|North Carolina Piedmont growing varieties of Sweet Potatoes. |
Photo: Leanna Murphy Dono.
Leanna Murphy Dono and Marsha Booker-Hibbs (GM)
Durham Co. Extension Master Gardener Volunteers
Yams, on the other hand, hail from the Dioscorea family of woody vines and shrubs and originated from West Africa and parts of Asia. Currently the US only imports them from the Caribbean, they are LOW in Vitamin A with exclusively white flesh.
|Container of 'Porto Rico' sweet potatoes. |
Photo: Leanna Murphy Dono
May 1 – Plant Slips (after last frost)
GROWING SEASON - 100 DAYS
September 1 – no irrigation 3 weeks (prep to dig)
October 1 – Dig and harvest (before frost!)
1 week – Cure at 80-85°F /90% humidity
November 1 to March 1 – Store at 55°F and eat!
Georgia Jet: High yield – prone to cracking
Carolina Ruby: Store well without shrink
Hernandez: grows 120 days; grows well in sandy soil
Beauregard: Most common, but disease challenges
Covington: Developed at NC State University and disease resistant
Porto Rico: Best container-grown sweet potato, “superior eating flavor”
White and Purple flesh
O'Henry: High Yield w/jumbo tubers, L-O-N-G vines – 60”+
Muraski: L-O-N-G vines – 60”and disease resistant
Japanese: Short vines – 40” and 125+ days to mature!
When to Use when either “GREEN” = freshly dug, un-cured sweet potatoes - immediately use after harvest, they are excellent for candying or sweetened pies/casseroles.
“CURED” means that sweet potatoes were allowed to dry and ripen in warm, humid temperatures for maximum flavor. Use 6-8 weeks after harvest. These potatoes are best for baked, mashed, canning, frying, etc.
TORTOISE BEETLES = Eat foliage; attack newly planted slips or plants under stress. Can transfer from ornamentals
DEER = Eat foliage and that reduces yields or root size Source: AG-295, NC State Center for Integrated Pest Management
SPRING ROSE BEETLE & JAPANESE BEETLE = larvae/grubs feed on roots
FLEA BEETLES = Adults eat foliage; larvae eat roots, etch shallow, winding trails and cause splits
SMALL FRUIT FLIES = feed on decaying vegetables and lay maggots in splits (harvest and cure only good roots)
- Since 1971, North Carolina ranks as the No. 1 sweet potato producing state in the United States. NC annual harvest constitutes about 40-50% US supply.
- Sampson, Nash & Johnston counties alone produce about ½ of NC yield.
- 1996 Ms. Celia Batchelor’s 4th grade students in Wilson (aka “The Tater Tots”) successfully lobbied for Sweet Potatoes to be named the official State Vegetable.
- 16th Annual Sweet Potato Festival in Rockford, NC September 21, 2013 from 10-5 p.m.
- North Carolina restaurants are serving up a great variety of dishes on their menus: sweet potato fries, baked sweet potatoes with bacon and white cheddar, candied fried sweet potatoes, sweet potato coconut milk soup, sweet potato cheesecake, pork chops stuffed with thyme and sweet potatoes, and sweet potato biscuits.
- NC Home-Grown Covington Sweet Potato Vodka: 20 lbs. of NC sweet potatoes go into every bottle; distilled in Snow Hill, NC; vodka won a prestigious gold medal at the 13th annual World Spirits Competition in March 2013. in San Francisco; the Covington sweet potato was developed by NC State University.