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  • Writer's pictureCrazy Jar Lady

Taters For My Sweet

Handsome LOVES sweet potatoes. He very often orders a baked sweet potato when we go out to eat. I was determined to grow some for him this year, even if everything else was a flop.

I've often heard it said that when man plans; God laughs....

By mid-June, the entire original garden and the vagina garden had completely grown up in weeds by the time the sweet potato starts could be planted. Handsome moved some topsoil for me and even though it took me a week of trying and resting, I was able to get the potato mounds built. Then it took me a few days to get them planted. (Nothing fancy in the planting, no eggs or even extra fertilizer; I just wanted to get them in the ground.) I still had some room in the rows and since the soil was already mounded up, I decided to plant some winter squash, watermelons and honeydew melons in between the sweet potato plants. Everything was really tiny, it looked ok.... I knew I would have to keep the whole area watered well to get any results at all and added it to my daily flower watering chores. We've been quite dry here most of the spring and summer; up until this weekend.

A couple weeks after planting, Foxy came back and brought some raccoon and opossum friends along. They decided that digging up and breaking off my little sweet potato starts was fun. While I wasn't able to catch Foxy, her friends were encouraged to join the afterlife. Finally, the starts that were left started to grow. The squash and melon plants had come up and were putting on runners.

All these poor plants were having to survive with no extra nutrition than plain topsoil and tap water. It took a very long time for them to get going.

We caught a rain 3/4 of the way through July. That really got everything going. Finally the sweet potatoes that weren't getting shaded by the squash started to put on runners. The squash took off and started taking over.

I had saved some seeds from a typical sized white pumpkin a few years ago and those were one of the hills I planted. Well... Ursula has decided to take over the entire space. She has 3 kids on board now, 2 of which are larger than the original white pumpkin and 1 that is almost as large. Who knows what sweet potato plants will survive under her. She has huge leaves that are shading the entire area that she is inhabiting. She is reaching south and heading for the yard, probably 20 feet long at this point.

The watermelons have set 2 small fruit but are starting to succumb to squash borers so they may be done soon. The honeydew melons are the size of turkey eggs as of this morning. There's a baby butternut squash attempting to grow next to Ursula and it has set an adorable little fruit.

You can't see very many sweet potatoes at all anymore. The few I can see are about 12 to 18 inches across and just aren't hacking the lack of fertilizer and competition. Since I've been feeling better, last week I added some liquid fertilizer to the watering. After all this rain, they will need more.

I will be surprised if we get much in the way of a sweet potato harvest. I'm sorry babe....

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