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Hawaiian Sunshine Sweet Potato Harvest 9th May 2015

Re-used half of an otherwise-useless Tumbleweed composter. Turned it into a wicking bed, filled with a mix of potting mix, vermiculite, compost, soaked fine coir, Organic Xtra. The greenery was allowed to grow at will and trained up an existing trellis in a very sunny spot.

It's quite deep, around a metre. The tubers though were all nestled in the top 6-10 inches. Roots went all the way down but no tubers down in the depths.

After 9 months in the pot, the moment of truth:

Total harvest weight 3.7kgs; largest individual 1.4kgs.

From the Green Harvest website:

"Sweet Potato 'Hawaiian Sunshine'
Ipomea batatas
"Produces large tubers with an off-white skin and purple flesh. It has a drier flesh than Beauregard. It is an excellent source of purple pigments, called anthocyanins, up to 150% more than blueberries. These pigments have been linked to fighting cancer, aging, hypertension and neurological diseases, inflammation, diabetes and bacterial infections. Sweet potatoes are vining plants with attractive lobed leaves, pink morning-glory type flowers and tuberous roots. They do best in areas that are frost-free for at least 5 months with warm days and nights. In cooler areas wait for the beginning of the warm weather to plant. In subtropical and tropical areas sweet potato can be planted all year round."

Are we chuffed? You bet!

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Comment by Susan on May 13, 2015 at 20:45

Impressive haul Elaine

Comment by Dave Riley on May 11, 2015 at 23:25

Since I'm fascinated by starches and had been interested in sweet potatoes in a big, hobbyist, way I had to use this thread as an excuse to Google:


The nutritional properties of sweet potato are awesome.

The Okinawan sweet potato -- aka the Hawaiian -- is the mainstay of the traditional Okinawan diet (an island chain off the northern tip of Japan).

Almost 70% of the calories in the traditional Okinawan diet came from sweet potatoes....Okinawans are known for their long lives. Not only do they enjoy some of the longest life expectancies in the world, but they also have one of the highest number of centenarians - people who have lived 100 years or more - about 50 centenarians per 100,000 people, compared to 20 per 100,000 here in the US.

So sweet spuds have a reputation of maybe being a nutritional powerhouse. This recently was emphasized in relation to diabetes because they stabilise blood-sugar levels.

Sweet potatoes are  among the healthiest starchy foods around:Nutritional summary of sweet potatoes.

While  the standard sweet potato is bred for sweetness, they do contain oxalate.

The Hawaiian/Okinawan , nonetheless, was brought to Japan sometime between 1492 and 1605. It  reached Okinawa in 1605 from Fujian (Fukien) province in China. The tuber had been introduced to China from its native Central America via the Philippines, and soon became the most important crop for the Okinawan people. I gather that after becoming popular in Japan it eventually made its way to the Hawaiian Islands through laborers who migrated there such taht Japanese was the largesrt ethnic group on the islands by the beginning of the 20th century..Of course the Polynesians already grew sweet potatoes as they had been taken there from South America sometime between A.D. 1000 to A.D. 1100. Since there are over 1,300 sweet potato varieties from Asia and the Americas the tuber gets around and changed a bit in its journeys.


This finding supports the so-called tripartite hypothesis, which argues that the sweet potato was introduced to the [Polynesian] region three times: first through premodern contact between Polynesia and South America, then by Spanish traders sailing west from Mexico, and Portuguese traders coming east from the Caribbean. The Spanish and Portuguese varieties ended up in the western Pacific, while the older South American variety dominated in the east, which would explain the genetic differences the French team saw.

Also so of note:Nutrition -Sweet Potato Leaves compared to Kale.

On study concluded:Nutritional and Medicinal Qualities of Sweetpotato Tops and Leaves.:

Sweet potato leaves, served as a vegetable, may become Popeye’s new food de resistance . The leaves, which grow abundantly in poor soil, wet soil and rich soil, can be continuously cropped until the root vegetables are harvested. Some varieties of plants have naturally occurring phytochemicals that offer protection against certain dangerous diseases. Sweet­ potato genotypes with tops with a high polyphenolic content and used as a vegetable, food ingredient and as a nutritional supplement promote good health...

Comment by Dave Riley on May 11, 2015 at 15:14

Best in show!

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on May 10, 2015 at 20:57

I really don't know Dianne. Know little to nothing about the properties of the plant, just love eating some varieties of the tubers. Love them best fried with Turmeric. We use a Tefal hot-air fryer, just a little oil and chopped own-grown Turmeric. Sensational!

Comment by Dianne Caswell on May 10, 2015 at 19:38

What a wonderful harvest. I am just planting my first Sweet Potato Plant, (thanks to Darren). I only hope mine will be half as productive as yours. Will be very interred in seeing all your varieties growing some day. Sounds like it could be good for me to eat more Sweet Potato. Does eating just the leaves have the same properties and benefits?

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on May 10, 2015 at 9:01

Gotcha, Andy. The so-well designed and made but stupidly green secateurs! They're made so the spring cannot escape which makes sharpening a bit tricky and being green … why are garden tools mostly green? I put yellow paint on them in an attempt to see them better, doesn't work though.

Comment by Andrew Cumberland on May 9, 2015 at 21:49

I think it's the secateurs Elaine.  That lad's monitor need a re calibration.  

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on May 9, 2015 at 21:34

They're our favourites, Andy - drier than Beauregarde (the common orange ones in the shops). More sweet and 'Sweet Potatoey' to our taste.

HS is a bit more subject to the weevil and produces less tubers than Beauregarde. Which is why most commercial crops are Beauregarde.

I bought the original stock from the local f n v shop as I did the purple-skin-purple-flesh one which I grow too. Although it's a little more moist than the HS.

Er Mark, blue green thing in which photo? I've lost the plot!

Comment by Mark Braz on May 9, 2015 at 19:11

Good job Elaine,

Good looking skin texture, they did well in that soil.

Good reinventing of the composter as well.

What the dickens is that blue green thing in the photo??????

Comment by Andrew Cumberland on May 9, 2015 at 18:21

and the crowd goes wild!!!!  Well done Elaine.  I got another 750 grams out of my bed today - just the normal old yellow ones.  I'm liking the sound of the Hawaiian Sunshine. 

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