"Self-sufficiency does not mean 'going back' to the acceptance of a lower standard of living. On the contrary, it is the striving for a higher standard of living, for food that is organically grown and good, for the good life in pleasant surroundings... and for the satisfaction that comes from doing difficult and intricate jobs well and successfully." John Seymour ~ Self Sufficiency 2003

Saturday, 26 August 2017

Sweet potato prep paid off

Prepping the sweet potato beds started in March 2016.
March 2016: Two long trenches were dug - a spade  deep
A trench was dug roughly a spade deep.
Those trenches were filled with alpaca poo, wood chips and soil 
It was filled in with alpaca poo, wood chips and soil...
Mounded trenches full of magic were left to themselves for a few
 months before the sweet potato runners were finally planted
...so much so that the trenches formed mounds when they were finished.  These "mounds" were left to do their thing from March to September when the runners were planted.

After carefully inserting the sweet potato runners, the porous pipe (leaky hose) was placed on top, and, with a good covering of mulch, I walked away.

They remained in their beds throughout this last winter - with me harvesting some here and there...  The leaves were killed off by the frost, but I knew the potatoes were safe below the ground - our frost is fleeting - it soon disappears once the sun is up, plus we only had 5 - 6 days of frost in total.
The photo doesn't show the size of these beauties
 Today I went to harvest some more for our dinner and thought I would share it with you.
To give you some idea of size, I pooped one on my scale
 The bed is full of giant sweet potatoes.  Placing this whopper on the scale it shows that it is...
A 1.57 kg sweet potato.  There's nothing wrong with that πŸ˜‰
...1.57 kgs (almost 3½ lbs).  I'm well pleased with that result.

Alpaca poo and wood mulch - a sure fire winner 😁  I'm over the moon at the result - and at the apparent harvest ahead.  

Why apparent harvest - well, because of our climate I leave roots / tubers in the ground until they are required.  Why dig it all up and then have to try and find a spot to store it?  Field mice climb (yes, we still have those rodents - even with Squeak in the vicinity) and they have nibbled my stored veggies before.  Underground, those sweet potatoes are safe from those nibbles.  If more sweet potatoes grow from those remnants in the ground after everything has been harvested, well, I'll just let them grow.  March 2018 will see me prepare another bed to transplant them into, and then this sweet potato bed can rest for a year or so.

Yum, yum.  Orange fleshed "Jewel" sweet potatoes are our favourite πŸ˜ƒ

14 comments:

Leigh said...

I love seeing a good sweet potato harvest! Well done Dani. The prep is always worth it, isn't it?

Dani said...

Leigh - Sweet potatoes are the simplest potatoes to grow, no mounding up soil or straw as they grow, just plant the slips in the ground and let them do their own thing ;) All they need is water :D

Jj said...

Can just can you share what kind of solar cookstoves and ovens you use? The names brands where you purchased them etc.? We are interested in getting stoves for Sierra Leone schools and homes. Did you have to import?

Tania said...

Wow look at those sweet potatoes! Maybe I should try this method for growing. I have been experimenting with different types of beds to see what works best. Wont know the results until we get the heat in summer!

xTania

Dani said...

Jj - Welcome andf thank you for taking the time to leave a comment.

I imported Sun Cook solar ovens - they are based in Portugal. Their web site is: http://www.sunok.eu/home/products/sun-cook They have a whole range of products including solar oven, parabolic cookers, etc.

Dani said...

Tania - I have the same problem with heat. The wood mulch is a winner as not only does it protect the soil from the heat, but, as it breaks down through contact with the damp soil, it's providing a home for beneficial microbes, etc

Rosemary Gough said...

You have no idea how excited I am to find your blog. We moved to a farm in May this year with the same plans and ideas. I am using your blog as my farm bible. We are on the R318 between Touwsriver and De Doorns... More Karoo landscape. We have no Eskom here, not even an option for us. But have our solar and generator. Water is all boerhle water. I am loving it. Saying goodbye to the city is heaven. Would love to see your place in person sometime too. Thank you for this wonderful diary of farm life.

Dani said...

Oh my word Rosemary - I (naturally) clicked on your Blogger name, and what pic do I see as your blog hearder - Hout Bay. Which is EXACTLY where we moved from :D

Rosemary, thank you for your kind words. However, I am a tad worried that you're using our journey as your bible. We have made so many mistakes along the road...

Where you are isn't that far from Montagu - which is roughly an hour from us. So, who knows, perhaps one day we can meet...? ;)

Dani said...

P.S. Your blog has no info on your move / transition from city to farm life...?

Sol said...

Dani I am going to study this post as I am going to have sweet pots at the next house. its a must. need alpaca poo...

Daisy Debs said...

Well done you ! Yummy ! We love Sweet potatoes ....my favourite cooked in their jackets with melted butter and grated hot gooey melting cheese on top ...mmmmmmm .Great veg gardening skills !

Dani said...

Sol - See if anyone in Cornwall has alpaca's. I'm sure they'd be more than happy to give / sell you some alpaca poo ;) Please don't forget to let it "mature" underground for a few months before planting your potatoes / runners.

Dani said...

Daisy Debs - I've never tried it with cheese, but agree, in their jackets with melting butter... :D

Jj said...

Thank you so much. I've enjoyed reading your blogs! Keep up the good work :)