In the spring, I put in a garden at Aunt Denise’s house. I had two (4 x 12.5) beds and put three little pieces of sweet potato in one and tomatoes, beans, corn, basil, and beets in the other (not necessarily all at the same time). The corn did not do well at all (I only had five plants and was probably using hybrid seed), the beans didn’t do great, the beets were horrible (only two matured and they weren’t even exceptional), the basil did pretty well, and the tomatoes were mixed (the large tomatoes generally rotted before they were ripe, but the cherries were pretty productive and delicious). So, that covers the spring/summer crops.
The sweet potatoes were really pretty (I especially liked the purple edging) and they produced a lot of vines and leaves (they took over the bed I put them in). I had a couple of marigolds at the far end and I put some tomatoes in the middle when I ran out of space in the other bed, but the tomatoes were choked out by the sweet potatoes and if the season had gone on much longer, the marigolds would have met the same fate.
The little potatoes you see in the picture are about the extent of what we got when we dug out potatoes at school. I was a little concerned about what I was going to find in my bed since their soil is in much better shape than mine.
Tony and I dug my sweet potatoes out last Wednesday and you can see the results – the variety of sizes and shapes we pulled out (and Q’s curiosity…although now Coke stands over them as if they are her prize). There were some very large sweet potatoes and several very small ones. The single I’ve included is about the size of my two fists put together (it’s in the top left corner of the bottom sheet of cardboard, to give you a sense of size). The ones you see on the cardboard came out to about 44 pounds, which was pretty awesome. Not all of them are easily usable, but if I can get them to the spring before they sprout, I can (hopefully) use them to grow more sweet potatoes.
We added three beds and extended the two original beds to the bence. The bed with the green has carrots (the green you see), kale, beets, Brussels sprouts, and spinach. They’re not growing as quickly as I would’ve expected, but I think it might have something to do with not getting a lot of water (we had a wet summer, but the fall’s been pretty dry) combined with the really clay-y soil. I put cover crops in the rest of the beds, hoping to improve the soil for next year. We’ll see what happens.
For a couple more pictures (including a picture of the little friend we found among the sweet potatoes), click here.