In 2010 I had a nice sweet potato harvest, but then in 2011 the drought killed them all, and in 2012 I was busy moving.
Now I have just harvested Sweet Potato Class of 2013!
It's not nearly as good as 2010, but hey at least I got sweet potatoes.
I got the slips from Duck Creek Farms this time, and they arrived in excellent condition. I don't think I've ever had mail-order plants look this good before. I only ordered 5 plants of each variety just to test them out.
To be fair to the sweet potatoes, I didn't plant them in the best spot. They were in the back garden, on the very back row, near the trees which probably shaded them a bit. They were also neglected a bit back there. I didn't get much of a harvest, but frankly I'm glad I got anything at all this time.
I probably won't eat many of these if I eat any at all. I'm going to save most of them for growing slips to replant next year. Next time I'm planting them in my new raised beds with lots of nice soil that won't be so hard on either me (to dig them up!) or the sweet potatoes.
This variety had a bushy growth habit, rather than long vines. It has what I think are called "ivy leaves" in sweet potato terminology. The leaves had deep lobes and were very pretty. I didn't get very many roots from them, but the ones I did get were nice looking. The skin ranges from orange to red, and the interior is "normal" orange sweet potato color.
This variety is also listed as Dianne by Duck Creek Farms, but I think Garnet is a more descriptive name, because most of the roots had a nice red color. The inside is also orange. It was basically like a more vigorous version of Carolina Nugget. The leaves were not as deeply lobed, and the vines were much longer. This was actually the most vigorous plant above ground, with lots of vines trailing all over the place, and it ended up flowering with pretty purple morning glory flowers (sweet potatoes being a species of morning glory, after all). When I dug them up, I angered several honeybees that were working on the flowers, but didn't get stung. Too bad they didn't have time to make seeds, since growing true sweet potato seeds would be an interesting project.
Below ground matched above ground. This variety gave me the biggest yield of the biggest roots.
This is a variety from Hawaii, and was the second most vigorous variety, with the second biggest yield. The vines had "normal" leaves, which means they weren't deeply lobed like the orange varieties I grew. They were also very pretty, with a purple tint to the newer leaves.
This variety got the most damage from the frost we had a few days ago, which is what prompted me to go ahead and harvest them before the next frost hits.
The coolest thing about this variety is it's purple through and through. I accidentally broke one potato, and the color inside doesn't look real.
This variety was not particularly triumphant. I got it because some sources say that this is the same variety as White Yam and Southern Queen. White Yam was one of my best varieties from 2010, so I was eager to grow it again.
Now I'm pretty sure this is not the same thing. The vines were always yellow and sickly looking, and by August most of them had died. When I dug up what was left of them today, what you see in the picture is literally all I got.
Next year I'd like to get the "real" White Yam again, which R.H. Shumway still carries. Or maybe I'll get Southern Queen which is carried by Sand Hill Preservation Center, because I've heard good things about that variety too. White Triumph went in the compost pile.
To sum things up, in order from best to worst this year were: Garnet, Molokai Purple, Carolina Nugget, and White Triumph.
I'm not growing White Triumph again and will need to seek out a better white variety. I think the other three all deserve a second chance. I will probably eliminate one of the orange ones eventually, since they seem kind of redundant, but I don't have the heart to eliminate Carolina Nugget just yet.