A friend of mine recently asked when she should harvest her sweet potatoes. It might seem a simple matter in other climates with a distinct fall frost, but here in the Sonoran Desert the growing seasons are sometimes out of sync with the rest of the U.S. It isn’t always obvious when to plant or harvest a given plant.
Sweet potatoes (Ipomoea batatas) are vines that produce large, edible tuberous roots.
I planted ours last spring after we had harvested the winter vegetables. I simply planted some sweet potatoes from the grocery store that had sprouted. Even commercially-grown sweet potatoes are started from sprouts rather than seeds.
A few of the leaves started to yellow over the last week, so we decided it was time to harvest.
Looking for leaves yellowing was a good clue because we had a number of good-sized sweet potatoes just in time for Thanksgiving.
Have you ever grown sweet potatoes? We also found out that wherever the main vines touched the soil, they rooted and produced a tuber. Sometimes after there were several in a string along a vine, the vine would go above ground for a few feet and then touch down a produce a few more tubers. The farther from the main plant, the smaller the tubers.
Very interesting plant!