You are currently viewing Growing Sweet Potatoes
Ginseng Sweet Potato harvest

Growing Sweet Potatoes

As Autumn sets in, it’s time to harvest sweet potatoes. They have spent the last three or four months growing in warm weather, but before frost hits (or as soon as it does) those sweet potatoes have to come out.

We planting a sampler pack of three different varieties in May. It was a first for the Gardenerd Test Garden. The sampler featured two slips each of All Purple, North Carolina White, and Ginseng.

Sweet potato slips

They look pretty sad to start out, but soon they developed new growth.

A planted sweet potato slip

We watered and fed them through the summer. Now it’s time to harvest. In some climates the plants flower, indicating that it’s time to harvest, but here in Southern California, we didn’t see much flowering. That’s not uncommon. The next indicator of readiness is a change in foliage color – green to yellow.

Foliage dying back

We rooted around for a few potatoes, rather than digging up the whole plant. It felt like there was still some room to grow, so we only picked one of each for now.

Ginseng Sweet Potato harvest

If you have frost in your climate, sweet potatoes must be harvested shortly after frost or they could begin to rot underground. Lift the sweet potatoes and leave them outside for a few hours, then bring them into a warm, humid indoor place to cure for a week or so. Then store them away in a root cellar (if you’re lucky enough to have one), or in a cool, dark and dry place until used.

Our first sweet potatoes: Ginseng, All-Purple, and NC White

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. sarah waters

    Hello Lupe Thanks for posting a picture of the ginseng potato do you have any idea where to purchase.

    1. Christy

      Hi Sarah,
      I fixed the link to the Sweet Potato Mix sampler at Southern Exposure Seed Exchange above, so that should work now. They also sell the Ginseng potato separately, if you only want to grow that.

  2. Lupe

    Is the ginseng sweet potato the same thing as a yam? It looks like the kind I buy in grocery store.

    I was told that a yam and a sweet potato is not the same thing and that a true sweet potato was more white in color and rounder, like the NC White shown in the picture above. I wonder if this is what they were referring too? What’s your take on this??

    Thanks, Lupe

    1. Christy

      Hi Lupe,

      That’s a great question. The truth is that everything we buy here in the US is a sweet potato, even if it’s labeled a yam. We don’t get yams here. They are native to Africa, and a true yam has rounded ends and can grow up to 8 feet long. Somewhere in history, the FDA decided that the orange sweet potatoes could be called yams, doing a disservice to all those who want the truth. 🙂 So that said, all three varieties that we grew in our test garden are indeed sweet potatoes. Thanks for the question.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.