5 Secrets Of Cleaning And Storing Sweet Potatoes From The Founders Of The "Sweet Potato Farm". Photo

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5 Secrets Of Cleaning And Storing Sweet Potatoes From The Founders Of The "Sweet Potato Farm". Photo
5 Secrets Of Cleaning And Storing Sweet Potatoes From The Founders Of The "Sweet Potato Farm". Photo
Video: 5 Secrets Of Cleaning And Storing Sweet Potatoes From The Founders Of The "Sweet Potato Farm". Photo
Video: Growing Kumara in NZ 2023, February

The exotic root vegetable sweet potato is a rather rare culture, therefore, it raises many questions even for experienced gardeners. As the popularity of this vegetable grows from year to year, more and more summer residents are planting an unusual crop in their beds and are looking forward to the harvest. But many would like to know when the cherished time comes, allowing you to start harvesting the long-awaited root crops? And most importantly - how to keep sweet potatoes in winter? My husband and I have been successfully growing "sweet potatoes" in a temperate climate (Voronezh region) for five years now, having founded the "Sweet potato farm". Therefore, the recommendations below are based solely on our personal practical experience.

5 secrets of cleaning and storing sweet potatoes
5 secrets of cleaning and storing sweet potatoes

1. How to determine the time when sweet potatoes are ready for harvesting?

Since "sweet potatoes" is a very thermophilic crop, determining the optimal timing for digging tubers is an important task, the correct solution of which will help not to lose a significant part of the crop. In fact, the interval during which you need to start digging the sweet potato is quite short. And yet, in order for the harvest to proceed in the best possible way, several important factors must be taken into account.

First of all, we draw your attention to the fact that sweet potato is a crop with a long growing season (90-180 days from the moment the cuttings are planted in the ground), so the later we start digging root crops, the richer the harvest can be expected (of course, provided that the correct care).

Due to the long growing season, harvesting "sweet potatoes" usually begins not with the onset of full biological maturity of root crops, but at a time when it is already dangerous to leave a thermophilic sweet potato in the beds. Depending on the region, the dates for digging the sweet potatoes may shift.

As for central Russia, the harvesting of sweet potato roots usually falls in mid-late September, and under the most favorable conditions, it can be carried out in early October. The last word here always remains with the weather. For the digging to be successful, two decisive factors must be taken into account - air temperature and precipitation.

Despite the onset of the calendar autumn and the reduction of warm days, it is still impossible to rush to harvest the harvest, because it is in the autumn that the most intense mass gain of root tubers occurs, and the sweet potatoes are getting heavier literally every day. But as soon as the air temperature drops to +10 degrees during the day, the metabolism of plants stops and the further stay of root crops in the garden becomes meaningless.

In general, if the weather forecasts are optimistic and the next heat wave is expected in the near future, then you should not grab a shovel. When weather forecasters do not promise "Indian summer" or even threaten the first serious frost, you should not postpone harvesting. Delicate sweet potato tops cannot withstand even the lightest frost. After the death of the aboveground part of the plants, the tubers lose additional protection in the form of dense foliage and it is better not to leave them in cold soil for more than two days.

Another important component of harvesting is soil moisture. Young sweet potato roots are quite brittle and difficult to remove from wet, heavy soil without causing damage. Therefore, if a rainy period is expected in the near future, then it is better to hurry up with the harvest. For the same reasons, in dry autumn, it is necessary to stop watering the sweet potato beds about two weeks before the start of the proposed digging.

Young root tubers of "sweet potato" are quite brittle and difficult to extract from raw heavy soil
Young root tubers of "sweet potato" are quite brittle and difficult to extract from raw heavy soil

2. A shovel or a pitchfork - what is the best way to dig up a sweet potato?

Often, harvesting sweet potatoes resembles archaeological work. Depending on the variety and growing conditions, "sweet potatoes" have different depths and types of tubers. In some cultivars, the root system can be located compactly and the crop can be found directly under the bush ("Afghani", "Beauregard", "Manchurian"), while others strive to scatter tubers as far as possible from the planting site ("Muscat", "Garnet", "Ginseng").

Sometimes, in order to find such "losses", you literally have to dig a whole trench. So for harvesting sweet potatoes it will not be superfluous to purchase a sturdy shovel with an elongated bayonet. To avoid the danger of accidentally chopping the tuber, you can also dig up the "sweet potato" with a pitchfork. They also make the process physically easier. True, it is not very convenient to dig deep holes with a pitchfork. Therefore, the choice here is yours.

Before you start harvesting the sweet potato, it is recommended that you first clear the garden from the tops by cutting off the long vines of the plants with a pruner. In this case, it is better not to cut the whips completely, but to leave small stumps above the ground, indicating the location of the bush.

3. How to prepare sweet potatoes for storage?

After the root tubers are removed from the soil, it will not be superfluous to rinse them well under running water, since during storage the skin of the "sweet potato" coarsens, and it will be more difficult to wash the stubborn dirt later. In addition, unlike ordinary potatoes, sweet potatoes are often eaten with their peels.

In order for the sweet potato root tubers to lie without any problems until spring, one more important procedure must be carried out before storing it, which is usually called "treatment" or "bath" among sweet potato growers. The first name of the procedure is due to the fact that it is mainly aimed at "healing", i.e. overgrow all existing damage on the surface of the root crops, as well as the junction of the tubers with the stem.

But such an event is called a "bath" because the healing of wounds and the growth of a new denser rind in sweet potatoes occurs under the influence of higher temperatures and high humidity. To organize a "sweet potato bath", boxes with crops are placed in a room with a constant temperature of + 30 … + 35 ° C and a humidity of 80%. Moreover, it is not necessary to purchase special humidifiers for this purpose, it will be enough just to cover the root tubers spread out with a thin layer with a dense damp cloth and regularly moisten it as it dries.

At home, the "treatment" of sweet potatoes can be realized simply by placing containers with sweet potatoes covered with a damp cloth close to the battery. It is usually sufficient to carry out such a "bath" for 5-7 days. The main indicator that the procedure was successful is the formation of a denser peel and the formation of a crust on the abrasions. It is also believed that the "treatment" makes the sweet potato taste more pronounced.

After the root tubers are removed from the soil, it will not be superfluous to rinse them well under running water
After the root tubers are removed from the soil, it will not be superfluous to rinse them well under running water

4. How to store sweet potatoes in winter?

To understand how to properly preserve sweet potatoes in winter, you need to remember again about the southern origin of plants, and in no case try to send root crops to the cellar, like ordinary potatoes. In a typical cellar, sweet potatoes become slimy and moldy very quickly. But the usual city apartment will be quite to the liking of "sweet potatoes".

It is better to choose the coolest corners of the premises for these purposes, since the optimal storage temperature for sweet potatoes is from +15 to +20 degrees. At higher temperatures, some varieties can begin to germinate over time. However, this usually happens closer to spring and is not as intense as in potatoes.

Take your time to give up on sweet potatoes if you are not impressed with the taste of freshly dug tubers. The fact is that over time, the starch, which is rich in root tubers of sweet varieties, gradually turns into sugar. In order for the crop to acquire a richer taste, it is recommended to eat "sweet potatoes" after waiting at least a month after digging. And the richest taste palette of exotic vegetables becomes in the New Year area.

5. Important features of growing and eating sweet potatoes

The small, thin tubers of "sweet potatoes" are best eaten first, since they dry out and deteriorate very quickly during storage.

If you come across green tubers, then you do not need to cut off such areas at all. After all, sweet potatoes are not potatoes, and its root tubers, which have turned green under the influence of the sun, are quite suitable for food and do not contain any harmful substances.

You can get a very good increase in the yield if you initially plant the sweet potatoes under a film. In this case, the soil warms up faster, which is very important for the southern root crop. In warmer regions, the film can lead to excessive overheating of the soil, and it is better to use a non-woven material for mulching it.

In order not to lose "sweet potatoes" in the harvest, you need to keep in mind that the sweet potato is a creeping vine that takes root in the places where the shoots touch the ground, so it is important to periodically tear the vines from the soil surface. If you have not used this technique, then you should not waste time looking for a crop in places of newly rooted stems, because such roots do not tie high-quality tubers.

So that the tubers do not run too far and do not go to a depth, it is recommended to plant sweet potatoes in bulk ridges. Such a technique not only makes harvesting easier, but also doubles the overall yield. Moreover, a ridge covered with a dark film is almost the only way to get a decent harvest of sweet potatoes in latitudes north of Voronezh, Gomel and Saratov.

In more southern regions, it makes little sense to leave sweet potatoes in the beds longer than the average growing season of a particular variety, since in large-fruited varieties (Manchurian, Tainung, Red Ginseng) this can lead to tubers cracking. Cultivars with medium-sized root tubers ("Purple," Bayu Bell "," Belvue ") may remain unharvested longer.

When the sweet potato tubers "run away" far from the garden or are buried too deep in the soil, this often indicates that the plants lacked watering or nutrients.

Crooked root tubers are usually obtained in too dense soil. It is also believed that the pre-cultivation of sweet potato seedlings in cups leads to the curvature of the tuber.

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