2019 Sweet Potato Review

The annual sweet potato harvest is always a much anticipated event here at Happy Acres. They are one of our staple crops for storage, and usually do quite well here for me. In 2018 The 51 plants I planted produced 118 pounds of sweet potatoes for an average of 2.31 pounds per plant. That proved to be way too many sweet potatoes for us to eat, and I wound up giving lots and lots of them away.  So I cut back on how many I planted this year. Today I want to share my review of the ones I grew in 2019.

Centennial sweet potato & 2019 harvest

This year the average yields were better than last year and we should be well supplied for ourselves and have plenty for sharing with friends. The 35 plants I planted in 2019 produced 91 pounds of sweet potatoes for an average of  2.6 pounds per plant. Though it’s less than the total yield from 2018, it’s a lot of sweet potatoes any way you look at it! So I plan to cut back again in 2020 and plant a few less.

Beauregard sweet potato

Beauregard sweet potato

The most productive sweet potato this year is one of my long-time favorites, the orange fleshed Beauregard. It averaged 3.5 pounds per plant, making nice sized roots. Beauregard has a sweet moist flesh, and is the type of sweet potato you are likely to buy in a grocery store here in the U.S. It can make large roots even in areas with shorter growing seasons, and in our area can make huge roots in some years. It is a wonderful sweet potato for all around use in the kitchen, and it’s the one I used to make Rosemary Roasted Sweet Potatoes for our Thanksgiving dinner.

roasted Beauregard sweet potatoes with rosemary

The second most productive variety this year was Bonita, which was the best yielding last year. Bonita has a pinkish tan skin and moist white flesh, and is one of my favorites for baking whole. It yielded 3.3 pounds per plant this year, less than last year’s 3.8 pounds/plant but still a good yield.

baked Bonita sweet potato

Third best is one I haven’t grown in a number of years called Centennial. It always did well for me in my old garden in Kentucky, and it averaged 3.2 pounds per plant this year. I have to say I’m not impressed with the taste though, and I can’t say it’s an improvement over Beauregard. I doubt I will grow it here next year.

Centennial sweet potato

Other sweet potatoes I grew this year include the purple skinned and purple fleshed Purple variety. It averaged 2.4 pounds per plant, not as prolific as in years past but still a good showing. The dry flesh isn’t as sweet as some of the other varieties, which makes it useful for savory dishes like salads, hash and curries.

Purple sweet potato

Rio Zape Bean and Sweet Potato Salad

Rio Zape Bean and Sweet Potato Salad

Two more varieties I grew this year are Murasaki and Korean Purple, which both have reddish purple skin and white flesh. The Murasaki has a sweet, nutty flavor and a somewhat dry texture compared to Beauregard. The flesh of Korean Purple is drier still, and makes a good choice for hash, chips or oven fries where you want the sweet potatoes to get crisp.

Korean Purple sweet potatoes

I’m still working on plans for the garden next year, but I am thinking 25 plants should be enough for our needs. So far Beauregard, Purple, Bonita, Murasaki and Korean Purple are on the grow list, and 5 plants of each should give us enough to keep us well supplied. I had a hard time kepping up with all the garden work this year, so I’m trying to cut back the overall garden by at least 40% next year so I have time for other things.

For more information about growing sweet potatoes try these sources:

Growing Sweet Potatoes in Missouri

Sweet Potato -University of Illinois

The Sweet Potato – Purdue University

Sweet Potato Growing Guide – Southern Exposure Seed Exchange

Grow Sweet Potatoes – Even In The North (Mother Earth News)

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Harvest Monday November 25, 2019

It’s time for Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. This will be a quick post for me as harvests are pretty slim at the moment. However I dug some horseradish roots which provided a small but pungent addition to some of our recent meals. The bed is a couple of years old now, and I am finally getting decent roots. They don’t look like much, and if you haven’t grown horseradish you might not even recognize them. But peel away the outer skin and you have a pure white root that is hot and fragrant when grated. I mix it with a little vinegar after grating and put in the refrigerator where it will keep for several months.

horseradish root

We also got our first taste of the collard kraut last week. I packed whole leaves in a two gallon crock then covered with a 3% brine solution and let it ferment for two weeks. The leaves are not really that tender, so I chopped them up and cooked them much like I would the raw greens. They softened up nicely after cooking, and while I enjoyed the strong flavored kraut, my wife decided they weren’t an improvement over the fresh greens. I will experiment more with them in the weeks to come.

collard kraut

And last night I made bean enchiladas for dinner and used fermented collard leaves instead of tortillas for the wrapper. They had a great flavor, and I think my next experiment will be to use a cabbage roll type stuffing for the collards. I have a half gallon jar of them so I should have plenty to play with.

collard kraut enchiladas

In the sweets department, my wife baked a pumpkin pie for a carry-in dinner and used our neck pumpkin puree for the filling. She plans to make another one for our Thanksgiving dinner, and I am looking forward to it since I only got to look at this one!

pumpkin pie

I’ve decided it makes sense to take a break from the Harvest Monday posts until February. Harvests are few and far between this time of year, and I am enjoying a bit of downtime from gardening, as are many other gardeners in the Northern Hemisphere. I’ll be back with Harvest Monday on February 3rd. I will post about other garden news as it happens though!

Harvest Monday is a day to show off your harvests, how you are saving your harvest, or how you are using your harvest. If you have a harvest you want to share, add your name and blog link to Mr Linky below. And be sure and check out what everyone is harvesting!

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Harvest Monday November 18, 2019

It’s time for Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. It was a light harvest week here. I cut a couple of heads of Point One cabbage Monday before the rain turned to snow. They weren’t the biggest, but still big enough to eat. I cooked one up as a side dish, sauteed with a bit of garlic added.

Point One cabbage

Then an arctic blast of cold air came, bringing ice and snow along with record cold temperatures. The lows got down to 6°F on Tuesday and Wednesday morning, and both the garden and greenhouse were quite thoroughly frozen. Given the forecast I did have the space heater going inside the greenhouse to help out a bit. Everything in there survived the cold just fine.

first snow on the new greenhouse

And the winter greens planted outside are pretty hardy too, and I was able to make a cutting of kale after the thaw came later in the week. This is mostly White Russian with a little Wild Garden Mix in there also.

hardy kale

I took some of the collard green I harvested earlier and used them to make a pot of soup in the slow cooker. The collards were the main ingredient, along with aromatic vegetables and a few waxy potatoes I got from the grocery. This was inspired by Vivian Howard’s Healthy Soup in her book Deep Run Roots. The slow cooked collards turned out incredibly soft and tender. This may be my new favorite thing! This would also work with kale or any other sturdy greens, but at the moment we still have quite a bit of collards and it was a tasty way to use them. I used homemade chicken broth for this batch with a little chicken for protein but I think any broth would work. Lentils or beans would also make a nice addition for a vegetarian version.

collard soup

Harvest Monday is a day to show off your harvests, how you are saving your harvest, or how you are using your harvest. If you have a harvest you want to share, add your name and blog link to Mr Linky below. And be sure and check out what everyone is harvesting!

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Harvest Monday November 11, 2019

It’s time for Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. I’ve been fighting a cold bug all week and not wanting to go outside any more than necessary. Having said that, with a hard freeze and record cold temperatures in the forecast I did what harvesting I thought necessary, and to give us a few fresh veggies to eat. Early in the week I cut a few collards and the last main heads of broccoli. The broccoli was Aspabroc, and while tasty we decided it was the least favorite of the ones I grew this fall which also including Artwork, Apollo and Happy Rich. I will adjust my spring plantings accordingly.

Aspabroc broccoli and collard greens

One variety we are loving is the Burgundy purple sprouting broccoli. I grew this in spring and it did well then too. This came from an August planting in the main garden, but I also have a few plants of it in the greenhouse, along with Rudolph and Santee which hopefully will give us sprouts early next year when not much else is happening.

Burgundy purple sprouting broccoli

spear of Burgundy broccoli

I cut over 8 pounds of collard greens last week, some for fresh eating and the rest for a batch of collard kraut. It took a bit more than 4 pounds of whole leaves to fill the crock, and then I poured in a 3% salt brine to cover. I will let it ferment for 2 to 3 weeks before we taste it. I imagine we will cook this kraut, since I doubt the leaves will be very tender raw. We usually eat our kraut raw, since cooking kills the probiotic bacteria. Cooking won’t hurt the flavor any though.

assortment of collard greens

Ole Timey Blue collards

Flash collards

I saved out some of the Jernigan’s Yellow Cabbage and the Purple collards for fresh eating. The leaves of Purple were the biggest of any I grew this year. The listing on the Seed Savers Exchange where I got the seeds says they can get tough, so we will see how how they are when cooked. Jernigan’s Yellow Cabbage has tender and sweet tasting leaves, and I grew it last year also.

Purple collard greens

It hasn’t been so good for the root crops this fall. I got a few radishes to size up, but no kohlrabi so far. It’s my first time growing Big Time, and this Korean daikon type made several that were worth pulling up. The largest of these weighed right at a pound, and I will use most of them to make radish kimchi (aka kkakdugi). They aren’t the prettiest things to look at, but I am happy to have them!

Big Time daikon radish

In non gardening news, I baked up a batch of Dark Rye Potato Buns last week. I sometimes bake these up into rolls, but last week we needed buns so that’s what I made. The dark color comes from cocoa powder and molasses that’s added to the dough, along with about 35% fresh ground whole grain rye flour. I also baked up a loaf of rye sandwich bread, since meatless reubens were on the menu for lunch yesterday.

Dark Rye Potato Buns

Harvest Monday is a day to show off your harvests, how you are saving your harvest, or how you are using your harvest. If you have a harvest you want to share, add your name and blog link to Mr Linky below. And be sure and check out what everyone is harvesting!

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Harvest Monday November 4, 2019

It’s time for Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. We got our first hard freeze last week, along with a couple of heavy frosts. The frost crystals were beautiful on the fall brassicas. and should make the greens all the sweeter for it. I thought it was particularly pretty on the big collard leaves which were literally covered in frost.

frost on collards

another frosty collard leaf

I harvested a few leaves of Georgia Cabbage collards last week before the frosts, and they were tender and flavorful already. I can hardly wait to taste some of the greens now. The kale is quite hardy but the collards a bit less so, and collards will get priority on harvesting for a bit. The collard kraut is supposed to be better tasting after a frost, so making that will be on my to-do list this week.

Georgia Cabbage collards

Before the freeze I raided the pepper plants and found a few more for drying. I also found a few eggplants while I was at it. I’m amazed the plants produced fruit given our cool weather, but they did and we roasted them up and enjoyed what will surely be the last of the season.

late season peppers and eggplant

Korean peppers for drying

I also managed to get almost two pounds of pole beans from the vines. I cooked most of these, and froze the rest. It’s been a great year for beans, and the freezer is full so we will be enjoying them all winter and spring.

late season pole beans

I finally got a couple of heads of flathead cabbage to size up. I used most of these two to make a jar of sauerkraut. I still have a couple of pointed cabbages sizing up, if the weather doesn’t get them. That should give us a bit for fresh eating.

Tendersweet flathead cabbage

With the freeze forecast, I pulled in all the remaining winter squashes left on the vines. These are all neck pumpkins types that I will roast in the oven and turn into puree. The smaller ones are the Centercut squash we enjoyed so much as a summer squash. We will see how they do when they mature! The larger ones are Turkerneck, and while they were smaller than usual they still weighed between four and five pounds each.

Centercut and Turkeyneck squashes

And finally I cut more broccoli, this time Apollo. The stem broccoli is so sweet when roasted, that is our favorite way to prepare it. The purple sprouting broccoli is now ready to start cutting, so we should be supplied with broccoli for a bit longer.

Apollo broccoli

Harvest Monday is a day to show off your harvests, how you are saving your harvest, or how you are using your harvest. If you have a harvest you want to share, add your name and blog link to Mr Linky below. And be sure and check out what everyone is harvesting!

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