Southern Agrarianism and the culture of the Old South

Sweet Potato Update

Our first crop of sweet potatoes was a major disappointment. Although the plants were extremely vigorous, they produced only a few potatoes when it came time to dig them up. In addition, their extensive root system seemed to take over the entire raised bed garden section. Next year’s crop will be grown directly in the ground rather than in the raised bed. The raised bed area is too valuable to use plants that take up so much space – especially for such a miniscule yield.

For those who think that gardening could consist of buying a can of “survival seeds” and just putting them into the ground, this is yet another example of why that’s a really bad idea. Growing food takes experimentation and experience (the redundancy was intentional).

I am confident that there is a good explanation readily available to show me just what I did wrong. I just haven’t found it yet. Sweet potatoes are an important food source crop, so I will continue experimenting until I get it right – or learn that it just isn’t going to be a viable crop for my location.


  1. Sarah S.

    Some interesting info here:

  2. Stephen Clay McGehee

    There is definitely some good information there, Sarah. Thanks for the link!

    Unlike in colder parts of the country, our sweet potatoes survive underground and come up again in the Spring from the roots. The green, of course, dies in the Winter, but the roots live on. My hope is to have one area where they just sort of go wild. We’ll see what happens anyway.

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