Growing sweet potatoes! (In clay soil!)

I have been enjoying growing sweet potatoes here in Western Maryland! They are a longer season crop and I tried something that REALLY helped them grow better! I made mounds with compost rich material and planted the sweet potato slip right in the top!

In months, the vines were spreading so quickly!

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Vines on the mounds
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Up close view of the vines! 

As the season went on, I could just scoop the mounds away to keep an eye on the size of the potatoes!

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An inside look at at the roots! 

Did I mention that they grow gorgeous flowers that all pollinators love!

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🐝❤️

Now on to how much we harvested this year! You will want to harvest them when the leaves start to yellow or before hard frosts. For me, that’s around the middle of October!

We actually were able to harvest a little over 30 pounds of sweet potatoes!

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All these from 1 sweet potato slip! 
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Before and after! 
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Grown in a raised bed! (1 slip!) 
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Grown in a pot

After digging up the sweet potatoes, you have to cure them. They need to be in a hot place for (80-90 degrees) for about 10 days!

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I kept mine in the green house!

After those 10 days, they go into storage in a dark cool place for months.

They are really forgiving plants and with the mounds, I was able to dig them up so much easier! So, these might need to be put on your 2018 list!

Still gardening and harvesting! 

Well tomorrow is the end of September and my birthday! I have no plans, but I know we will get into something! Now, onto the harvests!! We are getting some popcorn harvested and it is beautiful! 

Popcorn!!

We also cut a few of the sunflowers down and we have some huge seeds and I plan on roasting them! (For the first time!) 

Huge sunflower heads

The cover crop in the raised bed is growing very well! I’m hoping this will keep the soil in there nice and healthy! 

Cover crop!

The next crop to be harvested in October are all of those sweet potatoes! The video of our sweet potatoes was even featured on thehappygardeninglife on Instagram and has been viewed over 5,000 times!!!


The luffa gourds are still growing and I’m really hoping that they will be ready to be harvested this year!!


Enjoy your weekend and I’ll be posting how September has been for our goals! 

Greenest week ever!

This week I’ve been busy trying to green up my school!! My students read about an ecofriendly school and we did everything from discussing carbon footprints to writing letters to the mayor about more recycling opportunities in our town!

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Remelted crayon and some student work 

I also created a recycling center in the teacher’s lunchroom for their soda/water bottles and k cup pods! I bought a cutter that makes cleaning out the cups way easier and then I just save up the cups to send in and compost the coffee grounds.

I have also been sharing my produce with my friends at work!

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Yummy produce in upcycled containers!

And the Mr was able to upcycle the boy’s recalled crib into an easel that we are going to use at produce stands and craft shows!

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I love it!

And, the sweet potatoes are blooming away! I think that their blooms are beautiful!

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Sweet potato blooms

Does anyone else have to green up their workplace? I guess if I can’t get them to go zero waste, I can curb some waste! Have a great weekend!!

Expanding the garden!

We are already thinking about the 2018 gardening season and how to improve our soil, because I don’t think that our soil could ever be too healthy! There is a nice area between the garden and the sheds that I would love to turn into more garden.

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More garden! 

Here is exactly what I have in mind:

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A girl can dream, right? 

Well, the Mr decided to help me get started on this idea! He worked on tilling the area, while I picked out some rocks and planted rye and wheat cover crop seeds.

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Tilling away! 

And now we are waiting for the seeds to sprout and we will have nice green manure for the garden in the spring!

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Finished for now! (And yes that’s a chicken finding crickets!) 

And since it’s Wednesday, I decided to share a few gardening pictures too!

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Last night’s harvest! 
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Strawberry popcorn that we grew! 
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A preview of our sweet potatoes
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Beautiful sunflower! 
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My first hybrid zucchini/pumpkin
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Zucchini cake made from the franken-fruit above! 

This week is moving at a turtle’s pace and I can’t wait for it to be over. I need a nice weekend to recover from my busy week! Keep on trying to bloom where you are planted!!💚

Wednesday walk through the garden and lots of blooms! 9-6-17

The garden is starting to fizzle out, but we are still harvesting green beans, cucumbers, cucumelons and lots of tomatoes! I’m hoping to harvest a watermelon or 2 this season!

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Ripen quickly please! 

I’m not sure what this is growing out of the compost bin! It looks like a yellow zucchini, but it is vining like a pumpkin!

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we love our weird compost hybrids! 

We are also still getting peppers, so we will be making some Appalachian style chili sauce. My Dad loves it, so of course I’m going to make him some!

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peppers! 

The popcorn is a good bit taller than me and has tassels!

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popcorn!!!!

The pumpkin vines are dying off, but at least we are getting a few pumpkins!

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Pumpkins! 

The fall beets are growing right up out of the ground!

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we will be pickling beets! 

The sweet potatoes are growing all over the place! I can’t wait to see how much that we harvest this year!!

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sweet potato vines

And I’m pretty proud to share that we made some ketchup this year out of our own Roma tomatoes! We just used one of the Mrs. Wage’s seasoning packets!

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homemade ketchup!

And, there are lots of beautiful blooms still around for our pollinators!

Harvests and feeling like Fall

This week brought on the start of the school year, which is year 13 for my teaching career. Every year feels like I’m starting a new job. I’m hoping this year goes well!

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Third grade, again! 

And on to gardening! The strawberry bed had gotten so unruly and to be honest, I don’t get a large amount of strawberries. So, I decided to clear out the bed and I’m going to plant a cover crop and hopefully make the soil even better.

The cattle panel trellis that goes from one raised bed to the other is looking great! There are always lots of big yellow luffa blooms on it and the luffas and birdhouse gourds are growing fast!

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Sweet potatoes to the right and lots on he trellis! 
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Huge luffa! (And a birdhouse gourd!) 

The trellises in the yard are looking great!

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Growing food, not lawns! 

And I love growing sunflowers! This year our tallest is around 10 feet tall! The pollinators are enjoying the blooms and the chickens will enjoy the seeds this winter!

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Sunflowers!
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Pretty monarch! 

This weekend is going to consist of lots of canning  because we have a ton of tomatoes that need to be preserved! The end of the month update will be coming soon!

Walk through the garden 8/15

It has been raining every other day here, so it’s hard to get into the garden to gather our harvest. So, when I went outside I was pretty surprised to see a watermelon that might actually have time to be harvested before the weather changes!

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Our tiny watermelon! 

I have been picking what feels like millions of cherry tomatoes every time I go in the garden! I’m thinking about just freezing some for later use.

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Cherry tomatoes 🍅 

I know that I posted a picture of an okra bloom earlier in the month, but it’s hard not to share them. They are such a beautiful bloom!

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Another okra bloom

The later planting of the popcorn is growing tall! I’m hoping that we will get to harvest this too before the weather change!

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Popcorn growing 

After forever, I’m finally seeing some pumpkins growing! They had male blossoms since early summer and just started getting female blossoms.

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Tiny pumpkin growing! 

Another late Fall harvesting plant, sweet potatoes, are growing well! The vines are growing everywhere!

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Sweet potato vines

I have never seen the birdhouse gourds grow this large before! My neighbor said that we will have eagles trying to live in these sized gourds!

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Birdhouse gourd (on the chicken run)

And here is our big ol’ harvest today!

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So much deliciousness! 

And after getting all of the veggies picked and grass cut and raked (it was sooo tall!), I was able to sit and relax with the Sherman dog!

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Life is obviously hard! 

At some point tomorrow we really need to can some peaches anc work on processing the tomatoes!

Keep blooming where you’re planted! 🌱💚