Sweet potatoes are one of my favourite vegetables to grow.
They are so easy and flourish in even the poorest conditions with just a little bit of TLC. In the garden, on a trellis, or in a container, sweet potatoes are a beautiful plant.
They grow well in a sunny vegetable garden, but you can also grow them in other parts of your home landscape.
Try them as a temporary ground cover or a trailing houseplant. In a patio planter, a sweet potato vine will form a beautiful foliage plant that you can harvest roots from in the autumn.
This warm-weather crop grows worldwide.
They are also remarkably nutritious and versatile; each tuber is rich in vitamins A and C.
Use them raw, boiled, or baked, in soups, casseroles, desserts, breads, or stir-fries - and don't forget to try some homemade sweet potato fries.
Sweet potatoes will grow in poor soil.
It's best to plant root sprouts, called slips.
You can plant a piece of tuber, too.
They mature in 90 to 170 days and they're extremely frost sensitive.
Plant in full sun three to four weeks after the last frost when the soil has warmed.
You can harvest as soon as leaves start to yellow, but the longer a crop is left in the ground, the higher the yield and vitamin content.
I prefer to plant mine in a large plastic bin.
Harvesting is very easy this way. I just tip over the bin and pull out the tubers.
Here's a recipe for one of my favourite ways to eat sweet potatoes.
Sweet potato chips
- 400g baby sweet potatoes
- oil, to deep-fry
Step 1: Use a mandoline to thinly slice the sweet potatoes.
Step 2: Add enough oil to a wok or saucepan to come one-quarter of the way up the side.
Heat over high heat until the oil reaches 155°C.
Deep-fry the sweet potato, in 3 to 4 batches, for two minutes, stirring regularly until crisp and the oil has stopped bubbling.
Transfer to a plate lined with paper towel to drain.
Sprinkle with sea salt.