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Sweet Potato Growing Workshop Signup

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)

2014 Sweet Potatoes Slips are Coming

harvest rowTime 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.

1000 Pounds – Goodman Youth Grow Local Farm

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.

Farmworks truckload harvest kids harvest row ygl_farm

Curing and Donating Your Sweet Potatoes

Harvesting

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.

Donating

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.

Curing

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.

Storing

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!

Harvesting Soon

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!

Digging Up Sweet Potatoes

We’re getting close to the end of sweet potato growing season here in Wisconsin. John Binkley shows how he harvests sweet potatoes.

Planting Sweet Potato Slips

In this video, John Binkley from Equinox Community Farm shows how he plants slips.

The Slips Are In

The slips have arrived!!

The slips will be distributed from Community Action Coalition (CAC) office at the following times:

Saturday, June 15  9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Monday, June 17 8:00 am – 6:00 pm
Tuesday, June 18 – Thursday, June 20 8:00 am – 4:30 pm

Map to the CAC offices.

And we’ve uploaded a new presentation and video on how to best plant and grow your sweet potatoes.

We’re excited!  Are you?

Here’s the video on planting those slips.

A good article on growing sweet potatoes

Here’s a great article from the University of Illinois Extension on how to grow sweet potatoes.

http://urbanext.illinois.edu/veggies/sweetpotato.cfm
sweet_potatoes

Class schedule

We will be providing classes on how to grow sweet potatoes in Wisconsin. The following list is the days, times, and locations of the classes.

April 13 (during Food Camp)

1:00pm
Goodman Center
149 Waubesa Street

April 18

6:00-8:00pm
Willy St East
1221 Williamson St

May 6th

6:00-8:00pm
Willy St. West
6825 University Ave

May 11th

10:00am-12:00pm
UW-Extension, 1 Fen Oak Drive, Madison, WI

Think Spring!

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