So this is what 3,000 sweet potato plants looks like?
Each one of these little 'twigs' will grow into a sweet potato plant!
We plant these over black mulch because they're a vining crop and really need the HOT-HOT weather to produce well. Planting over the black mulch means that we don't have to hoe between the plants and rows, the mulch keeps the weeds down!
That's an expense that really pays for itself. It's also beneficial because it heats up the soil underneath the mulch, and the sweet potatoes do best in hot conditions!
Sweet potatoes grow in our state, but the majority of sweet potatoes in our country come from the southern states; to name a few, Georgia, North Carolina, Mississippi & Louisiana are big producers.
We buy every other seed we grow locally, but sweet potatoes are very specialized and we literally have these shipped from GEORGIA because no one can grow the plants (our weather isn't right for starting them). If we start them ourselves, even in the greenhouse, they won't be big enough by the time they need to get transplanted and will result in no harvest.
One cool fact about our farm is that every. single. thing. is harvested by hand. We don't use potato diggers because it misses potatoes and knicks up the potatoes. The next time you buy potatoes at the grocery store, look at the little cuts on the potatoes. You'll notice that those blemishes are also what causes the potatoes to soften quicker and results in a lot more waste.
Sweet potatoes like the heat, but if we planted them in this weather (it's going to be 90 degrees today) they would be damaged by the heat. Cool and wet conditions help lessen the stress to the plants. So we're waiting until this weekend to plant these bad boys! :)
~The Farmer's Wife