Brief Report on 2010 Sweet Potato Harvest

Okiedawn OK Zone 7January 23, 2011

Last year I trialed 20 heirloom sweet potato varieties, courtesy of Gary at Duck Creek Farms.

I can't find my list from last year either online or on paper, so this is what I remember or what I found in some brief notes jotted onto note cards at the time of harvest.

If I grew a variety that isn't listed here, it either didn't produce tubers, died (only 1 or 2 varieties did, but I don't remember now what they were) or we ate them before I jotted down the few notes I managed to capture on paper.

I'd like to add that all the plants that survived grew beautifully and had foliage running all over the place on top of the mulch. I had black fabric mulchcloth underneath the hay mulch, and they didn't root into the ground, which can adversely affect your harvest.

Production of some may have been impacted by the 9" of rain that fell over the course of a couple of days in September. In fact, I'd be surprised if all that rain in such a short period didn't affect them in some way. That heavy rainfall set off another course of rapid foliar growth at about the same time the sweet potatoes normally would be sizing up, but I don't know if that had any effect on the size or number of tubers per plant since I hadn't grown these varieties before and couldn't compare their 2010 performance to a prior year's performance.

So, from the scribbled notes on notecards sitting on top of the sweet potato storage bin, here's how they did:

Bugs Bunny--This variety produced nice, medium-sized yields of beautiful, elongated very orange roots. It is a favorite of mine. I grew it in a large container with a bagged potting mix and sometimes a rich mix gives you longer, more elongated roots than regular soil will, so I don't know if the roots would be less elongated if grown in the ground. but they also had width and all were of a usable size. Great texture, flavor and color. I even snacked on some of them raw after hosing off the dirt right there in the garden on the day I dug them up.

Carolina Gold--I'm hazy on the name of this one so it may be incorrect because I lost the masking tape label on the side of the plastic bin they were in. It produced in a container of potting soil right beside Bugs Bunny and was a nice, prolific yielder of elongated tubers too. This was the cats' favorite sweet potato. While they were curing, the cats wouldn't leave them alone. I have no idea why.

Southern Delight--produced huge yields of white-fleshed sweet potatoes, some very rounded and some more elongated

Heartogold--produced large yields, some were large and oblong and the others were medium-sized and oblong

Cherokee--huge producer. In fact, probably the best producer of all of them.

Creole--moderate producer of elongated roots

Centennial--huge producer

Regal--another huge producer here with variable sizes, some oblong and some much more rounded

Baker--moderate producer of sweet potatoes that have a tan skin. Their appearance reminds me a lot of Irish potatoes.

Hopi--moderate producer of long, somewhat narrow roots.

Resisto--good producer, oblong SPs, had tons and tons of foliage that ran all over, especially once it grew through the garden fence and into a flower bed, where it did root down into the ground a little.

Hayes--long stringy roots that were about pencil-sized in thickness. I don't know if it would have sized up better if it had more time to grow. I didn't harvest until Oct. or Nov. because we were busy with fire dept. fundraisers and other fire dept. activity, including an unexpectedly high number of grass fires considering the high rainfall, for a while during that time frame.

Sumo--light producer, skinny roots that didn't size up very much'

Vardaman USDA--very good producer

Hawaii--heavy producer of very oblong roots about the width of a typical fingerling type Irish potato. This one was at the end of the bed that got a bit more shade than I liked and that may have affected the yields.

Hernandez--very heavy producer

We are still working our way through eating them, and I am pulling some out of the bins to start rooting in a few weeks.

In general, meal times are so hectic that I forget to jot down descriptive notes about the flavor and texture, but I have to say that there hasn't been a single one with poor flavor or texture.

As we continue eating them this winter, I'll try to remember to mention what ones we cooked and how they tasted.

Overall, it was a wonderful sweet potato harvest and if anyone is interested in growing heirloom sweet potatoes, I highly recommend you consider purchasing your slips from Duck Creek Farms. Remember that it is very important to support our local Oklahoma growers, particularly if you want to grow heirlooms. If we don't buy the heirlooms our local growers are saving and growing, they won't be able to keep offering them due to lack of demand.

As with heirloom tomatoes, heirloom sweet potatoes offer a nice variety of different flavors, colors and textures. The best way to figure out which ones will perform best for you and best please your taste buds is just to plant several kinds and compare them. Taste is such a subjective thing that I hate to comment on it too much because we all have different taste buds that perceive flavor in their own way.


Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'm glad you posted this, Dawn. Sweet potatoes are one of the things I'm growing this year and I want to do heirlooms. If I'm correct, I can grow more than one variety in the same bed and they'll only hybridize the seed. Right?

    Bookmark   January 23, 2011 at 11:43AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Okiedawn OK Zone 7


You don't raise sweet potatoes from seed. You raise them from slips, which are stem-type sprouts that come from stored sweet potatoes. You break the slips off the sweet potatoes and plant them directly into the ground.

Thus, I would assume that cross-pollination is not an issue with them unless you were crossing some varieties on purpose and raising the next generation from seed to get the variety you'd deliberately created. Some sweet potatoes bloom some years and others don't. It probably is related to the weather or maybe it is specific to certain varieties, but some never bloom, or at least not when I grow them.


    Bookmark   January 23, 2011 at 1:06PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Ok that's what I thought.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2011 at 2:02PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thank you for the report. it's very interesting and very similar to our results. Sumor was one of our best producers, but it is a bland type so probably not to everyone liking.

Here is a list of the varieties you had

Hayman White
Rojo Bianco
Southern Delight
Sweet Red
Vardaman (which I don't think was true to type)

I would like to mention that some other varieties that I was very impressed with this year are:

"8633" I sent this to Glen Drowns and he reported the same as we had with early and above average production. More of a compact grower and would also be suited for smaller gardens/containers.

"Mahan/Bradshaw" is such a great sweet-moist variety. Also great in containers

"Hernandez" was one of out best producers. I think one reason this is not more widely available is that it tends to be a very shy slip producer

Of course there are way to many great tasting/producing varieties to list at the moment.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2011 at 3:14PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Okiedawn OK Zone 7


I meant to get the Sweet Potato report up long ago, but finally had time to do it today since I was home alone at the time and nobody was here to interrupt me. Iguess it worked out ok, because this is the time of year everyone is doing their garden planning anyway.

Thanks for posting the list. The one that was growing next to Bugs Bunny was Carogold. As soon as I saw the list, I recognized the name.

I know the USDA Vardaman didn't seem true to type, so in my head, ever since digging them, I've been calling them "Gary's Faux" sort of like the "Earl's Faux" tomato. See there, now you have your own Faux!

Isn't Mahan the one that someone's tring to patent? I just don't understand how that can happen.

And, for all the rest of you.....

If you are interested in seeing what marvelous and wonderful sweet potato varieties will be available from Duck Creek Farms this spring, click on the link below. I was sneaking a peek at the list a few minutes ago, and some of the more interesting ones are in short supply, so if you want some of those, I'd suggest you order early. Gary's also got his tomato plant and herb plant list up on the website too, and a list of all the sale dates and locations.

If I didn't live at the "wrong" end of Oklahoma, I'd probably visit Gary's sale location every weekend just to buy "one or two more tomato plants". He'd probably get worried I was starting to stalk him, so maybe it is just as well I'm at the other end of the state. I hope all of you in the Tulsa area realize how lucky you are to have such great access to heirloom varieties. If, like me, you're geographically challenged, you should know that Duck Creek Farms does ship sweet potato slips so you don't have to miss out on growing them.


Here is a link that might be useful: Duck Creek Farms' Website

    Bookmark   January 23, 2011 at 3:40PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

RE: Mahan

Dr. Bradshaw from the University of NC received it from a man as an unknown heirloom about 15+ years ago and has been distributing it ever since. Dr Bradshaw named it MAHON for the person he got it from. In 2008 Mr. Mahon registered a patent for it and received it in 2010 claiming it a "NEW" and distinctive variety, which we all know is not correct. Anyway please Notice I have spelled the one I have Mahan/Bradshaw so as to not cause confusion with the patented clone.

Now to put more kinks in the chain. I received an unknown variety from an older man not more than 25 miles from me that he has grown for over 30 years. It appears to be identical to Mahan. For now I am just calling it "Oklahoma Heirloom". I sent some to the Kerr Center Trial last year and it was one of their top producers.

Mahan & Oklahoma Heirloom is/are extremely good variety(ies). Very sweet, moist flesh and long storage (up to one full year).

    Bookmark   January 23, 2011 at 5:22PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Speaking of sweet potatoes, if you have an oil mister, a baking sheet and various spices at your disposal, you could have your own baked sweet potato chip/football playoff party tonight. OMG D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S!

    Bookmark   January 23, 2011 at 7:50PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Okiedawn OK Zone 7


OK, now I know why the Mahan/Mahon thing sounds familiar. Last year I saw it on the website of Heavenly Seeds. Is that the same one? This year they say they have renamed it Bradshaw's Sweet Potato. What's up with all the renaming? Are they trying to confuse everyone? I don't get it.

Lynn, They are delicious, but I'm not making any tonight. I'm stuck in the middle between a Jets fan and a Steelers fan, so I'm between a rock and a hard place. At this point, one of them needs a stiff drink! There's no way they're both going to be happy with the outcome of this game. I'll be happy. I made life simple by rooting for both teams and claiming impartiality.


    Bookmark   January 23, 2011 at 9:47PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

oh i am so glad to see this thread.sweet potatoes are better for diabetics and we love them......i am going to have to try some since so many on the forum have had them do well.i like trying those things where the odds seem to be in my favor.........


    Bookmark   January 23, 2011 at 10:39PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Exactly what is the process of using sprouts from stored sweet potatoes and planting them the following year. I have several potatoes from this previous year's harvest that have started to sprout. Do I let the sprouts grow on the potatoes until planting time and then just break them off and plant?


    Bookmark   January 24, 2011 at 10:53AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


I've linked an older post discussing sweet potatoes. Scroll down a little to find a very thorough post by macmex followed by pictures of how he sprouts his SP's.

Here is a link that might be useful: Sweet Potatoes

    Bookmark   January 24, 2011 at 12:20PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thank you

    Bookmark   January 24, 2011 at 12:47PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
jdlaugh(Zone 6)

I planted six slips of Cordners Red I purchased from Gary and had a very nice harvest in Tulsa. I still have a good 10 pounds in the cupboard.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2011 at 10:16PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


the Heavenly Seeds has the same Mahon that they renamed Bradshaw. They may have renamed it because of the pending patent since they are in the same area, they may have had a heads up..... Heavenly Seeds bought the rights to Bradshaw's collection and business after he retired.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2011 at 4:13PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


just though I would bump this up and see if you had anything else to add. Any particular one stand out in flavor? Any storage issues you can think of?

I wont be coming to the forum much now as I am getting very busy. I will start transplanting tomatoes soon.Running a bit behind as usual.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2011 at 8:45PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Okiedawn OK Zone 7


So far, we like every variety and have no complaints. They've all been good so far. I haven't seen a single, storage issue of any sort and that's wonderful because lately I've been too busy to cook much of anything except brownies and cookies for the firefighters. I think I've baked 9 batches in the last two weeks.

Some varieties are starting to leaf out a little bit the last week or so.

I'm going to make a sweet potato pie or cobbler this weekend or on Monday for Tuesday's fire meals. (I guess if there are no big fires on Tuesday, which is unlikely, Tim and I will have to force ourselves, lol, to eat the whole pie or cobbler ourselves.)

Fire activity is on the rise here, especially in our part of the county and we've had units out at fires pretty much every day. About the only time I'm "guaranteed" there won't be a fire is really early in the day when humidity
is highest and wind is low. I'm having a hard time getting anything done, inside or outside, and feel like my seed-starting, planting and transplanting is falling behind more and more every day. Every time I step foot in the garden, the fire pagers go off so I'm almost afraid to step foot in the garden, but I'm about to go out there and work anyway (or at least attempt to work) since this will be the last day we have in the 70s for a few days.

We're expecting frost here on Sun. a.m., and likely a light freeze (hopefully not a heavy one) as well, but I haven't put anything in the ground yet that cannot handle frost or a light freeze.


    Bookmark   March 4, 2011 at 10:10AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Flowers: Peony
Dear friends; The peony is for my 4 yo and I'm terrified...
Tomatoes in Oklahoma: Part II, Soil Prep/Planting
WHAT TOMATOES NEED: Tomatoes grow best in loose, sandy...
Okiedawn OK Zone 7
We're Having All Four Seasons of Weather This Week!
This is your warning that this week's weather is going...
Okiedawn OK Zone 7
2015 Tomato Grow List
Seed-starting time is approaching, so here's my grow...
Okiedawn OK Zone 7
Which Inoculant for Which Legume?
No questions. Yay! Great little pamphlet, here. It...
Sponsored Products
Leather 4 x 6 in. Deluxe Photo Frame - 860-BLACK-5
$70.00 | Hayneedle
Royce Leather Aristo Double Decker Playing Card Set - 601-BLK-AR
$35.00 | Hayneedle
Elk Lighting Secret Tree Bookends - Set of 3 - 91-4072
$76.00 | Hayneedle
Genuine Leather Magazine Basket - 602-BLACK-6
$250.00 | Hayneedle
Royce Leather Aristo Padfolio - Malibu Blue - 749-MB-AR
$60.00 | Hayneedle
Royce Leather Double Decker Playing Card Case - 601-BLK-8
$35.00 | Hayneedle
Royce Leather Aristo Padfolio - Plum Multicolor - 749-PLUM-AR
$60.00 | Hayneedle
Leather 4 x 6 in. Brag Book Photo Holder - 868-BLACK-5
$65.00 | Hayneedle
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™