Harvest Monday, May 29, 2017 – Sweet Potato Experiment + Other Garden Activities

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Bearded Iris

I have read about starting sweet potato slips in potting mix instead of in water (which I have always done) and decided to give this method a try this year.

Will there be any differences in sprouting?

To find out, on March 17, I placed one Purple Sweet Potato in water and another in potting mix. The SP in water sprouted earlier than the one in the potting mix, unfortunately I neglected to note the dates.

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Growing Purple Sweet Potato Slips – Left: in water. Right: in potting mix.

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Purple Sweet Potato Slips – Left: grown in water. Right: grown in potting mix.

Will there be any differences in yield?

To find out, I planted in the garden (all bare roots) 5 water grown slips in one row (left in photo below) and 5  potting mix grown slips in another row (right in photo below), now I must wait for results that I will publish in later post/s.

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Purple Sweet Potato – Left: 2 of 5 slips grown in water. Right: 2 of 5 slips grown in potting mix.

Transplanted all sweet potatoes slips into the garden on Wednesday, 5/24, as rain was predicted for Thursday, 5/25, to be followed by 2 cloudy days.

And rain it did. Plants are happy so are the weeds.

Was only going to plant 2 varieties this year – Purple and Ginseng Red. But Mary gave me 2 slips of Wilma’s (a new variety for me) so now I am growing 3 varieties.

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First harvest of container grown Peppermint Swiss Chard.

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Container Peppermint Swiss Chard

Cut chard, stems and leaves, into bite-sized pieces, combined with thinly sliced garlic greens, and stir-fried briefly in a bit of oil, salt & pepper to taste. Garden to wok in less than an hour.

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Also transplanted my Chinese Long Beans seedlings. Seeds were started in containers instead of direct sow.

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Chinese Long Beans. Top Rows: Red Noodles. Bottom rows: Green.

Chinese long beans are also known as yard long beans, asparagus beans and snake beans. Click here to learn more and a recipe.

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The week of May 8 we had a few nights where temperature was in the 30’s°F.

All the semi heading mustard seedlings bolted.

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Bolting Semi Heading Mustard

However, the Toy Choi Hybrid I started 3/19/17 and transplanted into window box on 4/26 did not bolt.

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Toy Choi Hybrid

My guess is the Toy Choi had passed the seedling stage therefore hardier and able to withstand temperature below 50°F.

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Tomatoes I took a chance and transplanted on 5/12 all survived and are doing well.

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Tomato – Speckled Roman Paste

Speckled Roman Paste is one of my favorite tomatoes. Good for making sauce as well as for slicing.

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Garlic are doing exceptional well this year.

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Garlic – German White & Duganski

Both the German White and the Duganski are hardneck garlic. Looking forward to harvesting garlic scapes in a couple weeks.

Direct sowed: Green leaf Lutz beets, Crosby’s Egyptian Beets. Semi-heading Mustard and Tri-colored Amaranth.

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In her comments on last Monday post, Kimberly Brandt ask for a photo of the Goji aka Wolfberry plant.

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Goji, aka Wolfberry, plant

The above photo is for you Kim.

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Last of my tree peonies. Deciduous peonies should be blooming any day now.

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Tree Peony – Yellow

It was sunny when I took the above photo so the color is a bit washed out.

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Copyright © by Norma Chang. All Rights Reserved. Do not use/repost any photos and/or articles without permission.

Do visit Dave at Our Happy Acres for more Harvest Monday

About Norma Chang

I am the author/publisher of 2 user-friendly Chinese cookbooks: "My Students' Favorite Chinese Recipes (updated edition)" and "Wokking Your Way to Low Fat Cooking" A gardener who enjoys cooking and eating and loves to think outside the box A garden volunteer at Locust Grove Heritage Vegetable Garden Conduct hands-on cooking workshops for teenagers Conduct cultural programs for children and family Conduct healthy cooking classes for adults
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25 Responses to Harvest Monday, May 29, 2017 – Sweet Potato Experiment + Other Garden Activities

  1. Funny, my Toy Choi bolted and my Win-Win did not! As far as I know they both were subjected to the same temperatures. Interesting to see how the different S.P. slips do. I have started in both water and soil but never compared. Now I start in water, and pot up in soil before planting out.

  2. Angie@Angie's Recipes says:

    I can tell this is going to be a very good year for you, Norma. Can’t wait to see those long beans!

  3. Eva Taylor says:

    The soil-started sweet potato looks like it has stronger roots. Cool experiment.

  4. Margaret says:

    Things are certainly looking great in your garden. It should be interesting to see how your sweet potatoes do – my only question is will it be easy to tell which potatoes are from which plants?

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Margaret,
      I hope so, the water rooted slips are in a row on one side of the bed and the potting-mix rooted slips are in a row on the opposite side of the bed with quite a bit of space between the rows.

  5. Lisa says:

    Isn’t it infuriating when seedlings bolt?

    How much room do sweet potatoes need?

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Lisa,
      The guidelines are 12-18 inches apart and 3 feet between rows, but there are semi-bush varieties, example the Ginseng Red and Wilma’s, that will not spread like the vining varieties, example the Purple, that can take over the whole garden.

  6. Bill says:

    We start our sweet potato slips in a bed of rotted sawdust and they do great. I’ve started them in water just to get some to fill in gaps. I’m very curious now to see whether you discover a difference in yield, but I’d guess there won’t be.

    Our spring plantings are bolting now–mustards, spinach, bok choy, chinese cabbages, romaine lettuce, all bolting. But our kale is staying strong and healthy and our beets and turnips are now ready to harvest. Even picked the first green beans of the year yesterday. It’s a great time of year!

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Bill,
      I thought your hoop house would prevent your mustards, spinach, bok choy, chinese cabbages, romaine lettuce from bolting since they are protected.

      • Bill says:

        All these are growing outside. I have tomatoes, squash and beans in the hoop house.

      • Norma Chang says:

        Hello Bill,
        Do you think it would make any difference if they were planted in the hoop house?

      • Bill says:

        They would probably bolt sooner in the hoop house, because the soil temperature is higher there. My guess is that they are better for fall/overwintering in the hoop house.

      • Norma Chang says:

        Hello Bill,
        Am going to do some reading on this subject to see if it it possible to do something about spring bolting.

      • Bill says:

        I’ve read that mulching helps slow down bolting, because bolting is caused by soil temperature not air temperature.

  7. Phuong says:

    Your leeks and tomato plants look great. That’s some chilly temperatures you got in May, it’s good that you were able to get your tomatoes in early. I think the up and down temperatures of early spring tends to make a lot of greens bolt.

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Phoung,
      We are having unusual weather pattern this spring, not sure how well my sweet potatoes will grow due to the below normal temperature we are experiencing on and off.

  8. Balvinder says:

    Love seeing reports on how your garden is doing and everything looks so great. I grew Goji berry plant last year in a container but mine look a lot different than yours. Can I send you a picture and you let me know if that is the right plant?

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Balvinder,
      Sure, do send me a picture of you Goji plant. I don’t know a lot about the plant, but I understand there are different varieties and many are hybrids, the one I have is an heirloom.

  9. I like to read about your adventures in the garden. I still don’t have one, so at least I follow yours. The picture with peonies is so beautiful

  10. Oh wowza…. you sure are gonna have a Stella year in the garden me thinks. My garden is coming along beautifully. Will be sure to write a post when I harvest. First year in forever I’ve got some real action. Think it’s because I’ve been learning from you for years.

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