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Sweet Potato Results

 
Ken Peavey
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Posts: 2523
Location: FL
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I started some sweet potatoes from home grown slips back in April, maybe May.
5 plants were grown in a makeshift Hugel bed.
11 plants were grown in beds covered with compost. 4 of these from a bed that had the compost spaded into the soil.
All plants have been equally neglected for the past few months.
Greatest distance between any 2 plants: 75 feet.
Cultivar: Jewel.
All slips came from a few roots from last years crop. That particular crop was pitiful, having grown from volunteers I missed harvesting from the year before.
Having just been hauled out of the ground in the last hour, I have not yet weighed the bounty. They'll cure in the sun for now.

The Hugel Bed
I dug a hole 4 feet wide, 5 feet long, about a foot and a half deep. Branches from a few oak trees beside the drive way were broken to fit into the hole. This went on for a year. Sticks were covered with grass clippings. A couple inches of compost smoothed the surface.
The sticks apparently caused the roots to bend and twist. I suspect they still taste the same.
Total: 5 plants

The Beds
This is a mix of methods.
3 plants in a bed deeply covered in leaves for a year, mulched with 3-4 inches of wood chips shortly after planting.
3 plants in a bed with an inch or two layer of compost spaded into the soil (sand).
4 plants started in a bed smothered in grass clippings then covered with 1-2 inches of compost
1 plant that showed up beside an apple tree. Mulched deeply with leaves and grass clippings.
Total: 11 plants

Winner: HUGEL
Double the count
Larger size

Sweet Potato DDRB.jpg
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Grown in compost, Double Dug Raised Bed, 11 plants
Sweet Potato Hugel.jpg
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Grown in Hugel. 5 plants
 
Adrien Lapointe
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Location: Kingston, Canada (USDA zone 5a)
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We had some issues with voles eating ours in the hugelkultur bed. It is quite possible that we would have had the same issue if they were not grown in the hugel.
 
Ken Peavey
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Location: FL
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My potato problems arise from ants.
The Hugel Bed and the Back To Eden Beds retain moisture remarkably well. The red and white potatoes were mulched deeply with wood chips. The 5 productive sweet potatoes had over a foot of branches under them that had been rotting away for a while. The soil here is sand-it holds no moisture. I don't know how the weeds and grass survive when it's hot.
In search of water the ants bore small holes into the tubers. The plants keep on growing but the tubers can become unsightly. Perhaps as many as 25% of the hugel-grown sweet potatoes were affected. The non-hugel sweet potatoes are not affected by ants to such an extent, but the yield is half. Hugel still wins.

I'll use the marked tubers for growing slips for next spring's crop.

 
Ken Peavey
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Posts: 2523
Location: FL
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Here's a closeup look at the bore holes the ants make.
Bore Holes.jpg
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