Monday, November 24, 2008

Seasonal Produce: Sweet Potatoes

Growing sweet potatoes (Ipomoea batatus) the Courier Journal's Farmer Bob says, As sweet potatoes have moved steadily up the good-for-you food charts, it's time to talk about how much fun it is to grow them, too.

First the ground must be warm -- as in past-Derby days -- and they will only prosper in well-drained loamy to sandy soil.

They are planted in "slips" -- which are vine cuttings or roots taken from last year's crop. Or it's much easier to just buy some slips at a down-home garden store; the best varieties around here are Beauregard, Centennial, Jewell, Southern Delite and Excel -- all great names.

Plant the slips eight inches apart at a depth of four inches. Provide at least one inch of water a week. Harvest in about 120 days, and cut and remove vines before digging. "Cure" them by placing them in a room with at least 70 degree temperatures for 14 days. Eat them early and often.

Sweet Potato Nutrition Facts
Calories 130
Fat 0.39 g
Protein 2.15 g
Net Carbs 31.56 g
Dietary Fiber 3.9 g

Calcium 28.6 mg
Sodium 16.9 mg
Potassium 265.2 mg
Folate 18.2 mcg

Vitamin C 29.51 mg
Vitamin A 26081.9 IU
Source: US Department of Agriculture

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