Expensive Mistakes No. 17

Our sweet potato problems started with this seemingly innocent bowl of soup
Our sweet potato problems started with this seemingly innocent bowl of soup

Last autumn, on a Scottish road trip that lasted all of 18 hours, I tasted sweet potato and coconut soup for the first time ever. Since then, I’ve been ever so slightly obsessed. First with tracking down the recipe, then with buying as many organic sweet potatoes and tins of organic coconut milk as our budget would allow.

I am a person of habit – a serious Pinterest habit in particular. So when my Pinterest feed popped up with a pin named Sweet Potatoes – your next cash crop, my mind raced ahead. Our own Moffat sweet potatoes in the Lets Eat Local veg bags. A high value cash crop for our smallholding (docks and nettles have little market value, I find).

A month or so later, I take delivery of two (rather expensive) packs of sweet potato slips – the bit that starts your sweet potato empire.

Now I’m not good at the 4P’s of growing – instead of Plan, Prepare, Purchase, Plant, my growing style is more 3B. Buy (on impulse), aBandon, Bin. But never were mere slips of plants more cherished than these bits of green.

Except. On Sunday night, they were left overnight in the greenhouse – it has to get really cold to cause problems for my plants in there. Especially in late April. But a devilish (and unexpected) sharp frost left the leaves of my poor Ipomoea batatas as slimy green mush.

I’ve radically pruned and they are in intensive care. There are wee green dots appearing in a few places – which may be the new shoots of recovery or just ambient greenfly. Time will tell.

To add insult to injury, it’s supposed to be really easy to grow your own sweet potato slips from organic sweet potatoes, though this may be another Pinterest peri-urban legend.

Plans for sweet potato market domination are currently on hold.

Mushroom growing anyone?

2 thoughts on “Expensive Mistakes No. 17

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