18 inches apart. I only had to weed them twice. The vines, when they get going good, shade the ground nicely.

They must be dug before it frosts in the fall. They can just be stored in a box or basket in your kitchen, and will still be there (if you don't eat them all!) when spring comes, so you can start your own plants the next time.

Plant a few in some loose soil around the 1st of May in zone 5 and the slips will be ready to pull off and transplant at the end of May.

It's really too bad my husband doesn't like sweet potatoes. LOL. But I will sneak them into breads and make pies. He'll enjoy that.

OK ~ So guess what this next picture is of. No, it is not a group of dead Manatee babies. It is the cucumbers that got neglected! I had made plenty of pickles and given away lots and eaten lots. I had to move on to other things.



  1. That's awesome about your sweet potatoes - I LOVE sweet potatoes!

    So, why aren't there any weeds on the side of the garden where the cucumbers are laying?

  2. Yahweh has blessed you with abundance. How wonderful. Thank you so much for sharing
    blessings ~ Carmen

  3. You are truly blessed with an abundant harvest this year. Enjoy the fruits of your labors!

  4. The 50 plants of each kind sounds like something I would do. You live and learn.
    Its hard to keep up with weeds so dont be embarrassed.
    Great harvest.
    Oh and I love sweet potatoes, baked with cottage cheese on them.

  5. I planted sweet potatoes for the first time this year. Am still trying to figure out when is the best time to dig them. My vines are still green. It was to wet for our other potatoes so not sure how the sweet potatoes are doing, hopefully we will get some. It seems the weeds always take over during canning season!

  6. I love sweet potatoes as well, but don't grow them. If I grow them, then I will eat them all and I certainly don't need the excess carbs LOL. I do buy a winter's supplies worth at the farmer's market, picking some of the smallest for myself to eat.

    Don't feel bad about the weeds or the giant cukes. My weed, er, I mean garden area needs some attention!

  7. What I would have given for your extra cucumbers! We had a frost after the first 3, yes 3, cucumbers developed. Out of 9 plants. :( Maybe next year will be better.

  8. Oh, Elie! How very sad! Where do you live? Is there any way you can protect your plants from frost? Here I do not plant until close to the time of the average last date of frost, but even then, if it looks like it might get below 40 degrees F. I will put buckets, sheets, newspapers (weighted down with rocks or bricks) or whatever I can find to protect the tender plants. I wish you lived next door. I would have happily shared!

  9. I live in ID. Mid September is the end of my season. I had 1 night at 34 and the next night at 31. I managed to get my tomato plants through with minor damage, but they are packed in together very thick. Our spring was so cold I kept floating row covers on most of my plants until they started blooming...I think I need hoop houses in the garden.

  10. Idaho! I worked there for the Forest Service in the summer of 1969. Beautiful area of the country.

    I'm sure that hoop houses would be a good way to go. Have you looked into it?

  11. I haven't looked into it, but I know how to make a hoop house. I'm going to have to think about how to easily make them movable so that I can still use a tiller.
    What forest did you work in for the forest service?

  12. I did stage 2 timber inventory for the Kaniksu National Forest as a summer job that year. It was a wonderful experience. Our office was in Sandpoint.

  13. That is a really Grand area. I lived in Missoula for 10 yrs (before it was big). The terrain is similar but not quite as Grand. We are in Eastern Idaho now. A little warmer, if that's believable.


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