Sunday, October 10, 2010

Sweet potatoes

We have been planning this sweet potato harvest for two years. We put our first round of pigs on this little plot contained by pallets. In June of 2008 I built this from recycled pallets:

Thanks Ron.. The soil there was rocky clay and could support only the worst of weeds. Originally it was to be a calf pen but it quickly became our hog pen. Instead of shoveling most of the field cow patties into compost bins I simply threw it into their pen. They thrived in the fodder churning and rooting through it making a rich hot thick layer of almost soil.

Then we left it to rest for an entire summer. All the while knowing this is where sweet potatoes will grow next season.

This past spring after struggling with sweet potato slips and their apparent decision not to grow, we finally planted a bunch of different variety slips into the their long awaited place.

We are in the home stretch and waiting for the first killing frost. There are many views on the topic but we plan to dig them that following day. We are extremely hopeful since the vines have completely consumed the old pigpen. Also we had a failure in our butternut squash patch this year.

Sweet potatoes don't directly replace winter squash but we will happily have them in their stead this year. Every year is different on what fails, what is marginal and what succeeds. Mono culture would be our ruin this winter if we didn't plant with diversity in mind. Besides planting a bunch of different stuff is fun.

I will post about the harvest the day following the first killing frost.
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