Saturday, September 12, 2009

sweet potato harvest

I needed the space, so I harvested my batatas a little earlier than maybe I should have. There were some real lunkers in the mix, but plenty of medium sized ones and some smaller ones, too. The kids had fun, even in the rain.

OK, if you look at my fingertips you can see the tail of a Copper Skink that ran into my sandals as I was trying to dig the potatoes... I did a little dance and managed to extract it without harming it. I love these little skinks, finding them under leaves and in the mulch all the time.
My kinda failed malanga experiment. I transplanted the malanga on June 15. At the time they were little corms about the size of the smallest ones above. This is my "harvest" from two plants (out of half a dozen). So, in three months, one plant yielded one four-inch "potato" and a bunch of smaller ones. My guess is that they need at a minimum nine months in the ground to produce a malanga tuber large enough to be worth it... That's a long time to take up real estate in my tiny veg garden. Anyway, the whole experiment confirms my idea that I need a farily large, sunny spot where I can plant perennial vegetables like malanga, cassava, chaya, okinawan spinach... and things like papaya and hot peppers--low maintenance, not overly thirsty, sun-loving plants. I have a perfect spot, but right now it's part of one of my butterfly gardens in the front yard. So, I think I'll spend a couple weekends during the cool season clearing out that bed (it's heavily mulched with fabric), moving the plants (I have a perfect spot for a new butterfly garden), running PVC and enriching the bed. I'll probably grow some bananas and limas in that bed, too...

My sweet potato harvest--not bad for a ten-foot long row. There are several varieties there, including white japanese.