Are you ready to grow sweet potatoes for Madison Food Pantries?
Without funding, we have been working hard to make this project happen and are happy to announce that we will again be providing slips to local growers. However, things are a bit different this year.
If you’d like to participate, it’s a two step process:
1. Provide a donation of at least $10 to the project via Slow Food Madison. You may take up to 20 slips to plant. Please note how many slips you would like in the “dedicate this donation” box.
2. Pick up your slips at the Dane County UW-Extension office (directions here). Slips will arrive the week of June 8th.
Your donation to the project will cover the cost of your slips and the remaining will be grown by non-profit partner gardens to support food pantries. If you choose to donate some of your harvest to a local pantry, you can find one here.
The sweet potatoes will grow right up until the first frost. At that point, you’ll need to dig them up. The latest 10 day forecast can help you keep track.
If you won’t be curing your sweet potatoes (read below), the best place to bring your donation is the Community Action Coalition, 1717 N Stoughton Rd, Madison. (map)
If you choose to drop them off at any other food pantries (map here) , please cure them first.
Also, once you donate, make sure to update us on how many pounds you donated.
The curing process heals any small wounds and enhances sweetness by converting the root’s starches to sugars. Ideally, the sweet potatoes should be kept in a space (greenhouse or 4-season porch) for about 10 days at 80-85°F at high humidity (85-90%). If that is not available, they can be cured next to a furnace for 2-3 weeks at 65-75°F. An option to achieve the required high humidity (85-90%) is to stack storage crates or boxes and cover them with paper or heavy cloth. Also, packing in perforated plastic bags will allow excess moisture to escape.
Once the sweet potatoes are cured, move them to a dark location where a temperature of about 55-60°F can be maintained during storage. Keep the sweet potatoes out of the refrigerator as they can be damaged by cold. Wrapping cured sweet potatoes in newspaper and storing them in a cool closet or basement is a great option. Stored properly in ideal conditions, sweet potatoes will last between 6-10 months!
Thank you and good luck!
June 14th 8am – 11am
Community Action Coalition (map)
MOM Food Pantry (map)
Please bring a paper bag or newspaper to transport them to the their new home in the soil.
People that miss the Saturday pickup will also be able to pick up from CAC on Monday, June 16th, 8:00-11:00am and at Dane Co UW-Extension (1 Fen Oak Drive) on Wednesday, June 18th , 9:00am-4:30pm.
The slips will be arriving soon.
The plan is to distribute from the Community Action Coalition (CAC), but we are also working on a west side location.
For sure we will distribute on Saturday, June 14th, but there will also be other times. Schedule coming soon….
And we’ve uploaded a new presentation and video on how to best plant and grow your sweet potatoes.
We’re excited! Are you?
If you are interested in a short workshop on growing sweet potatoes in Wisconsin, please RSVP below, so we can plan accordingly. Thanks.
The dates and locations are:
- April 19th 11am – Food Camp – Goodman Community Center
- May 13th 6:30-8pm – Willy St. West
- May 14th 6:30-8pm – UW Extension (5201 Fen Oak Drive)
Time to sign up to grow sweet potatoes for the 2014 growing seasons. You can sign up to grow online.
We will again be holding training sessions this spring on how to grow sweet potatoes in Wisconsin.
Almost 1000 pounds! That’s how much sweet potatoes were harvested on Oct. 3rd at the Goodman Youth Grow Local Farm in Madison. Master Gardener Volunteers and youth farm interns worked with 100 elementary students from Kennedy & Van Hise Elementary Schools to harvest the sweet potatoes that were delivered to local food pantries.
Most of our Beauregard sweet potato plants have reached the 100-day mark in their growing season so it’s time to consider harvesting procedures:
- Due to the shorter growing season in our region, allow the plants to mature as long as possible before harvest.
- Harvest should occur shortly before or directly after the first frost kills the vines. Roots continue to grow until vine die-off and are only susceptible when soil temperatures drop below 50 degrees; use a soil or meat thermometer to check.
- After vine die-off, immediately remove the top growth to prevent decay from spreading the roots.
- Dig about 1-2 feet from the base of the plant with a spade/pitch fork or shovel to uncover the your delicious, nutritious treasure.
- Take care not to damage the roots as sweet potatoes lack the thick, protective layer like standard potato tubers. Sweet potatoes need to undergo the curing process to develop a thicker skin.
- Resist temptation to clean the sweet potatoes before drying & curing as they may be damaged and become infected.
Watch for an updates soon about curing and donating ½ of your harvest!
We’re getting close to the end of sweet potato growing season here in Wisconsin. John Binkley shows how he harvests sweet potatoes.