Our GROUND is like CONCRETE!! Are there ANY Sweet Potatoes to HARVEST?

One of the last big harvests of the summer is the sweet potatoes. We have two 50 foot rows of sweet potatoes planted but we have no idea if there are any sweet potatoes underground. We used the woven weed fabric to keep the weeds under control.

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  • Pamela Roden

    Compost,compost, compost and good garden soil mounded up.

  • Simplify Gardening

    not enough organic matter to hold the nutrients and water required for the tubers, nice video guys

  • Deep South Homestead

    Sand and clay makes bricks.lol try sub soiling and adding mulched leaves lots of compost and organic matter. The long skinny ones can be peeled like a carrot and cut up and canned. We also use the less than desirable ones for sweet potato fries.

    • debra athanas

      The first indication of poor soil is it is golden in color. What you need is black dark soil with lots of organic soil… to improve soil quality. spread out those vines in your patch add kitchen scraps and other manure, leaves, grass clippings …then bring in the chickens let them till the soil eat and peck leave the soil for 6-8 mo…then plant your sweet potatoes. I grew sweet potatoes in sand but not enough nutrient to make them plump.

    • Nat McCallum

      Agree 100% all their gardens need a lot of organic matter and stop using that cloth; horrible for the planet and your soil.

    • D Henley

      I live in Idaho. This is my second year growing sweet potatoes. I determined that they need to be kept moist. In My soul anyway. They did so much better this year. Wet them down good, wait a week and dig. I even tried some of the vines in a salad. Very good.

    • Eva June Marie Apalisok

      your harvest was not really a failure., otherwise it won’t grow that big. The soil is really the problem. Hard and dry with no nutrients at all. When planting sweet potatoes sprinkle water thrice a week to make the soil soft and moist.

    • Michele Olson

      I don’t add uncomposted leaves, I heard they remove nitrogen from the soil in the decomposition process. But yes to amending the soil with lots of already composted material, and aged manure, and maybe some peat moss, depending on the soil ph.

  • Suzanne Dado

    I appreciate your honest approach. When things don’t work, you still show the results. Many just show the successes, giving a false sense of what this kind of life & work is like.

  • Jody Chapple

    I dug in grass clippings, weeds etc to help amend the clay soil. Organic matter tilled in and left over Winter, then when you’re ready to plant in Spring you retill the soil…weed mat and plant.

  • Ronnie in VA

    For next year, do this now:
    Dig a trench a foot deep the same width as a bale of straw. Layer the trench with manure, then with Fall leaves, then with the pats from bales of straw. Put a few inches of manure and soil mix over the pats, and repeat until you are a foot above ground level. Finally, cover with your weed cloth. In the spring, plant directly into the organic matter.
    Going below ground level helps with water retention, which will help the organic matter break down and encourage earth worms and soil bacteria to flourish. The organic matter provides the food for the soil life. Go above ground because the organics will break down and the pile will reduce in size, but the top layer that doesn’t break down provides a nice soft roomy space for the potatoes.
    Edit to add an afterthought: sweet potato leaves are loaded with vitamin A (as much as the potatoes have), are perfectly safe to eat, and have no weird flavor. They make a great replacement for lettuces when the weather causes lettuce to bolt, and they can stretch out the greens you may have for feeding more people.
    Lol…and another thought: if you don’t have leaves yet, use a fair quality hay. You can ask neighbors for old hay. Do save your fall leaves for gardens! And you can collect leaves from other people in town…I once sat in the yard and watch an earthworm pull a leaf underground. It was amazing!

  • Linda Foster

    Does shape matter? Doesn’t look “normal” but taste is the deciding factor.

  • s cole

    I’d water then dig a day later.
    More compost material needed.

  • SaraNichole Powell

    Be careful with adding sand to clay…. you can have create “concrete” soil. Love you guys.

  • Sheri Papin

    Here in Missouri, for the past 20 years, we transfer our slips into soil packs when they’re in the greenhouse. Then somewhere between Mother’s Day & Memorial Day once all chance of frost has passed, we set them out into hilled rows in our garden. They have always done very well! The first year, 25 plants yielded 90+ lbs. Last year, 4 – 25′ rows and they yielded over 200 lbs. We do mulch around the plants and between the rows. We use ground cover on most of the garden, but not on sweet potatoes, carrots, beets or irish potatoes. The hilled rows seem to aid in letting the root crops grow in less compacted clay soil like is here in MO. We live about 30 or so miles from you. Blessings! & thanks for your videos!

  • Kathy Harper

    Dont till in sand it will make it worse. start adding leaves, manure, mushroom or cow compost anything to lighten up the soil and feed it

  • PoleGem

    Do NOT add sand. Shred all the leaves u can get your hands on this fall and mix it in there…..buy worms and skip the fabric…..at least for this crop….go with CARDBOARD for weed suppression…..
    .THAT SOIL IS DEAD. It needs WORMS!!! The builder added sand to our clay soil lot and nothing grows well. …Also get with GCI turf here on YouTube and get some humic acid ( if organic) . The leaves n CARDBOARD are your quickest fix….i know some farmers here in Southern MD (clay capital of the DelMarVa)…..who have leaves delivered vacuumed up in parks n other safe places but u could collect your own to b e safe….little nutrition tho so heavy on other amendments. Thanks for an honest channel.

  • Mountain Living Homestead

    The long ones, slice and fry like fried white potatoes. They are great that way.

  • A Piper

    Sand won’t help. Sand will cause more problems. Compost is the way to grow.

    • Bree Gray-Eskue

      sand mixed with clay = concrete mix! Use compost/hay/straw/greens!!

    • Hong Man

      tiniest layer of sand on the top will help prevent flyaway mulch if not using weed fabric and after heavy soil amendments, it should help with the clay too after a couple of years rotting. but not as a solution to their clay problem!

  • Nell Sinnock

    Hey, I just thought of something for the soil problem………..again, practicality isn’t my strong suit at times, but I thought it would be worth suggesting. I have read about ground cover crops that alot of the seed catalogs offer, and they always seem to have at least one or two offerings that are specifically selected for those who have really bad clay soils like you guys do. I have read in the descriptions (I am one of those weird people who read seed catalogs like some others read novels…..I also do that with cookbooks as well) that there are a good amount of nutrients generally locked up in the clay type of soils, but the plants normally cannot get anything due to the soil structure. These specific types of ground covers can “mine” the minerals from deep underground due to long and strong tap roots and also, at season’s end, the plants are very helpful in breaking up the hard clumps with their tap roots as they rot. So it sounds like a win-win, added “compost” by way of the decaying roots as well as nutrient release, and more soil airation. Ok, I’m done………….. 😉

  • db275711

    Don’t do sand. It just make concrete. More compost.

  • Renee

    Those ‘vines’ are edible sweet potato greens! Cook similarly to spinach, we love them in stews, salads, and with breakfast!

  • Ross

    One lesson I’ve learned in 60+ years of growing is this: you can never have enough compost – here’s why and it’s a lesson I learned observed in Nature. The Earth – Mother Gaia – is first and foremost a soil farmer, a composting wiz. Compost feeds the soil’s biology – the microbiome. I have similar clay-based dirt that I’ve turned into a ‘black gold’ growing machine. People that visit my gardens ask me my secret – I tell them I’m a soil farmer. Take care of the soil, the soil’s microbiome will take care of you. In that clay, I’d till in compost towards a 50/50 ration and then do the lasagna method to attract and keep earthworms. I use compost and straw as a mulch instead of that woven ground cover – here’s why: oxygen and better water permeability for better biology action. Do some research on both biodynamic [Steiner] and Korean natural farming methods. All of the aforementioned is from the ‘for what it’s worth’ department of suggestions. I grow purple sweet potatoes and get great yields – YUMMY, indeed! Stay safe – be well – many blessings.

  • Lacie Petrie

    Sarah you are the most gorgeous human being inside and out, I absolutely love watching your channel with you and your husband. Your dimples bring me so much joy! Thank you for the amazing and informative content. :))

  • PauletteRevere

    Yup, agree w/all the “add organic matter” folks. Had rock hard black clay in my tiny garden in TX years ago – dug in a foot or so of the leaves that fell in my yard that fall, raked over the “dog manure” (from multiple pets! lol!) & mixed in, dug it in deep, and the next spring, could hardly believe the beautiful black loam! 🙂 With all those trees around you and a few neighbors with lots of cows, pigs or chickens for free/inexpensive manure – plus motorized rake & tiller or plow for your tractor, should be a breeze, and CHEAP! – to fix up your garden plot! 🙂 Can’t wait to see your BEAUTIFUL results! You guys are great!
    Since I’m in MO now, may drive over next spring to your farm/garden festivals & events to meet you! (Cov2 will be “gone” next year! So should be a GREAT year! ❤ 🙂
    Thank you for your Love & blessings you share in every video! Love them! <*)))))>

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