AND, back to regularly scheduled programming:
I have an admission: I am a lazy gardener!
Earlier this summer I prepared a nice large half barrel to grow sweet potatoes in but was worried worried worried about making the soil "just right" for these babies because they were the first time I was growing sweet potatoes and I didn't want to mess this up.
Using some potting soil I had around mixed with the nasty clay stuff naturally here in Tennessee I also added some sand for drainage because I hear soggy sweet potaters are a definite non-desireable. The pot was filled mid-way high because I figured as the vines grew I would just keep adding more soil mix to bury the vines in until the pot was filled at the top and then the leaves could ramble around merrily.
Sort of wish I could have had this sort of setup or this one with the tires, but alas, no tires nor extra scrap wood here at the time.
I planted 2 plants of the 6 that came in the pack because I figured all 6 would be a mite bit crowded in a half whiskey barrel and resolved to get back to it after the vines grew a bit more.
Then it rained. And I got busy. Time marched on... and the other 4 sweet potatoes still in their plastic planter plugs on top of whiskey barrel full of soil where I had left them decided, "This gardener sucks. Let's just root up here!"
...which I discovered later in the summer and subsequently yanked them out (sorry guys!) (and as my husband would say sarcastically, "They can TOTALLY hear you say that!") and I figured it was too late to get sweet potatoes from them still, but planted them around my garden to make some great ground cover and eat their leaves, in the process, so score there!
(Also, I never ended up filling the barrel devoted to sweet potatoes with more luscious dirt because I got busy >_<)
But getting to the point...
The leaves were starting to get nasty and yellow from the cold and I decided it was about time to yank up the foliage because I wasn't interested in eating it at that point. Half way through yanking in the garden I noticed a stone-like thing, and realized I had a SURPRISE sweet potato!
I ran to get my husband to show him and he and I then began scrambling around on our hands and knees like delighted squirrels digging around for roots!
Here's the result of our efforts (including after the checking the barrel):
cure them though to get the starches to convert to sugar, so the store ones will last us well until then.
My point is: sweet potatoes: darn easy, literally no work!
I still think they make a great groundcover and while it might be a pain to some to go searching around for them, use it to your advantage and make it into a game or something with your family and/or significant other. It really was like Christmas!
(N.B. Don't forget to comment here if you are interested in winning some plant label/tags by the end of the week!)