Welcome back to our sweet potato growing saga. If you missed the first part of how to plant your own sweet potatoes in New England, you can find it here. In it we give you step by step instructions, with pictures, on how and why you should be taking advantage of this wonderful New England weather to grow your own sweet potatoes. In this article, we’ll talk about what to do now that your taters are done growing and ready to come out!
In order to tell when your sweet potatoes are ready to harvest, wait until you see the plants start to die back from frost and turn black. At this point, dig the whole plant up by hand to avoid damaging them.
After you’ve dug them up, you must cure your sweet potatoes for 4 to 7 days at 80-86°F and a relative humidity of 85-95% in order to form periderm. This allows for something like an extra layer of skin to form on the potato that will heal all previous physical damages, limit microbial invasion, and prevent water loss.
After you’ve cured your sweet potatoes, you can store them for up to a year at 55-60°F.
Feel free to enjoy your sweet potatoes in any of these following fun recipes or in your own homemade recipe!
And as members of the agriculture community, we do feel obligated to tell you that the sweet potatoes we are teaching you to grow here are certainly not yams. True yams (Dioscorea spp.) can grow to be over 5 feet long, and if you’re growing sweet potatoes that are 5 feet long, you should call us.
That’s all though folks! Good luck in all of your future sweet potato endeavors, and always remember: eat ugly and eat local!