How much frost damage does it take...

tigerdawn(7)October 20, 2011

My sweet potatoes have a little bit of frost damage on some of the leaves. Is that going to kill the whole plant or can I wait to dig them?

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macmex

They are probably still alright. But once frost hits, I recommend that you get digging. The soil is starting to cool down, growth will be very limited, and, if we get cold combined with cold rain the roots can be damaged.

We had a hard frost yesterday. I REALLY need to get ours dug!

George
Tahlequah, OK

    Bookmark   October 21, 2011 at 7:15AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

I try to get sweet potatoes dug before the soil temps are hitting or falling below 50 degrees, and earlier than that, as George noted, if the soil is pretty moist or just plain old wet.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2011 at 6:59PM
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tigerdawn(7)

I decided to dig the plant that took the brunt of the frost but leave the rest.

Here's what I removed:

Here's the spot it was in:

Here's what I dug up. I decided the theme song for sweet potato harvest is "Just Keep Digging" sung to the tune of "Just Keep Swimming" in Finding Nemo.

If I remember right, I'm supposed to leave them out there tomorrow to cure and them put them in the garage or something for storage. Is that about right?

Now I'm off to the butterfly forum to discuss the pupa I unearthed!

    Bookmark   October 21, 2011 at 7:07PM
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slowpoke_gardener

Tigerdawn, those are nice. I think it is great to have such a pretty, easy care plant that also give you such nice food that does not require freezing or canning.

I try to let my potatoes lay in the sun till the soil drys and then brush them off with a paint brush. mine have cured in the shed for a few days, but I brought them inside because of the cold night we were having. I will try storing them under our bed this year.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2011 at 9:45PM
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mulberryknob

Pretty roots. Do you know the variety? George gave me one called Red Wine Velvet that looks like that, redskinned, but I didn't get much as the deer kept eating the tops off.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2011 at 10:23PM
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macmex

I only just got back here. Hope you took them inside during the night. As Larry mentioned, the cool nights are not good for them. If they didn't get frosted while laying out, they'll probably be okay. But it is better to cure them indoors now.

George

    Bookmark   October 22, 2011 at 7:31AM
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tracydr(9b)

I had sweet potatoes volunteer everywhere that I planted last year. We had several hard freezes with a stretch of three days down in the low twenties. So, the top of sweet potato dies but apparently, the underneath stays alive and well until good and frozen.
Now I'm almost afraid to plant SW in my new raised beds, don't want them all over forever.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2011 at 9:52AM
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tigerdawn(7)

I cooked one up and ate it this weekend. The flesh is stringless and smooth. It seems ...dense maybe? It was a great texture. The flavor was a little too delicate for my tastes but I think I should have baked it a little longer. The end parts had a stronger flavor. It was really nice, just mild.

I was watching Oklahoma Gardening this weekend and Kim was saying that sweet potatoes like to be stored in moist peat moss in the garage. Is that correct?

    Bookmark   October 24, 2011 at 10:18AM
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slowpoke_gardener

I just had part of a sweet potato. It was one of the white ornamentals. I had broken it while digging a start for next year. It seemed a little dryer and firmer than the Beauregard but was good. It may even be a little better cooked.

I have not had any trouble with sweet potatoes coming back and disrupting the next years crop, maybe because I till and plant before the potatoes have had time to come back. I often have this problem with Irish potatoes, but I cant really call it a problem.

Larry

    Bookmark   October 24, 2011 at 12:13PM
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macmex

It's not that the sweet potatoes will immediately die, that one needs to dig them. It's that their eating quality and storage ability is affected by cold.

George

    Bookmark   October 25, 2011 at 3:26PM
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Nikki_R

My sweet potatoes are shrinking up. What makes them do this after they are picked?

    Bookmark   October 30, 2013 at 12:08PM
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