The humble sweet potato. A 100 calorie root that tastes more like candy than a potato. Not to be confused with the Yam, a similar looking, but drier vegetable grown mainly in Africa and Asia, the sweet potato gives you a lot of bang for those 100 calories. They’re high in vitamin A, vitamin B5, B6, thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, and, carotenoids which means they can help fight cancer. But don’t go eating bowls and bowls of sweet potatoes on the off chance you think they’ll cure your cancer. They won’t. Plus eating too many of them will turn your skin and nails orange because of all the Vitamin A, so then you won’t only have cancer, you’ll have cancer and look like you’re wearing a prison jumpsuit.
For the past 6 years I’ve been growing sweet potatoes in a place you really shouldn’t be able to grow sweet potatoes; cold, cold, Canada. And yet. Every single year I’ve successfully grown sweet potatoes. I’ve also successfully grown what appears to be cellulite on my foot which you shouldn’t be able to do either.
But there you have it. A success on both counts.
My 4′ x 4′ sweet potato patch was all the space I needed for planting 9 sweet potato slips.
I don’t need much more sweet potatoes than this patch will produce, plus I didn’t want to waste too much space in my garden on sweet potatoes since last year my harvest was mostly enjoyed by mice and voles. Who neither made reservations nor left me a tip.
This year I tried some vole protection. I covered my entire sweet potato bed with hardware cloth screwed into the raised beds so tight that not a single vole could squish through it at any point. Or so I hoped.
On October 3rd I trudged up to the garden while the paint in my dining room was drying and took the hardware cloth off and got my very first look at whether or not this experiment worked.
That plastic is thermal plastic (in case you missed it in the video) which helps keep the temperature of the soil raised by 10 degrees. That’s the trick to growing big sweet potatoes in Canada.
If you aren’t sure what to do with sweet potatoes, my favourite way to eat them is either baked, just like a regular potato or made into sweet potato fries using my Guaranteed Crispy Sweet Potato Fry technique.
By the way, shitload is a technical term you understand.