Monday, September 27, 2010

Question from a Reader About Sweet Potatoes

Hello Mr. Starnes,

We read your article in the Feb/Mar 2010 'Florida Gardening" magazine. So, for the first time, we planted organic sweet potatoes in May in our raised bed garden, that is normally empty during the summer. We've had wonderful vines completely covering the garden all summer. We've also had a LOT of rain all summer here in Homestead, Fl.

Well, we dug up our first two BEAUTIFUL sweet potatoes, roasted them in the oven, as usual, but they were very, very dry without much flavor! Did we sample our crop too soon? Some of the vines are just now starting to yellow but most are healthy green.

Scott & Janice

Hi Scott and Janice

I sure hope you tried cooking the young tender leaves as a spinach substitute all summer! Yes if dug up immature, sweet potatoes can be very dry and bland with zero sweetness. Since the early 1980s I've preferred to wait until the vines have died back in late autumn before slowly beginning a months' long harvest. I think they taste best once it is winter and the ground has chilled somewhat. I am glad you gave this classic southern crop a try and hope my answer helps you out.

Keep me posted. John

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